Whether you're looking to liven up study hall, rock out your tailgating experience, or looking for speakers that can play nice with your phone or computer, Bluetooth speakers just keep getting bigger sound, bolder features, and better prices. Sbode's M400 Bluetooth speaker is one that seems tailor-made to the young, on-the-go music lover. Easy pairing and TWS stereo make pairing and switching playback devices a breeze, a rugged IPX6 enclosure ensures that a pop-up thunderstorm won't rain on your Black Parade, and at the size of a large energy drink, the M400 is easy to slip into your backpack, glovebox, or tailgating kit.
- Quickly pair/disconnect/change tracks
- TWS is simpler to connect and manage than Sbode's smaller model
- Good range with minimal sound distortion at higher volumes
- Volume controls aren't granular enough
- Controls on the back have me spinning speaker around a lot
- LED under Power button is super bright, but facing away most of the time.
Sbode M400 Bluetooth speaker What rocks
This speaker is the essence of grab and go: the rubberized top and bottom keep the metallic grills recessed and protected from drops and rough surfaces, and and a grippy black mesh wraps around the main body of the speaker, with a soft rubber strip on the back hosting the carry strap, six easy-touch buttons, and the silicone flap that keeps water away from the aux port, microSD card slot, and the Micro-USB charging port. The 2,200 mAh battery inside this tall drink of music can keep the jams flowing for 6-8 hours.
Much like most Bluetooth speakers on the market today pretty much all of the M400's buttons pull double duty based on how they're pressed. The power button also serves as the toggle between playback sources, and the Bluetooth button manages phone calls as well as Bluetooth connections, the volume buttons change tracks. The TWS button here is an upgrade from the Sbode 350, allowing you to end or clear a TWS connection without turning the speaker off entirely.
The sound from the M400 is an upgrade over the 350 as well, which for a speaker that's almost twice the size isn't terribly surprising. Single M400 can output more than enough sound to fill my one-bedroom apartment with clear sound. Yes, there's a limited amount of bass you can get from a speaker this size, but the Sbode had very little muddiness and distortion at normal and even at higher volumes.
Sbode M400 Bluetooth speaker What falls flat
While the M400 offers up a much bigger sound than Sbode's smaller Bluetooth speaker, the best sound is on the side opposite the controls, which have no distinguishing bumps or ridges to distinguish one button from another. More plainly: you'll need to spin the speaker around to use the controls, then spin it back so the brunt of the sound faces you. If you use your phone or smartwatch to control the music — for small volume changes, using your phone will be easier anyway — then this won't be much of an issue, but it's worth mentioning.
It's actually a bit of a good thing that the controls are facing away from you during playback, because the LED sitting below the Power and TWS buttons are on the bright side. I wish that the play/pause button was lit up, too, but cupping my hand around the power button is more than enough to bounce the light down and illuminate the other controls.
USB-C may have come to most new Android phones in the last year or two, but sadly, the same cannot be said of accessories like Bluetooth headphones and speakers. The M400 uses Micro-USB to charge, and while we've all still got a plethora of Micro-USB cables hanging around our houses, it'd still be nice to charge my speaker with the same reversible USB-C cable I keep in the car to charge my phone. Portable speakers could also benefit from USB-C's fast-charging protocols.
Sbode M400 Bluetooth speaker Buy it
This speaker is easy to pack, easy to hang from shower hooks, workout machines, or your bag, and with the diameter of a coke can, it's easy to stow this speaker in the water bottle slot most on most backpacks. The Sbode M400 may not be the sexiest speaker around, but for less than $50, this durable, waterproof speaker can last you through a long work day and then keep jamming once you plug it in at home.
4.5 out of 5
Being able to quickly skip songs instead of having to press-and-hold the way many Bluetooth speakers do makes the M400 a welcome companion to listeners for frequently listen to algorithmic stations like Spotify's Made for You mixes or YouTube Music's Your Mixtape.
Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.
Can't you just "roll" it forward to access the controls? Seems easier than the spin...
I usually listen to the speaker with it standing upright. but that taller look is a little harder to photograph, so I laid it down for most of the pictures.
I see an H.E.B. brand cola...where are you from?
Texas, ya'll! I was born and raised in the Austin area (my folks live out near Texas Crushed Stone), went to school in DFW metroplex, and then spent the last 4.5 years stuck between the two in Waco. Now that I'm full-time for AC, I shall be escaping the Magnolia Migraine in a few months.
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