Alexa is built into the Sony SRS-XB402M.
Alexa is built into the Sony SRS-XB402M.

Sony SRS-XB402M: Alexa makes this worth your consideration

  • The combination of voice support and decent audio makes the Sony SRS-XB402M a speaker worth your consideration
  • It is priced at 24,990

The XB series from Sony is a pretty well known brand name amongst Indian consumers. With a focus on bass (XB stands for Extra Bass), devices in this range have usually been more in line with the mainstream Indian listener. That doesn’t mean the products are bad, just that the audio signature is usually not something an audiophile will enjoy.

Having said that, it is this mainstream approach that makes an XB-branded product the perfect fit for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The Sony SRS-XB402M is an Alexa-enabled product that delivers more powerful and better audio than any Echo speaker you can buy and it uses Alexa to enhance its own feature set.

The audio signature here is V-shaped, which means that the highs and bass are loud, while mids get lost to an extent. Having said that, while the XB402M doesn’t produce loose bass like some older XB products, it also doesn’t deliver very deep bass. It’s not unpleasant or ‘cheap’ audio by any margin, but it doesn’t produce the most detailed audio either. In essence, if you want a speaker that’s loud and room filling, don’t mind the lack of intricate audio details and want something that catches people’s attention, this is it.

For those who like the first generation Ultimate Ears (UE) Boom speakers will likely love the Sony SRS-XB402M. The audio signatures are similar, if not absolutely the same. For those who want every element of the audio frequency spectrum to be audible, this isn’t the speaker for you. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find an Alexa-enabled speaker that fits that bill. The Bose Home Speakers 500 delivers tighter bass and is noticeably better in terms of audio detail, but it costs a good 15,000 more than the XB402M.

When it first announced Alexa-powered speakers, Amazon said it wants the Echo devices to be blueprints for other companies to build on. And the fact that Alexa is built into this device gives the Sony SRS-XB402M a huge jump in terms of its feature set.

Unlike the Home Speaker 500, the XB402M is designed to be portable. It has a battery inside but also runs on DC power. So, you can take it on a picnic with you and use voice commands to play music, as long as it’s connected to the Internet. Of course, it acts as a portable Bluetooth speaker too.

At home, it’s just another Echo speaker, but with significantly better audio quality compared to the best Amazon produces. It doesn’t have an in-built Zigbee (a wireless standard for Internet of Things devices) hub though, so it won’t automatically recognise smart home devices. As long as your smart home device has an Alexa skill, this speaker will control it just like an Echo. Voice recognition is also on par with any Echo device.

If the Bose Home Speaker 500 made a strong case for third-party Alexa-enabled speakers, the Sony SRS-XB402M sets it in stone. The future of audio is not just wireless, but it’s also voice enabled. The combination of voice support and decent audio makes this a speaker worth your consideration. However, as far as portable speakers go, there are better options available.