X-mini is made by a company from Singapore, who has dedicated their time into portable speakers for the past few years. Their trademark is <Sound Beyond Size>, and all these are supposed to come from a speaker with the diametre of 6cm. A pretty bold claim I must say, but we are here to test them out ain’t it? Then let’s delve deeper into these portable speakers!
note: This review is concerning the 2013 edition which is different from other models.
(this review is written with excessive care to avoid any errors, however, there might still be some appearing due to human error)
X-mini’s packaging is a bang of colours right in your face. You will see BIG words of ‘MAX’ written there to capture your attention while browsing in the stores. Then you will notice the golden “Stereo and Pocket-sized portability” at the top right to enhance the first impression. Finally, you will be greeted with two speakers of various colours(they are available in 7 basic rainbow colours).
The case is a flimsy plastic but looks cool. You will feel like reaching for it to look at what’s special about these small speakers which claim to sound BIG. It’s just the flimsiness of the packaging decreases the impression of a good product and you might think it’s a cheap brand like any other. Make no mistake though, as what’s important is under the surface ;).
The speakers themselves are made of matte hard durable plastic. It’s not glossy and fingerprints won’t leave much stains or be noticeable. This is where the product starts to look and feel like some premium audio product. They are made with great care to look good and to stay good looking for years to come (mine have lasted 1.5 years and still looks almost the same, except with more dust accumulating in the driver region)
I prefer the brown metal version as it just looks classy and with a darker colour, the stains accumulated over the years will be much less visible. The speaker’s driver is just below the orange film at the top, slightly protected by the extended plastic that has X-mini logo carved in. They just look cute but classy IMO.
The speakers have the special ability to daisy chain themselves. This is done by using the 3.55mm audio plug from one speaker to connect to the other’s audio input plug. Simple plug and play literally. Lastly, they are also able to be retracted and extended like in the image shown. When extended, the bass is deeper and vocal is clearer, but when retracted, it just becomes muffled but can be fit in smaller space. Each to their own preference I guess.
The sound test is conducted using the following devices:
Motorola X 2014 edition phone
MacBook Pro 2014 15-inch
PC with normal soundcard
iBasso DX90 DAP
The device is played using full volume in Youtube and Spotify, and used as stereo, means the two speakers are daisy-chained together(otherwise they will be mono each). Now I am really surprised when I did this, as their tagline holds true. Sound Beyond Size is literally what it sounds like! Something so small can produce sounds that are probably twice or even thrice their size. This depends on the amplifier of your device though. With my phone, the loudness is tripled of my phone’s and I can hear it even in another room. Using Ed Sheeran’s “I see Fire”, the vocal and guitar are pretty good and audible. They are slightly blurred when listened to loudest volume, and even some slight bass may shake the speakers or make them ‘jump’. They are not the best speakers for maximal clarity of bass heavy but are enough to fill up the whole room. Sound quality only becomes just slightly better when listened using Spotify 320 kbps of the same song.
Probably due to a better amplifier of the MacBook Pro, the X-mini(s) could play even louder at its max volume compared to my phone. Now it can fill up the whole room plus being able to listen from another room and behind the thick wooden main door which is 8 metres away. Sound quality is played using FLAC file, but I can’t really tell the difference when I listened to Spotify 320kbps version. Youtube’s version is slightly noisier and can be noticeable at the loudest volume.
Same thing applies to PC, it sounds almost exactly the same as MacBook Pro’s, with the probability due to their soundcard and amplifier being the same quality.
—iBasso DX90 DAP—
Alright, this is an interesting combination. We have a good DAP, which can output the cleanest and best audio signal out of all the previous devices, into these stereo speakers with moderate quality drivers. I played at almost the loudest volume and they sound even louder than my PC’s or MacBook Pro’s! The sound quality seems to have improved a bit because of the vocal, when listened at reasonable loudness, sounds clearer with better guitar strum as the bass. Perhaps a good amplifier does make the difference after all! However, these X-mini speakers are really not a good candidate for an audiophile, and could not bring out the music’s and hardware’s fullest potential.