So a while back Elly and I were planning a holiday. Once we had decided on destination and timing and some activities etc, Elly’s thoughts turn to packing (so she can decide how many bags we’re going to need to check in) Part of this process included, what electronics would we be bringing.
Of course our mobile phones would be required so chargers and socket adapters would be required as well, Elly’s Kindle cause it’s so much easier than carrying the amount of books she will read in a week and of course my netbook so we can connect to the free wi-fi in our hotels and not have to pay for an internet café, plus it would mean we can watch some of our TV shows while relaxing before or after a hard days touristing.
This of course lead to the usual discussion over how pathetic the speakers are on the netbook. It’s not so much that their bad speakers, more that they are pathetically quiet. So, I said I’d have a look for some sort of portable speakers to help.
Oh look it's only a bit bigger than a hen egg!
After a bit of digging about online, reading some reviews and so on I decided to grab one of the XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker
s from Amazon.
Included with the speaker is the USB charging cable and a small pouch to carry both the speaker and cable in, which is a nice touch. The speaker itself has a short cable, about 3 inches, attached which plugs into any headphone socket and wraps away into the bottom of the speaker for storage.
The next thing that I noticed is that the unit shipped fully charged, another nice touch. Immediately it was connected to my mobile phone and tested, the sound was pretty good and the volume level was more than respectable if a little tinny sounding.
Just as I was starting to feel a teeny bit disappointed with it I remembered that the speaker had a neat trick, a quick twist of the base and the bellows style middle of the speaker was expanded. this really surprised me with how much it improved both the over all sound quality and increased the volume.
Expanded Mini Speaker
Now let’s be clear about this the sound quality is never gonna match a decent Hi-Fi, for a start, this is a mono speaker, add to that it’s tiny (see photo’s) and anyone with even the most basic knowledge of sound will know that. Here’s the trick though, you can’t stick a Hi-Fi in you pocket, this you can and the sound is definitely better than any laptop, mobile phone or mp3 player speaker that I’ve heard.
The battery life is surprisingly good, I get about 2 days out of it between charges. I used it constantly while studying for my recent exams just to give it a decent test you understand And charging couldn’t be easier, just connect it to a USB port and it will charge in about 3-4 hours, I’ve even charged it from the USB ports on my X-Box 360 while it was off.
There’s also a neat little trick it can do, if you have more than one you can daisy chain them together to give more volume although if volume is what you are after this is not the best solution.
Now think about the cost, we paid £20.00 sterling for ours. Since then Amazon have reduced the price again, it is superb value. My biggest concern about it is that those annoying teenagers that play music from their phones on the bus will get hold of these and become even more annoying. As a small device to make using your laptop in a hotel or even a small presentation a little less painful I couldn’t recommend this mini speaker more.