I don’t know many backpackers/travellers/whatever you want to call our unique breed that don’t listen to music on the road. An ipod or mp3 player has got to be up there on everyone’s essential gear list and what better addition to your rucksack than a couple of tiny speakers. With that said, the X-Mini II by XMI are an absolute bargain.
In the past small speakers that fit in your pocket have had the reputation of being utterly terrible, tinny sound quality and a build quality that suggests they were put together by a troop of blind monkeys. Those days are long gone, there are now some pretty impressive little speakers on the market. After my usual trawl of websites for reviews and articles I was about 99% set on these X-Mini IIs. The only concern I had was whether the upgraded version, the X-Mini Max IIs were actually better. They’re not, put simply. They do have the slight edge on power output and you can use them in stereo, but from everything I read, the difference in sound quality isn’t even noticeable.
It’s really quite incredible how much sound can pump out of such a small device, even outdoors the sound carries a long way. We used our two on a beach with friends and couldn’t have a single complaint about the sound quality. In New Zealand our car didn’t have a stereo… no problem, we hooked these up to our iPod and away we went. I’m also amazed at how long the battery lasts for. Reviews quote them as lasting for around 11 hours. I assumed wrongly that this was an overestimate, they really do last that long on a full charge (2.5 hours).
Since I’m sounding a tiny bit too over-excited now I better give you my only negative point for the X-Mini II speakers, the cabling. The wire connecting to the ipod/mp3 player is quite short (around 10cm) and if you want to use them on your laptop (you can connect 2 of them via the USB ports) you can only charge one at a time.
In conclusion, a great product and a great price, ideal for people on the move!
Four Footprints Rating: 9/10