Review: X-mini II portable speaker for HTC EVO 4G

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Since many of you use the HTC EVO 4G as a media player and the built-in speaker can become muffled because of its location on the back, a portable speaker can be a nice add-on for the device.

There are many universal speakers to choose from at various price points, but last year's X-mini II caught my eye because of its award-winning design, lovely color scheme, lofty claims about sound quality, and sub-$30 price.

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Here are some bullet points about the speaker from the manufacturer:

  • 40mm driver delivers precise highs for superb sound clarity
  • Expanded BXS (Bass Xpansion System) drives a fuller, richer low-end response
  • Warning: Unbelievably loud
  • Audio revolution in a box
  • Benchmark for portable sound
  • Must-have daily accessory for all media devices
  • Sound beyond size

I mean, really. How is anyone supposed to resist that?

Contents

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Included with the speaker are a drawstring pouch, dual-end mini USB cable with USB and 3.5mm headphone jack, and user's manual.

Design

The X-mini II won Red Dot Design and Infocomm Singapore awards for its design and innovation.

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The speaker orb is made of high quality plastic that features a smooth, soft-touch rubberized finish. The shiny red circle being semi-protected by the branded bar is the tweeter, which vibrates from very deep bass and high volumes.

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The speaker twists open to reveal an accordion-style resonator. It can be used closed but produces better sound when open.

Below the locking mechanism is a mini USB port used for charging the built-in battery.

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There's also an on/off switch, volume controller, and audio jack (more on this later) on the lower half and an audio cable and LED light to indicate charging and battery status on the bottom.

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It's really striking and a definite conversation starter if displayed on your desk at work. The compact size, smooth materials, and unique design make it something that you'll probably want to show off, especially when paired with the EVO.

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Function

The X-Mini II isn't a Bluetooth speaker so it connects to a device with an audio cable plugged into its 3.5mm headphone jack.

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The built-in cable is quite short so it isn't ideal for hooking up the EVO. It's nice to have it integrated so you don't have to carry a separate cable, but it's really there for another reason.

Xmini-chain 

An X-mini II chain! A feature called the "Buddy Jack" lets multiple speakers connect to each other through the audio jack to create, as the manufacturer puts it, "a virtually endless 'daisy chain' of self-powered, bass-enhanced portable speakers."

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If you have just one speaker and don't want to use the short audio cable connected to the bottom, then the dual-end USB cable is your best bet. You can charge the speaker via USB while it's in use or just let the USB plug sit around.

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Sound Quality

Here are the technical specs of the X-Mini II for all you audiophiles:

  • Speaker: MAGNETISM PREVENTФ40 MM 2W/4Ω
  • Loudspeaker Output: 2.5W
  • Rating Power: 2.0W
  • Frequency Response: 100Hz-20Khz
  • Signal-to-Noise: ≥80db
  • Distortion: ≤1.0%

For everyone else, I think "wow!" is easy to understand. The speaker is well deserving of its "sound beyond size" tagline.

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You won't be hosting a party with this or giving up your home stereo system, but the volume and sound quality this little 3-ounce unit puts out is very impressive. Everything is just beyond expectation, especially if you're used to the subpar sound usually associated with battery-powered portable speakers.

The X-mini II is only a mono speaker so the soundstage is lacking, but there's still a lot of warmth and clarity. And really, for something of this size, the quality is amazing. Volume is incredible too. The X-mini II can get very loud with no distortion even when the volume of the EVO and the speaker itself are both maxed out. The volume can get so loud, in fact, that it can cause the orb to move/jump around.

Battery

The X-mini II is powered by a non-removable battery that is good for about 10 to 12 hours per charge. It charges via USB in a few hours using the provided cable or any other micro USB cable you have lying around.

Conclusion

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There's very little not to like about the X-mini II portable speaker. I might call it perfect if it were Bluetooth-enabled and the built-in audio cable were longer and retractable, but it's rather outstanding as is. It has a sleek design and rechargeable battery, charges via USB, can connect to other X-mini II units, and of course produces impressive sound quality and can get, as the box puts it, "unbelievably loud."

It's really a great accessory for the HTC EVO or any other device equipped with a standard headphone jack.

The X-mini II portable speaker is available in three colors (black, red, white) and can be purchased for less than $30 from Amazon.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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