I received a few portable speakers as review pieces from x-mini a few days ago. I tried all of them but thought of posting a review of the most interesting model out of the lot, which is the X-mini Happy. Would also be posting a review soon of one more model that I liked quite a bit which is the X-mini Max II.
In The Package
The package included the following things:
– The X-Mini Happy Capsule Speaker
– USB Charging Cable
– A soft cloth pouch for carrying
– A set of earphones
– User Manual
1. The manual mentions that a microSD card should also be present but I didn’t find any in the box.
2. The USB charging cable comes with a 3.5mm cord attached to it as well. This led me to believe that it could be one of those charge and play type cable which could carry sound over it as well but that wasn’t the case and only the USB charging part was usable. Perhaps they bundled the cable from another one of their models which allows this.
Things I liked:
– Inbuilt retractable 3.5 mm cord. Really loved this as I hate carrying so many cables with me while travelling. With this cable, you can easily connect it to any of your sound sources with a 3.5 mm slot (e.g. laptop/media player/phone etc) for instant sound gratification and then stow away the cable at the bottom when not needed.
– Inbuilt SD card slot. You can insert an SD card filled with MP3s into this slot and play those songs from the speaker directly without needing any separate media player. This is an awesome feature. Playback controls are provided on the side and overlap with the volume controls. The speaker supports upto 8GB cards and you can copy songs to-and-fro from the card without removing it from the speakers. The supplied USB cable can also be used to access the speaker in mass storage mode to talk to the SD card.
– Headphone out (or as they call it “BuddyJack”). You can connect your headphones to the speaker and listen to songs. This port has three advantages. First is that you don’t need to fiddle with your laptop/media player’s port if you want to use your headphones for sometime instead of using these speakers. Second is that you can use this speaker as a media player itself by inserting an SD card into the speaker as listed above. Lastly, you can use this port to chain multiple X-Mini Happy speakers together in order to get louder output.
– InBuilt Rechargable Battery Pack. This is another good feature. Many of the portable speakers that I tried draw their power from the USB port. This is good enough to use with laptops but not for media players/phones. The X-Mini Happy speakers have built in rechargable batteries that can be charged from the USB port. The user manual states that the battery should run for around 5 hours when fully charged. In my testing, this was farely accurate and across multiple tests, they ran for around 4-5 hours in general with continuous playback.
– Sound Quality. Volume wise, these speakers can get fairly loud. They were good enough to fill a fairly sized room and I was able to watch a movie by sitting at a diagonally opposite end (around 15 feet) without missing any dialogs. The speakers also had fairly good bass (low frequency) reproduction for their size. This could be due to their unique vacuum resonator (a rubbery tube like design which can be expanded when using the speakers and then compressed to save space while travelling). They were also ok in mid and high frequencies but the thing to be noted here is that for a portable speaker, they are better than anything I have come across so far.
The only drawback is that this is a single speaker unit so the sound output is monaural. This is also the reason that I prefer the X-Mini Max II capsule speakers more than this (review coming soon) although they don’t come with as many bells and whistles as the Happy capsule speakers. Apart from that, a minor niggle is that the supplied earphones could be better to round out the package.
Are these speakers going to replace my full blown speaker set at home? No. But that is not the point. As a portable speaker, the X-mini Happy Capsule speaker packs a lot of punch while taking only a couple of inches and also playing double duty as a mp3/wma player that I’d pick it without a doubt.