Most cell phones enable stereo sound via earphones, but relying on the built-in speaker is not the best solution when you want to share your favorite music with others, and here comes the external speaker to help you with that.
The model we are reviewing today is the X-mini II Capsule Speaker developed by XMI, which we’ve received from Mobile Fun.
It is a portable external speaker designed to enhance the sound coming from your cell phone, portable media player, or other music gadget, allowing your friends to listen to your music.
X-Mini II is a powerful speaker based on the original X-mini model introduced in 2007 as the first pocketable speaker with built-in bass resonance and rechargeable battery.
The new version measures only 60 x 60 x 44 mm at 83 grams, but is equipped with a 40-mm large driver that enables a powerful sound, the Buddy Chain system that connects an endless number of X-mini IIs in a daisy chain for an even greater sound, integrated 3.5-mm audio cable, and a built-in 400mAh rechargeable battery that charges fully in about 2.5 hours to provide up to 11 hours of music.
Specifications include the magnetism-prevention system, 2W speaker output, 2.5W loudspeaker output, 2W rating power, 100Hz-20Khz frequency response, 80dB signal-to-noise ratio, and 1% distortion.
Not long after the original model won at the Red Dot Design Awards 2008 and at the Infocomm Singapore Awards 2008, for design innovation and the patented extendable vacuum that produces a sub-woofer-like resonance, called the Bass Xpansion System, the second generation X-mini, based on the same design, won at the SiTF Awards 2009 in the Start-up category.
X-mini II comes packed with an user manual, a soft black carry pouch and a cable with three ends – miniUSB and USB at one end and a 3.5-mm jack at the other.
The speaker has a matte black soft-touch finish and rubber feet that prevent it from slipping.
In order to start using it you need to open the capsule by rotating the upper part to the right to reveal the resonator, and turning it on using the sliding button, making sure the blue LED light is on.
When the speaker is fully charged the blue LED light is strong. After about 11 hours of music playback the light dims, meaning it needs recharging. When this happens you have to connect the speaker to the laptop via the included cable. The miniUSB goes into the speaker, while the USB connects to one of the free computer ports. The battery status indicator light will turn red while charging.
At the bottom of the device you can find the shorter integrated cable for when the speaker is fully charged and you want to connect it to the music gadget directly.
It uses the standard 3.5-mm connectivity so you have to make sure your handset supports it by default. If you’re not sure how to look for it, you can check the specifications list of the handset, or remember if you used third-party headphones with it.
Headphones use the 3.5-mm audio jack, but some cell phones can use only the included headphones, or the 2.5-mm audio connectivity. If this is your case you can look for an adapter in an electronics store near you, or at an online stop.
For example, I used the LG Stereo Audio Adapter from Mobile Fun, which is compatible with my LG Viewty KU990 and other LG models.
The 3.5mm audio adapters allow you to connect the cell phone not only to external speakers, but also to third-party earphones.
What makes me happy to use an external speaker instead of stereo earphones is that, according to the latest researches, if you listen to the music via headphones an hour a day for five years you’ll suffer from hearing loss. Even if you feel the music in a different way via earphones, I think health is the most important.
What I like:
1. The small size and light weight make it fit inside my purse, while the round shape allows me to keep it stable in one hand.
2. The sound is great when compared to entry-level desktop speakers. You can raise the volume at maximum and you won’t hear noises.
3. The charging time of 2.5 hours is short and it charges from the laptop while on the go.
4. It has a compact and durable design so if it happens to drop it accidentally I don’t think it will break.
What I’d change, or add:
1. It doesn’t enable stereo sound.
2. I’d like to see it available in more colors and finishes.
Here are two videos I recorded to show you the difference between listening to the music on your cell phone using only the built-in speaker and with the X-mini II speaker. Remember that the videos were recorded with a digital camera so the sound is not accurately reproduced.
The XMI X-mini II Capsule Speaker is available at Mobile Fun for £19.95.
The review is the personal opinion of Ladies’ Gadgets based on the experience with the sample product sent by MobileFun, which is the only compensation we received.
Tags: cell phone speaker, external speaker, Infocomm Singapore Awards 2008, mini speaker, mobilefun, Portable Speakers, Red Dor Design Awards 2008, SiTF Awards 2009, stereo headphone adapter, XMI X-mini II Capsule Speaker