Mini Rechargeable Speaker Shoot-out: Scosche boomCAN vs. iHome IHM60 vs. X-Mini Capsule II vs. Go-Rock Mini
Smaller and more powerful – that’s the name of the game with just about all gadgets. And as we have seen with the explosion of new headphone / earphone offerings, portable audio is no exception. Portable mini speakers that can be recharged through a USB connection are a popular accessory for tablets, smartphones and netbooks. However, most tablets and smart phones are usually stuck with tiny, anemic-sounding speakers that are sufficient for conference calls but not well suited for music listening, movie watching or gaming.
So we have gathered four mini rechargeable speakers that promise to provide more dynamic sound – the Scosche boomCAN, the iHome iHM60, the X-Mini II Capsule and the Go-Rock Mini Portable. We test each one to find out which one provides the best sound performance, portability and ease of use for your hard-earned dollar. Read on to find out the results.
Portability / Ease of Use
All of the speakers in this review are plug-and-play and require no driver installation or other configuration. Music listening was as easy as plugging the 3.5mm connection into my laptop or my Sansa Clip+, turning the power on and pressing Play. They all also have a blue colored LED light to indicate that the speaker is powered on. When plugged into a USB port, they each have a red light to show that the speaker battery is being recharged.
So which of these mini rechargeable speakers is easiest to use? The X-mini II has a volume control (slider) to adjust the volume, while the boomCAN has two volume settings – "low" and "high". and it also has 3.5mm cable on the bottom that can be used to "daisy-chain" additional X-mini speakers together.
The X-mini II, boomCAN and the iHome have standard 2-way cables that double as audio connector and battery charger. The cable is a mini-USB to 3.5mm for audio, and a mini-USB to USB for charging the battery. These three speakers can be daisy-chained together using the included audio cables along with their 3.5mm audio jack, a feature which is missing from the Go-Rock model.
The Go-Rock mini has a retractable audio cable with 3.5mm connector, and a 3.5mm-to-USB adapter that is used to recharge its internal lithium-ion battery. The retractable cable is flat and quite thin, and retracts into the side of the device when not in use. Both the retractable cable and the adapter are easier to use than the standard 2-way cables, and the Go-Rock scores points here for its ease of use. It does not, however, have any volume control adjustment.
The Go-Rock mini was the only speaker in the review that failed to play with one of the music sources used for testing – my Blackberry Bold 9900. Connecting the Go-Rock to the Blackberry resulted in an odd clipping noise, and no music would play through the Go-Rock at all. This was disappointing as it likely means that the Go-Rock would have issues playing music with other cell phones as well.
Size-wise, the speakers are nearly the same size when expanded. The expandable / collapsible design of the X-Mini II, the iHome and the Go-Rock is convenient as it makes them more compact. Each includes a travel pouch to carry the speaker when you're not using it.
1st – X-Mini II Capsule
2nd (tie)– iHome IHM60 and Scosche boomCAN
4th –Go-Rock Mini
|Scosche boomCAN overhead view||Scosche boomCAN accessories|
|X-Mini Capsule II overhead view||X-Mini II accessories|
|iHome IHM60 overhead view||iHome IHM60 accessories|
|Go-Rock Mini overhead view||Go-Rock Mini accessories|
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