The Gadgets Page

December 4, 2007

Review: X-Mini Capsule Speaker

Filed under: Audio and Video — Matthew Strebe @ 5:00 am

X-Mini Capsule SpeakerThe X-Mini capsule speaker is the solution for people who want volume from a laptop portable audio device that either doesn’t have a speaker or has tiny speakers that aren’t up to the job of delivering a wide dynamic response at reasonable listening volume.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to be impressed by this speaker—I thought it would be too small to deliver sound any better than the built-in speakers on a laptop. But I was pretty astonished by the volume, the dynamic, and the vibrant sound that was not at all brassy. The speaker has quite a wide dynamic, especially considering its size. I tested it with my Sony Vaio UX390 (which has a crappy little speaker only appropriate for Windows “bongs”) and it solved the sound problem perfectly, making the little Sony useful for movie watching.

The speaker is powered by USB but takes audio over a normal headphone jack, so you don’t have to carry a power adapter for it or install drivers to use it.

The rechargeable internal battery provides more than 7 hours of playback time when using it with iPods or portable CD players that don’t have a USB port. The device recharges whenever it is connected to a USB port, and can be charged from a USB wall adapter (like the one that comes with iPods) or USB cigarette lighter adapter (like the one that comes with iPod car kits).

The Sound is quite loud—it will definitely fill a small room—and the dynamic response is fairly good. Bass response is excellent considering the size of the device. Bass response is quite warm and not at all “brassy” like most small speakers. Distortion is apparent in the top 10% of the volume range, but that’s likely louder that you’d want anyway.

The speaker is tiny and will fit in any laptop bag with no problem—it actually takes less room than most headphones. It opens easily to expand its bass reverberation chamber, which is the secret to the bass response. You can clearly hear the difference in the warmth and volume of the sound when the speaker is opened versus closed.

X-Mini Capsule Speaker

The only downside is that it is a single speaker, so of course it is monaural and won’t reproduce stereo sound. This makes it ideal as a supplemental bass speaker for a laptop or portable DVD player if your laptop will play through both the speakers and headphone jack at the same time (many will not however). You can get stereo sound by using two of these speakers and a “stereo to dual monaural adapter” such as Radio-Shack catalog #: 274-375 (which is actually sold as a microphone combiner but will do the job). Don’t confuse this with a headphone jack Y splitter, which provides the same stereo signal to both ports.

The only way this device could be better would be if it had a mono jack for plugging a second X-Mini speaker into it for stereo sound (and that innovation would encourage owners to buy a second one—hint hint).

11 Comments

  1. This is a great little gadget! It’s definitely going anywhere my laptop is – it’s not just that sounds below 200Hz are audible now, it’s also the richness the sound gets. And that’s all coming from the middle part, the ‘secret chamber’. I would be my no means surprised if this would become the new standard for speakers – the ‘secret chamber’, being vacuum, could raise the dynamic capability of virtually all speakers. However, XMI (the company that designed&produced this jewel) has patented this technology – which almost seems to simple to be patentable, but there you have it – so I guess we’ll have to embrace them for the time being ;D I recommend this to everyone! Seriously!

    Comment by Scraze — December 16, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

  2. I tried the stereo splitter to two of these speakers. Only the right channel works in this setup, and I did test the splitter with other devices. It appears as though the wiring to the plug on this requires the right channel. The left channel only will not play through the speaker. If anyone has any thoughts other than pulling out the soldering iron, please post them.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Daly — January 10, 2008 @ 6:56 am

  3. Tom, Use mono cables to each unit. If you use a stereo 3.5mm it will cut off the left as the ring section is too small. Best way to tell is that there is only one ring on mono cables and two rings on stereo.

    Comment by Josh — March 5, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  4. I’ve just purchased an x mini speaker after seeing it reviewed on the BBC show ‘Something For The Weekend’ and reading reviews about it.

    I was a little sceptical as it’s so small but I wanted a small portable speaker for holidays.

    This speaker is superb and considering it’s size the sound quality is incredible. As a result many of my friends have now bought them and I cant recommend them enough if you want a portable pocket sized speaker.

    Comment by Liz Lloyd — May 29, 2008 @ 6:08 am

  5. I’ve got two of these and they worked wonderfully with my laptops…until I hooked it up to my new Dell Mini. I was astonished to discover that for some reason it won’t work with the mini and even sends me a message that the device is not compatible with it.

    So, now I’m looking for a tiny speaker that will work with the mini.

    Comment by John Painter Jr. — July 16, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  6. WHERE CAN I BUY THESE ONLINE?

    Comment by Alon — September 12, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  7. the image in this review is NOT the x-mini! If this is what you tested, it is NOT the x-mini

    Comment by Jon — January 17, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  8. Jon,

    These are the OLD X-Mini speakers. If you notice, the review is over three years old. That IS what we tested and we have a review of the NEW X-Mini coming out as well. They fixed a lot of the problems that we talked about in the old version, so keep watching The Gadgets Page for the new review.

    Laura

    Comment by Laura Moncur — January 17, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  9. Great review of the X-Mini Capsule Speaker.

    Comment by hayden — May 20, 2010 @ 1:12 am

  10. I don’t like it that much, if I have a song with a lot of bass like techno or something, the bass is so high the little thing bounces constantly on the table and just annoys the hell out of me, also if I put my X-Mini volume to the max, the trebel sounds as if it were set to 15 of 10. But for what it is, it’s pretty good.

    Comment by Vincent — February 18, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  11. Hey folks,

    Can you post a link where I can buy there and have them shipped to Ireland? thanks,

    Comment by Dan — March 7, 2011 @ 9:59 am

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