Today we’re reviewing a side-by-side comparison of impressive portable speakers, kindly provided by the folks over at Gearzap.com who sell a great range of phone accessories and speakers.
X-Mi X Mini II
Size & Style
The X-Mi X Mini II is quite recognisable and we’ve often seen them on ads and websites, so their marketing team is obviously doing something right. These speakers really look the part with a futuristic look and feel. The surface has a slightly rubberly look, but is actually smooth to the touch. The unit itself is a mix of plastic and metal giving them a sturdy and professional feel. On top of that they are small. Really small. And that’s before you squash them down for storage by a clever twist and turn mechanism.
The sound quality is very impressive for its size, with a deep, full sound. However it does sound a little metallic and muffled. It could be argued that this comes down to personal taste however. The bass notes really come through strongly, which is great if you like your music loud and heavy. The only slightly disappointing thing is the sound volume. We tried these on a Samsung Galaxy S4 at full volume, with the speakers turned up to full as well. They were loud, but not really loud, so it will depend on your listening environment as to whether you really need more volume.
The speaker connects to your playback device via a standard 3.5mm stereo cable, however the cable is short so it needs to be positioned quite close to the device. This appears to be a deliberate design and means you won’t get the cable tangled or tugged. The short length of cable also wraps and clips away very neatly under the base of the speaker. Furthermore there is a mini USB port for each charging which also works while charging.
One very cool feature is the ability to connect multiple X-Mi’s in serial, mimicking a much larger sounds system. They are cheap enough to buy more than one, so this could be a really useful feature. Alternatively, convince your friends to get them and link them all up together!
Size & Style
The Soundwave looks much larger than the X-Mi, but isn’t really when compared side-by-side. The actual speaker diaphragm is almost exactly the same size as the X-Mi. The main draw back is the look of the speaker. It vaguely resembles something from a 1980s science fiction series, although some might like its retro look. If that doesn’t bother you, then it really is an amazing speaker.
The volume is incredible. It seems to give a much greater volume than the X-Mi and we were quite blown away by how such a small device can produce so much sound. The downside however is that a finely tune ear will notice a bit of distortion at the top end. It also can sound a bit tinny, but this could be adjusted by your device’s EQ (if you have one). One slightly annoying thing is that is vibrates a lot and quite cutely (or annoyingly…) moves itself around your desk. To fix this, it does come with a rubber mat which completely solves this problem, but does mean another object to carry when travelling.
The device’s main feature is the ability to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth. The pairing process is super simple. Just press and hold a button until a light flashes. Then on your phone / tablet / laptop, simply turn your Bluetooth on and pair it. Then each subsequent time your playback device will find the speaker with no further tinkering. As with the X-Mi, it charges via mini USB and can be charged while playing back.
Another great feature of the Soundwave is that it acts as a speaker phone for incoming calls with various other features such as voice dialling (if your phone supports that), voice transfer and redial.
In summary, these are both great speakers and hopefully the above gives you a few pluses and minuses to weigh up your buying decision. Personally if we had to pick one, we would choose the Soundwave for its wireless playback ability and volume, but it really does depending what you’re looking for in a portable speaker.
For more great accessories, then head over to Gearzap. They supply accessories and speakers for most devices including the latest HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.