Product Type: XMI in PC Speakers
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Good Things Come in Small Packages
XMI X-mini II
Member Name: Hishyeness
XMI X-mini II
Date: 19/04/12, updated on 20/11/12 (163 review reads)
Advantages: Compact, great sound, cool design and great build quality
Disadvantages: None at this price
After a bit of research, I settled on the X-Mini II capsule speaker, which is available from on-line retailers for as little as £12.99. I was initially sceptical - mostly because of the cheap price point and size - but I need not have worried. The X-Mini is a marvel of engineering, and completely lives up to its tag-line of "Sound Beyond Size".
IN THE BOX
The X-Mini comes packaged with a multi-function USB cable, a small instruction booklet (with minuscule writing that's challenging to read), and a small black felt drawstring bag to keep it all in. The unit itself is about the size and shape of a Clementine - about two inches in diameter in its closed position, and about three inches tall when it is fully deployed. It has a smooth matte black finish, with the internal driver finished off on the top with a mirrored red dimple - rather reminiscent of a red brake disc peeking out from under the alloy rims of a luxury sports car.
Its minimalist look is enhanced by the paucity of buttons and clever storage. A short three inch cable with audio jack stows neatly in a groove in the base, which has three rubber feet for stability. If you're looking for a longer connection, the eighteen inch USB cable (included) also has a 3.5mm jack attached, and can be used instead.
There is an on/off switch, an audio jack that lets you daisy-chain the speaker with another X-Mini (or two), an integrated volume dial, and a USB plug for charging and audio. To open the speaker, you simply twist and release and the top pops up to reveal the accordion-like speaker within. To close, you push the two halves together and twist again until discreet raised lines on each half are aligned with a satisfying "click".
The unit is charged by attaching the USB cable to a powered port. A small red light on the bottom of the unit turns blue once the unit is charged, which usually takes around two hours. To use the speaker, you simply plug the audio jack into the headphone port of the relevant device (I use it for my iTouch and my work PC).
Volume can be controlled using the dial on the unit or on the audio device it's plugged into (or both). When in use and not connected to power, the light will glow blue, dimming in intensity as the charge runs down. The charge (from an in-built rechargeable battery) usually lasts an average of eight hours, depending on volume of playback.
The self-powered X-Mini II delivers a surprisingly rich and rounded sound, demonstrating none of the "tinny-ness" usually associated with MP3 speakers. It's not going to fill a huge room or wow an audiophile, but it is extremely effective given its size and its price point. There is little distortion, even at high volume levels, and a very satisfying level of bass that's off-set nicely by crisp and sharp delivery of sound. Also, given its size, weight (around 80 grams), clever design and great build quality, it is super-portable and so lives permanently in my work rucksack when not in use.
SHOULD YOU GET ONE?
If you need a compact, durable, great sounding portable speaker that can attach as easily to your MP3 as it does to your computer or mobile phone, then you'll be hard pressed to find a better product. At its average price point of around £14.99, its astonishing value for money and packs much more punch than its 2 watt rating (and size) would suggest. Highly recommended.
Quick Update: The unit now comes in a host of different colours as well.
© Hishyeness 2012
Summary: A great compact sound solution for mobile devices
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