The X-Mini capsule speaker is the solution for people who want volume from a laptop portable audio device that either doesnâ€™t have a speaker or has tiny speakers that arenâ€™t up to the job of delivering a wide dynamic response at reasonable listening volume.
To be honest, I didnâ€™t expect to be impressed by this speakerâ€”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 â€œbongsâ€) 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 donâ€™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 donâ€™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 loudâ€”it will definitely fill a small roomâ€”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 â€œbrassyâ€ like most small speakers. Distortion is apparent in the top 10% of the volume range, but thatâ€™s likely louder that youâ€™d want anyway.
The speaker is tiny and will fit in any laptop bag with no problemâ€”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.
The only downside is that it is a single speaker, so of course it is monaural and wonâ€™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 â€œstereo to dual monaural adapterâ€ such as Radio-Shack catalog #: 274-375 (which is actually sold as a microphone combiner but will do the job). Donâ€™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 oneâ€”hint hint).