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article imageWhy the X-mini speaker supersizes sound for PC, MP3 player, phone

By David Silverberg     May 30, 2009 in Technology
If you've ever been upset at the sound of your MP3 player or smartphone, there's a cute tiny speaker out there just waiting to amplify your songs. The X-mini capsule speaker is a mobile and inexpensive option when the built-in speakers don't cut it.
When we first unpacked the X-mini II capsule speaker, we thought, "Really? This little dude can pack a whallop?" After all, it's no bigger than a hacky-sack and doesn't sport any kind of speaker wall.
Then again, the X-mini II ($40) )was created to surprise gadget owners. Look at all the hardware using built-in speakers, from MP3 players to cellphones to laptops. Usually, the sound coming from those units are tinny and paltry. You could barely hear Flea slap-bassing in a Red Hot Chili Peppers song.
So we were determined to see if this capsule speaker from Singapore's XMI could boost the sound of our favourite devices.
First, we attached the X-mini II to a laptop PC, via its USB jack. We launched iTunes, cranked some Van Halen tracks and reveled in the sound oozing out of the speaker. It was treble-heavy, and the dynamic response was quite good. It definitely cranked out more volume that the PC's internal speakers could muster. The bass thumped powerfully, much bigger than you would expect from a unit weighing 83 grams.
Next, we tried it out on an iPhone and iPod. Once again, we saw the value in bringing the X-mini along on camping trips, because an iPod with thousands of songs can now be broadcast beyond two earphones. A jack attached to most phones and MP3 players, adding a powerful speaker to these portable gadgets. We can picture ardent campers loving the X-mini, when the campfire guitar gets old and the dance party wants to get started with some real rockin' music.
This capsule speaker allows you to "open it" with a twist-like move, extending the height of the X-mini by an inch or so. Accordion-style innards accentuate a nice design, but it doesn't do much for sound, since the speaker is placed at the top of the unit. It just looks cooler when it's resting somewhere flat. Some reviews say it opens a "resonance chamber" but we couldn't detect much difference.
The rechargeable battery, through a USB connection, can last for 11 hours nonstop, and we can't help but give a thumbs-up to that function. Too often, portable accessories suck so much juice it's a pain to recharge the product often.
X-mini speakers chained togehter
The X-mini can be attached to one another through a buddy jack
Courtesy XMI
Another highlight of the X-mini II is its buddy-jack feature: a small jack lets you connect one X-mini speaker to another, creating a "chain gang" of tiny speakers in case you wanted truly outstanding sound. This option also extends the sound quality to "stereo," although it doesn't rival more expensive speaker systems.
At $40, the X-mini is a small investment for a big return. Usable on phones, MP3 players, PCs, and portable DVD players, this portable accessory does its job without any frills. It's a simple gadget perfect for road trips, parties and home use. Don't be surprised if other companies start playing copycat with the X-mini's function and design.
To buy the product and to find out more, go to
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