I recently had to travel over 200 miles for a specialist scan. The journey required us to have a 2 night stay in a Premier Travel Inn, so I packed up my portable DVD player, some DVDs and my new Rokono mini speaker (pronounced "Rok-ono").
It was my first time trying this little speaker, though not the first mini speaker I've had. My previous speakers had all been AA battery powered, and all of them had poor sound clarity and poor volume.
My little Rokono speaker came in its own case which means that it could travel safely with me.
I opened the box, took it out and looked at the tactile black ball, which is smaller than a tennis ball.
I discovered that you twist the two halves slightly in order to open them up, you then plug in and turn on the speakers and hit play on your machine.
The sound that emanates from that little speaker ball is amazing. It was incredibly loud and the clarity is incredible. Of course I was in a room in a Travel Inn at the time and not expecting anything like the volume had a moment of panic ... I didn't want to wake the entire place.
There is an added volume control on the side of the little Rokono, which also helps tweak the sound.
It says on the box "for use with: mobile and personal devices like mobile phones, personal audio players (eg, i-pod, mp3, etc), computers and game devices (eg, DS). So when I returned home I decided to try it out on several more devices.
My desk top computer did not come with speakers so good portable speakers are important to me, and these are good speakers. I had to build a little platform at the side of my computer tower because the 3.5 jack connector is on the Rokono is very short (about 2.5/3 inches in length).
I enquired and a gentleman called James at Gadget Hunter told me that 3.5 jack extension cables are available but not, as yet, from them. I did a search and there are a number available on Amazon and they are quite cheap. I'm not necessarily technology minded, so sometimes it's better to ask than to assume not.
The sound that emanated from my little Rokono speaker was stunning.
I tried it on my DS but the cable is too short to play comfortably, hence the need for an extension cable. However, I must say that the sound from the DS is remarkable the tinny little tune from my Plants vs Zombies theme sing is now clear and full of sound tones and pitch rather than the plinky sound that I had grown used to. I was truly astounded by this sudden increase in quality.
If you want even more sound you can link several little Rokonos together in a chain - something which I hope to be trying in the next month or so.
My old portables speakers were quite expensive and extremely tinny in sound, but this little sensation has none of the tin tone just crystal clear sounds. For the first time I could clearly hear the voices and the background in the DVDs rather than having them as a merged mass of sound. Using the little Rokono I didn't need to have the subtitles on in order to know what was being said.
Audio books' narrations were given a depth of voice that I had not previously experienced.
The old tinny speakers used to last an hour or so on 4 AA batteries, where as the Rokono has a 10 hour replay time from a single charge, saving me a significant amount. I simply plug them in to the USB port and let them charge while I am working on my computer, so that when I need to use them they are ready to go.
I can't express how impressed I am with the little Rokono, I never expected anything like that kind of sound from something so tiny. I can't recommend them highly enough.
*** UPDATE ***
Fortunately, the manufacturers have listened to us consumers (if only they all did!) and they now include an 80 cm extension cable so using my DS, etc is much easier.
on 7 March 2013
There are a few key differences between these two products:
Packaging + Accessories: The packaging for the X-Mini is a plastic tube, the packaging for the Rokono is a card box. I prefer the card box as it feels and looks expensive like when you buy a high-end mobile phone for example, I definitely wouldn't feel embarrassed about giving the Rokono as a gift.
Another nice feature is the 3.5mm extension cable which comes with the Rokono speaker, it's something which isn't included with the X-Mini, so you have to buy one or just use the standard short cable in the bottom of the speaker.
The Rokono speaker also has a splashproof carry bag, which is great for taking your speakers away with you; the X-Mini has a velvet carry bag - not so great for travelling!
Appearance: The Rokono BASS+ has a silver and red logo, the X-Mini's logo is incorporated on to the top of the speaker. The Rokono speaker opens with a twist of the middle of the speaker and closes with a satisfying click, the X-Mini open by twisting the two halves of the speaker and closes the same way.
The Rokono is noticeably a little bigger than the X-Mini, I think this helps with sound reproduction as I will go on to explain.
Sound: The important question and there's not a lot in it to be honest. Both are surprisingly loud with good bass response. I think you would find it hard to tell them apart if you were blindfolded. I think the Rokono is a little louder however and this could be because of the slightly larger size.
Since reading about these two speaker after purchasing them, I have found that the X-Mini has suffered from a reduced quality in production recently and there are numerous stories about them failing very quickly. Of course the Rokono speaker has not been for sale for as long as the X-Mini so this could be why.
Sum up: My preference is the Rokono Bass+ speaker. In my opinion, it looks more stylish, seems to be a little louder, the packaging looks better (more expensive), the 3.5mm audio extension cable and the splashproof carry bag are nice additions.
This is my humble opinion of course, I hope it was helpful.
Being a signed music producer I was really curious about this unit. It promised a lot, looked cool and if it worked, might really help get my mix-downs sounding tight; get a track sounding good on weak speakers, it sounds good anywhere. So how did the Rokono perform?
Well let's run through the basics first: The unit comes with a built-in 3.5mm jack input. It has a potent 40mm driver powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which (according to the instructions) gives you around 10 hrs playback. Along with the speaker, you get a set of simple instructions (which you won't need) and a USB lead to charge the unit with.
The item itself consists (obviously) of the speaker on which you'll find an on/off switch, an LED (which glows blue when the speaker is switched on and red when it's being charged), a volume dial, an audio output (used, rather cooly, for daisy chaining multiple speakers together for an even bigger sound!) and 3.5mm jack to connect the unit to your music player.
Arriving in a nice quality box, the speaker immediately creates a good impression and things only get better when you take it out of the packaging. The unit itself is sturdy and well made, but that's the least of it because there are two things about the Rokono mini speaker that really rock: the cool design and clear sound.
The first obvious evidence of the thought that has gone into the design of this thing is the input jack. No longer than 3 inches in length, when not in use, it coils cleverly and neatly around the base of the unit and clips away, out of site, between 3 little rubber feet on the bottom of the unit. And worry not, if 3 inches between your speaker and you ipod isn't enough, the USB lead doubles as an extension lead so you can connect your speaker to you player and place it further away.
They got everything about this speaker spot-on. The looks and feel are just right, with a deep red bass-cone hidden behind a black grill and body which has a lovely texture to it. The best thing of all though (beside the quality of sound this thing produces) is the way you access the deep bass.
Give the body a a quick twist and the compact, spring loaded, circular body pops upwards to reveal the powerful driver behind its sound... it looks cool both when the speaker pops up and when it's in the open position sitting on your desk; it feels cool too, because when you're done listening, to close the unit, you give it a gentle squeeze and it clicks closed again. The amount of resistance feels just right and adds to the quality feel of the item.
So that's that - but what does the unit sound like then?: Well, the simple answer is, great. I mean really, really great. And not just for a speaker of this size. I listened to some Aphex Twin, some Bjørk, DJ DSL, Freddie Crügger, Tombee, a bit of Luke Vibert, Danny Breaks, Aim, RJD2, and some Declaime, Leftfield, Akbar and rounded things of with The Roots. All of them gave impressive results.
The low end was deep and defined and the mid-range tight and punchy. The high-frequencies did, perhaps lack a little sparkle, but I'm comparing these now to a pair of hi-fi speakers - they're that good. You could even clearly hear the reverb on the snares drums and other effects with ease. I was quite simply staggered by the quality and crispness of the sound they produced. Everything sounded nice and rounded, with no range of frequency bands causing any problems.
And they're not only detailed but loud too. And best of all, distortion free. I plugged these into my Apple Mac, and turned everything right up and experienced no distortion at all, yet the sound was easily enough to fill my office. They're won't do for a house party, but I'd say they sounds equivalent to having a ghetto-blaster on at a comfortabke listening level. There's definitely enough sound here for a hotel room or sitting round a camp fire with friends.
To sum up, I think this is a brilliant little bit of kit. It has far exceeded my expectations and I think, for the money, it is phenomenal. It looks great, sounds great and is brilliantly designed. I'd have loved to have one of these as a teenager on school trips, down the park or on holidays abroad with mum.
I'd have to point out that I was given my Rokono unit free of charge for review purposes. I have it in black and this is the red version of it. I'm not a professional reviewer nor was I contacted directly, but a few of these units were offered up for review in one of the internet forums here on Amazon. The manufacturers, Gadget Hunter, asked if anybody would like to review their product and I, being a producer, got in touch and said, yes.
I'm so glad I did, because I'm amazed by this great little unit. I really wasn't sure what to expect as, over the years, I've had several sets of portable speakers - ranging from huge square things for my Sony Walkman in the late 80s, to the more modern variety, manufactured for MP3 playing mobile phones when they first appeared on the scene.
However, I'd virtually given up on ever finding a descent pair of speakers for my personal music player that actually sounded any good (the results where always either quiet, tinny or distorted) but at long last someone has designed a portable speaker system for your portable music player that works. It's clear, detailed and as the name suggested packs some truly monster bass for its size.
There's not much more I can add, so I'm going to end on a quick speaker related pun and say that the sound of this portable little speaker will blow you away. It's a portable party in your pocket and I Highly recommend you buy one - especially at this price.
on 6 September 2014
About 18 months ago I purchased an X Mini speaker which was the best thing since sliced bread, I took this on my 18 month trip around the world and could not have asked for anything better. It recently broke so I replaced with an X Mini straight away, however couldn't help but notice the quality had gone down, both build and in sound. I returned to the manufacturer thinking there must have been a problem as my first one was so good, they replaced it with the same terrible speaker.
I then bought one of these and can honestly say this is as good, if not better than my original x mini and by far a better speaker. For the size/price this is worth every penny. Do yourself a favour and buy this over other portable speakers, you won't regret it!