The speaker has soft touch buttons on the top with LED indicators. There is a dedicated button to control the pattern of the lights on the strip. I think it’s a good improvisation as in the case of SRS-XB32, it’s done from the Music Centre app which is a bit of a task. The SRS-XB402M has built-in lights that sync to the beat: they bring colour but take a toll on battery performance.
The speaker also boasts Sony’s LIVE SOUND feature that produces a three-dimensional sound experience. Although you may not feel much of a difference using this mode, it still gives an option to go for something different from the regular standard sound.
But the most attractive feature is the in-built Alexa, the first Amazon Alexa speaker that Sony
has brought in. The voice assistant is a key addition. Also, there is no need to keep the speaker plugged in to use Alexa, and that’s where SRS-XB402M holds and edge over most of the portable speakers.
The voice assistant was prompt in suggesting music, weather updates, and even played podcast. I could easily connect it to Spotify and Apple Music, too. It can also connect with smart lights and other smart devices.
The speaker comes with IP67 rating that makes it water-, dust-, shock- and rustproof. I did not have to worry about using it with a slight drizzle in this monsoon season. The battery life on a full charge is roughly around 10 hours with lights on and extra bass mode. The speaker also remains on standby mode for a good amount of time, so, you can easily start from where you left.
Price remains a key factor, and XB402M doesn’t come cheap. The speaker will cost you Rs 24,990. Sony
is launching it at a discounted price of Rs 19,990 with a free MDR-XB450AP headphone worth Rs 2,490. That, in my view, is a sweet deal but it’s only valid till Aug 18, 2019.
The XB402M can be an ideal addition to smart homes. I was really convinced with the sound experience, and that makes it a worthwhile investment. It's not just for those who may like its smart features, but also for those who are finicky about the overall sound experience.