Small and Spunky
By James Lu
When it comes to local companies and PC speakers, the first name that comes to mind is Creative. Well, you can add another name to the list with Singapore-based XM-I and its range of small but spunky speakers that will astound you with its audio output.
Just the Right Dose of Cute
It is almost impossible not to like the X-Mini Capsule Speaker. Roughly egg sized, it is undeniably cute, while the rubberized shell and smooth aesthetics make it manly enough for a guy not to be embarrassed about.
The X-Mini II is obviously the second generation of the X-Mini, which debuted last year. It's slightly bigger, but now features an built-in 3.5mm audio cable so you don't have to carry one around with you. Like the original, it has an internal USB rechargeable battery, and this one even lasts a bit longer. Our unit lasted around seven hours.
A Loud Surprise
Audio output is surprisingly rich. It is clear with a generous amount of bass and a nice warm tone. Obviously the main concern with a speaker this small is how loud it will go; after all, the nice warm tone is useless if you can't actually hear anything.
The X-Mini II features an extendable resonator for this very reason. Twisting the speaker will let it extend upwards, accordion style, creating a vacuum that acts as a loudspeaker. It's not deafening, but the sound is more than adequate to fill a small room - albeit with slight distortions when the volume is set to its highest levels.
Fortunately, there's a fix for this if you need more boom. The X-Mini II can be daisy chained with other X-Minis (including the older models) to amplify its sound. Chaining five X-Minis together and strategically placing them towards me created a wall of sound loud enough to put high-end stereo systems to shame.
It's rare that we get a chance to review something that really deserves the innovative tag. The X-Mini II (and the original X-Mini) though, is just that. The extendable resonator and daisy chaining ability are both unique and work really well. Combine that with its small size, great sound quality and wallet friendly price tag of S$49, it should be an easy decision for anyone looking for a portable speaker solution.