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Monday, June 10, 2013

X-Mini Max Duo portable speakers review: decent-sounding portable speakers


The X-Mini Max Duo portable speakers are a neat and decent-sounding option for music-loving iPhone users. See all audio reviews.

Perfect for entertaining picnickers in the great British outdoors this summer, these neat paired speakers are light, extremely portable and sonically respectable. Take a look at Group test: what's the best speaker set?

X-Mini is known for the 'concertina' design of its mini speakers, which squash down into a flatter form for carrying around. In their compressed form, each one is the size and shape of a moderately sturdy mushroom, 41mm high and 52mm across; give it a twist and it will pop up to a height of 54mm. Each weighs a barely noticeable 78g. They're robust and should stand up to being jostled around in a bag, although a protective carry case is also provided. When not in use, they join together magnetically for even better portability.



The pair provide stereo sound by daisy-chaining into your iPhone. A branching cable is provided for this, but more conveniently, each one has a very short headphone cable built in, which coils neatly around the base when not in use; if you plug one directly into the iPhone, you can wire the second speaker into the first. And considering their size, they turn out decent if not antisocial volumes: enough to fill a medium-sized room without any real distortion, and probably enough to keep a barbecue amused. They've not got the power for a party, however.

Given the size and budget-friendly price tag, we weren't expecting audiophile sound quality. The output isn't as rich as we tend to like - separate voices and sounds feel a bit squashed together - but on simpler recordings (and particularly spoken word material) this isn't noticeable. And while the lower end doesn't do justice to Justice (fans of Daft Punk and other dance and electronica may wish to look elsewhere), it still has more of a bass kick, albeit a slightly metallic-sounding one, than your average micro-speaker.


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