X-Mini II Capsule Speaker
(4.0 star rating)
As speakers go, they just don't get much smaller than rechargeable mini speakers. This, from a portability standpoint, is a good thing. It is easy to bring along one of these little rechargeable speakers with your laptop or netbook computer to give your music listening a shot of espresso to liven up the music compared to typical built-in laptop speakers. These portable speakers that can be recharged through a USB connection have become a very popular accessory for the "on-the-go" crowd.
And this is exactly why we have spent so much time reviewing these impish-sized speakers lately. Our Scosche boomCAN review, as well as our upcoming portable speaker shoot-out, highlights the potential of these speakers for anyone who likes to listen to music on the go but is unsatisfied with the built-in speakers of their tablet, smartphone or netbook.
We're at it again today with the X-Mini II Capsule Speaker – the 2nd generation mini speaker from X-Mi that promises top-notch sound quality, 11+ battery life and versatile connection options. Let's see if it delivers.
Our test unit came in the green color and is similarly sized to the Scosche boomCAN, with the main difference being the expandable "resonator" of the X-Mini II Capsule. The X-Mini II can be expanded accordion style to about 7cm in height. The expansion provides more displacement and thus increases the amount of bass that the speaker can produce.
For the most part the X-Mini II feels solid despite the generous usage of plastic in its construction. A blue LED light on the bottom of the device indicates when the speaker is powered on, and the light glows red when the unit is connected and charging via the USB connection.
A mini-USB port and a 3.5mm audio out port are the two connection options, and that is really all that is needed. No AC power adapter required as the unit is powered by an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery which can be recharged from any USB source. Multiple X-Mini speakers can be daisy-chained together using the embedded 3.5mm audio cable on the bottom of the unit.
|X-Mini II Box||Overhead view|
Features and Specifications
- Dimension: (L×W×H): 60mm×60 mm×44mm (closed resonator)
- Net Weight: 83g
- Speaker: MAGNETISM PREVENTA40 MM 2W/4B
- Loudspeaker Output: 2.5W
- Rating Power: 2.0W
- Frequency Response: 100Hz-20Khz
- Signal-to-Noise: >80db
- Distortion: <1.0%
- Playback Time: Up to 11 hours
- Battery Voltage/Capacity: 400mAh
- Battery Charging Voltage: 4.2V±0.05V
- Battery Charge Time: 5V - 2.5 hours
- X-mini II Capsule speaker • Audio /charge cable which is a mini-USB to 3.5mm (audio) / USB (charging) • Travel pouch User instructions
In the Box
- X-mini II Capsule speaker
- Audio /charge cable which is a mini-USB to 3.5mm (audio) / USB (charging)
- Travel pouch
- User instructions
Out of the Box Setup
The setup of the X-Mini II was simple. Plug one end of the cable into the mini-USB port and the other end into any MP3 player, laptop or other source device with a 3.5mm connection, and you are ready to roll. As the mini-USB port is only used for charging the device, the 3.5mm connection requires no driver installation and no other configuration needed. I flipped the power switch on, plugged the 3.5mm connection to my Sansa Clip+ and found that this speaker is literally plug and play.
The sound quality performance evaluation using the X-Mini II was done by listening to MP3s stored on my Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop and Sansa Clip+. The laptop uses an internal Realtec audio chip for sound processing. I listened to a number MP3s with bit rates of 128kbps and 320kbps. A wide selection of classical, rock, alternative and hip-hop music was used in the evaluation.
Having tested mini rechargeable speakers previously, I knew not to set my expectations too high for the sound quality that this single full-range 40mm speaker could produce. And with this in mind, the X-mini II met or exceeded my expectations. It was an overall pleasant surprise to hear how well the X-mini II handled the various music genres that I threw at it.
Starting with the bass, the low frequencies were nowhere near what I would describe as punchy but there was at least a semblance of bass notes. Compared to the Scosche boomCAN, the X-mini II digs lower and does a better job on the low end of the frequency spectrum. Don't expect to be blown away by the bass quantity – you'll be disappointed if you do – but the X-mini II at least keeps music from sounding tinny and feeble.
Mid and high frequencies were strong and clear - although rather flat sounding. High frequencies came across as energetic, especially if you have the speaker placed on top of a hard surface. Harshness increased as the volume level increased – I would not want to listen to music at anywhere near full volume level - but at the mid-level volume setting on my Clip+ the bright sound of the speaker was certainly not a problem.
Detail and imaging were the two biggest weaknesses of the speaker, and just about any decent set of headphones will surpass the X-mini II in these areas. I would bet that a second "daisy-chained" X-Mini II would improve the imaging, but cannot say for sure as my testing was limited to a single unit.
|Bottom view||Powered on|
Portability is a strong point of the X-Mini II. I was able to get an impressive 12+ hours of music playback before needing to recharge it. The ability to make it smaller by collapsing it is also handy for travel. The included travel bag could easily fit into a laptop bag or a purse, and would even fit into a jacket pocket with no problem. Recharging through a USB port also made it easy to charge using a wide variety of devices.
X-Mini II Capsule Speaker
The X-Mini II Capsule speaker is a portable, inexpensively priced speaker at about $25 USD online. The impressive battery life, included travel bag and embedded 3.5mm cable make it a very versatile little speaker. In addition, the expansion "resonator" does provide the diminutive-sized speaker a bit more bass. The rechargeable battery also meant that I was never tethered to an AC outlet and could use this speaker just about anywhere.
By contrast the sound quality of this speaker is not as impressive. Certainly the sound quality is a step above most smartphone speakers, but it is not as musical as a decent set of headphones or earphones. It trumps headphones in versatility, though, so I have no trouble recommending it as a useful accessory for a smartphone, laptop, netbook or tablet.
Pros: Very small-sized and portable, battery power for 12+ hours of listening; inexpensive.
Cons: Mediocre sound quality.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5