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on 13 January 2010
As someone who does a lot of travelling around the country, I find it very useful to have a set of portable speakers that can be plugged into my MP3 player so as to listen to music without headphones. Unfortunately the sound quality you get from most portable speakers is very poor with the bass in particular, failing to impress.

When I ordered my x-mini, I did so because of the size and design rather than any expectation of performance. However, these portable speakers are a very impressive piece of kit, so impressive in fact that as soon as I had seen my first one in action, I went straight online to buy a second.

The speakers are powered by an internal battery which can be charged through an included usb cable. The sound quality is so good that I use my speakers as replacement for my laptops speakers when listening to music and thus running low on charge hasn't been a problem for me so I can't comment on battery life further than what the official statement has to say. The sound quality as stated before is very good, the speakers can't quite cope flawlessly with the loudest parts of some songs when everything is turned up to full volume, but I think to expect that may be unrealistic for a portable speaker in this price range. Even saying that the volume these guys can produce without any distortion is amazing. The bass is far superior to any of the other portables I've used and the size is perfect for just throwing in a bag when you're on the road. There is also a system in place which means you can "buddy jack" numerous x-mini's thus further increasing their sound output. All the equipment required for this, as well as charging comes included so you don't need to worry about buying extra cables or peripherals.

All in all these are a great purchase and I've already recommended them to some friends. They should be seriously considered if you're looking to invest in some portables. I honestly think they would be cheap at twice the price.
2323 comments922 of 955 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Review of the Xmini Uno portable speaker. When this unit arrived I was a bit surprised that it was the same size as the cheaper £15 XMi XMini II portable mini speaker, in fact you would be pushed to tell them apart. This isn't a bad thing as it makes the Uno ultraportable. They both come with similar accessories as well, a nice felt travel bag and a 60cm micro-USB2 recharge combined 3.5mm headphone cable. However this Xmini Uno is noticeably heavier at 112g compared its cheaper 83g sibling, probably due to it having a bigger battery lasting up to 20 hours not 11 hours on one charge. The Uno's extra weight also keeps it from moving about when the sounds turned up. Plus the Uno does feel noticeably more solid in construction than the cheap Xmini II. Other than the recharge/headphone cable being a bit thin and flimsy, the Xmini Uno is well built and easy to use. You charge via the supplied USB2 cable, and use this to feed analogue music into the speaker via the 3.5mm headphone out on the iPod/MP3 player. The Uno has LEDs for charging indication, an on/off switch and a volume control (the iPod volume control also adjusts Uno sound levels). Given the flimsy USB2 charging cable, I tend to charge the speaker via a USB 13A mains/12v car adapter, as from experience I know a 5V power feed short in the USB2 cable can fry a PC's motherboard and CPU (the USB2 cable isn't used for PC data transfer anyway). The internal Uno battery takes around 2.5 hours to recharge.

I compared this Xmini Uno with our many Xmini II's and the sound is clearly weightier with a bit more bass. In comparison the cheaper Xmini II's sound is lighter and brighter (which helps clarity), and although the II's bass is poorer and not as noticeable as the Uno's, it still manages to convey the beat. Both the Uno and the II's go fairly loud for their small 4cm size, and both go to pretty much the same volume. Sound quality doesn't markedly improve at high volume, although there's generally no major distortion at max. Neither are tonally accurate HiFi wise, but their tonal balance is pleasant enough, and you have the iPod's equalization control. I'm into pop, rock and some electric folk, i.e. vocals, and I found I was really quite happy with the sound from either the £40 Uno or the £15 IIs, which does make the II's better value for me. Overall I didn't think the difference in sound quality wowed me enough to make the Uno a preferable buy at its orginal £40 full retail (however recently it's full price has dropped to under £30, and I would always buy the Uno in preference if it's offered for £25). Our cheaper Xmini II's seem reliable having lasted 2+ years, which bodes well for the upgraded Uno, although being so small and always on the move they do have a tendency to get lost about the house. This Uno has li-ion batteries that are sensitive to heat above 30oC and should be stored long-term switched off with some, ideally 40%, charge or the Li-ion battery may go completely flat and refuse to charge (there's info on the Xmini website about kickstarting the discharged Li-ion battery should this happen).

Still the Uno's improved sound, build quality and extra 9 hours battery life is very welcome, so 5* for features/sound/portability and 5* for value at £25. Although bulkier and weighing 424g, when moving up from the Xmini's we went for the superb £90 MINIRIG rechargeable speaker instead, which offers great mono sound, superb looks & build quality, loud volume and a 50h battery life (although the recent price hike to £139 is hard to swallow, even if it adds in BlueTooth). For highly rated stereo portable rechargeable speakers also check out the £20 Music Angel Friendz and the £110 Bluetooth enabled Cambridge Audio G2 MINI Portable Bluetooth speakers. You can link together Unos (and Xmini IIs) via their shorter (non-USB) inbuilt 3.5mm audio cable for a louder mono sound, or connect two in stereo using a Y Cable, but we prefer the simple ultra-portability of one Uno. The Uno is available in dark grey and five bright colours. It has a one year warranty, but that excludes damage to the wired in 'link' cable (unless present on delivery). Like all popular products watch out for Xmini fakes though, as they are certainly out there (our Uno came direct from Amazon, and is still going strong after 2.5 years).
22 comments158 of 168 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 May 2014
I wanted a speaker for my laptop as the laptop was very quiet and as I teach in a busy classroom needed something with a bit of power behind it. I was sceptical when I read the reviews for this little speaker but took the plunge and bought one on the advice of other customers. Im glad I did its a brilliant little speaker with excellent clarity of sound, and its small enough to pop in the laptop bag. Thanks for everyone's advice my advice would be if you are thinking of buying this speaker I would definitely recommend it you wont be disappointed
0Comment8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've owned the XMI X-Mini II 2nd Generation Capsule for over 5 years now and was sent this Max Duo for review, to see how the new ceramic driver has improved and/or changed the sound.

First of all the accessories that you get with the Max duo:
-Pouch
-Cable: Inputs are a 3.5mm jack and a USB port. Outputs are two mini USB connections
-Manual

I found the accessories provided to be useful and perfect for the given price-point.

Build quality:
The capsule speaker has a great build quality, especially with the cool metal finish on the outside. I was sent the Purple one to review and I quite like how they applied the finish on the product.
The capsule has a 3.5mm jack that's located underneath with a groove within the Xmini for the wire to sit in.
On the side of the capsule, you have a on/off switch, a LED indicator (blue when on and red when charging), an audio output for daisy-chaining other Xminis to it and finally an audio input via mini USB.
I should also mention the famous pivot design that expands the speaker to increase its bass presence. This is done by rotating the speaker from its base and opening up its woofer design.

The wire is actually very useful - it comes with a cable management to hold the wires together and has a volume rocker to adjust the volume of the Xmini's.

Overall, the build quality is excellent and I couldn't really fault it.

Battery life:
I was completely shocked to get over 120 hours (yes 1-2-0), of continuous playback. It took only 2hrs to charge too!

Sound quality:
This was the biggest one for me - and it didn't fail to impress me.
The new ceramic driver really packs the same punch as the old generation, but gives a MUCH better mids and highs frequency response. The treble comparison between the old and new generation with the ceramic driver is night and day. HUGE difference in sound. An "untrained ear" could easily pick up the differences and those differences are very pleasant to the ear.
The new ceramic driver really brings music to life, whereas the older generation, despite being good for its era is outclassed in every domain by this new ceramic driver.

I can't quite emphasis it enough - big improvement and top marks to XMI.

Overall:
I really like the new speakers - granted they aren't speakers I would have at home, as at their £35 price tag you could buy a Logitech PC sound system, but for on-the-go portability, nothing really beats these little speakers, in sound, build, design, and portability.
Highly suggested for anyone looking for a portable mini speaker on the go.
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0Comment18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 April 2013
So the Xmini Uno Portable arrives in the post and I'm eager to test it out. I say 'it', but I really mean 'them' as I bought 2 (I will refer to them singularly from this point onwards).

The speaker comes nicely packaged, hovering in a clear plastic box and I'm immediately impressed by the small size of the unit. But being so small, I'm also somewhat concerned about its capabilities.

As I'm unpacking the speaker, some fears are immediately put to rest. Firstly, transporting the unit around. I can see a small black carry pouch is included in the box. Having looked at it, it's more than sufficient for keeping the speaker free from damage when moving around. It's also big enough to fit the speaker's cable in. Secondly, as just mentioned, the cables. I'm relieved to see that all the cables required to use the speaker are included in the box, this includes a standard audio jack to plug into pretty much any audio equipment you can think of, and a USB jack to charge the speakers. Ah excellent, another fear put to rest; USB charging, so no batteries required.

When I take the speaker out of the box, it has a satisfying weightiness to it. I plug it into my iPod and flick the power switch to 'on'. A blue light illuminates underneath it letting me know that the power is on and that the unit is fully charged. Great, so no 16 hour initial charge up period, it's ready to go right out of the box. I turn my music on and am genuinely impressed with what I hear. The high end notes are clear and crisp, the midtones are completely audible. The bass is actually quite thumpy. Overall the sound is great. I immediately put on some of the more challenging songs in my collection, songs with enough complexity to have to be listened to through headphones or good speakers to be properly heard and appreciated. This speaker holds up just fine, and I mean it when I say it.

I am, however, going to qualify the above paragraph. Anybody who's owned a small speaker setup such as this will know that when I say 'the sound is great', I actually mean 'the sound is great..for a mini speaker'. This is afterall, a mini speaker, not a proper audio setup, and it can't hope to compete with proper stereo sound. Despite the inherent limitations, the sound is genuinely good quality. I turn the speaker up to full and there is some slight distortion with vocals and bass, but not too much and the music doesn't completely break apart as it can when pushing cheaper units to maximum volume. How loud does it go? It's difficult to say. Loud enough that the first time I turned it up to full volume, it felt a bit uncomfortable so I turned it back down a bit.

The only place the speaker falls a bit short in terms of sound is on the low consistent bass notes, they're there, but not quite like they should be. Having said that, I'm yet to see a portable speaker setup where the low bass doesn't suffer, and this holds up significantly better than most.

When putting the speaker away, it is pushed down and locked with a twist making it even smaller and easier to transport (a bit like a lockable kinder egg). The result is an impressive looking small ball of speaker ready for the carry pouch.

For those who are interested, I plugged both speakers into my iPod and the sound was increased exponentially, both in terms of quality and volume. The speakers are plugged into each other with an integrated audio cable which is conveniently hidden underneath the speaker when not in use. One speaker is plugged into the sound device, with subsequent speakers plugged into that speaker, creating a chain. The only gripe I have with this is that the wire that connects the two speakers is quite short (maybe 6 inches) meaning that there's a requirement to place the speakers quite close together.

All in all though, I'm impressed with this little speaker. It combines a truly portable setup with surprisingly good quality sound that packs a serious punch. I've given it 5 stars because for what it is (a small setup), it really can't be criticised.

As a sidenote, I ordered the silver/grey colour pictured above, and rather pleasingly, the speaker is slightly darker than pictured. I like it.
22 comments57 of 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 September 2015
This is my second X-Mini speaker. I've had my first for many years now, 5years+, which I've loved and has been great. Sound quality was very impressive, very good bass when placed on a hard surface, loud & clear, as well as being easy to transport, very solid feel to it, VERY long battery life, everything you would want. Hence why I purchased another, to pair up and use together for my outdoor PT sessions as like mentioned, they are so easy to transport and surprisingly loud for such little things.

However, since purchasing my second a few months ago, I've been nothing but disappointed. Even just holding the 2 in my hands you can feel the huge difference in quality. The new one feels flimsy, light compared to my older one (but not in a good way), basically just very cheaply made. My guess is as they've grown in sales they've changed the way they make these speakers to cut costs, but it's massively cut quality in doing so. The sound quality has no comparison to my older one either. The speaker majorly vibrates and muffles the song at any volume level above 25%, and just sounds overall tinny and poor. The worst thing about the new speaker is the battery life. It doesn't even last an hour on a full charge, whereas my older one STILL lasts for hours on end.

To sum up, massive disappointment after such high expectations from my old version. Will not be buying again, would not recommend.
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on 24 May 2012
My sister bought one of these on the flight to our holiday in France. I was pretty dubious about it. But when she plugged it into an iPad it was just amazing, it was suitably loud and the sound quality is brilliant for such a tiny gadget. I got mine from Amazon, £5 cheaper than Easyjet, and it's been really handy, it's great for watching iPlayer programmes, boosting the sound really well, and it's equally good with the iPod when having a bath. Seriously pleased with it, it charges quickly via USB and a charge lasts hours. It's also tiny, compact and pretty robust. Highly recommended!
22 comments56 of 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 September 2014
I am a novice to such mobile devices so bear with me here - it was a bit of a learning curve. My son has been extolling the virtues of this sort of approach to sound for a while now so giving this a try seemed an idea. I noticed that the title failed to mention Android devices so thought that would be the way I would test it out. Neat little item (though rather larger than my thumb) and the build looks good and the supplied cable looks fine too. The "instructions" may well be great for folk with experience in these things but it took me a moment to figure out. Although charging was a breeze connecting to my devices took a little longer. Initially I was under the impression that it could use NFC to connect to my Nexus however reading around the subject suggests that actually that may only be a part of connecting with Bluetooth - either way it connects fine with Bluetooth as does another Android device.

Once done the playback is really very good for such a dinky device. Sound levels - for me - are easily controlled by the Android device and even at full volume there is barely any distortion. At one point I had the speaker on in the lounge and went to make a cup of tea and could hear it clearly in the kitchen with the door open - very good indeed. I charged it via my PC so I may well see whether the time can be improved using a 5v mains charger. Maybe worth noting that the claimed 6 hours playback is not when using Bluetooth and the time drops to ~4 hours that way. Still think it is great little device and one I will certainly continue to use both around the house and on the move. I'll certainly update this if I come across anything interesting while I'm using it.
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on 9 May 2009
Great little speakers - plenty of sound and staying power - tiny and easy to transport bought two of these and use a left/right splitter lead to obtain true stereo (e.g. Maplin L39BA)
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on 28 September 2011
A fantastic addition for my Android phone and netbook when you need a little more volume and sound quality.

We bought these to use on the netbook when on holiday for films and music and they do not disappoint you.
They have a very good all round sound quality and when placed on a table or other large surface the bass is very good. The extra volume is much needed if any of you have a netbook you know the speakers a pretty limited when it comes to anything other than general use.

They are still on the first charge after a good 10 hours use so that's a bonus.
The cable is nice and long for ease of use.
They seem well made i'm not worried they should last a good few years.

Overall for the money (i paid £17) they are a bargain that i can't give any less than 5 stars for because after using them i would have paid much more for them.
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