The market is so flooded with Bluetooth speakers that anyone trying to wedge another speaker into the mix better have perfect audio and unique features to attract attention away from the rest of the contenders. Today I’m going to show you the X-mini CLEAR Bluetooth speaker. X-mini should sound familiar to you. They are the company that makes several of the little popup capsule speakers that we’ve reviewed over the years (check out the related posts list at the end of this review). The CLEAR is X-mini’s first “large” speaker. Let’s take a closer look.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
In the box
X-mini CLEAR speaker
Magnetic front cover
AC power adapter
Quick start guide
The X-mini CLEAR is a 2.1 audio system, which means it has a left and right speaker and a subwoofer. The front of the speaker has a black plastic front.
If you’re so inclined you can attach the included magnetic knit cover over the front.
On the top edge is a microphone for the built in speakerphone and there are touch sensitive controls for power, prev track, next track, volume, mood light/Bluetooth/Aux in toggle and NFC. If you have an NFC enabled device like an Android smartphone, you can just tap the phone over the NFC tag and it will pair via Bluetooth without having to manually go into the Bluetooth settings to search for nearby devices.
The whole back side of the CLEAR is see through clear plastic. Also on the back is the AC power port, a USB port that can be used to charge a device, a reset switch and a 3.5mm audio input jack.
Did you notice the AC adapter in the image at the beginning of the review? Yes, it’s large and bulky – ick. But the good news is that this speaker had a 6600mAh rechargeable battery, so you can ditch the adapter – at least for up to 10 hours.
Clear gadgets are always cool, but the X-mini CLEAR goes one step further by offering a mood light feature.
Just touch the mood light button on the top of the speaker for 2 seconds to toggle the mood light on and off. When turned on, the colors cycle slowly giving a cool light show effect. You might be thinking that it’s a cool feature, but since it’s on the back of the speaker you won’t see it when the speaker is on a shelf.
Actually you can see it. The two ports below the left and right speaker allow the light to shine through even if you have the cover on the front. Nifty huh?
Of course the most important feature of any speaker is audio quality. The X-mini CLEAR is a very nice small Bluetooth speaker that does a good job with all types of music. Audio is clear, crisp and bass is decently thumpy without being muddy even at higher volumes. The speaker has three individual amplifiers which do an very good job of sound separation.
I tested the speaker with my LG G3 smartphone using the music streaming Slacker Radio app and my Macbook Pro streaming using Slacker Radio in a web browser and playing my MP3 collection using a music app called Vox. Some of the music I used for this review:
Ed Sheeran “Don’t”
Maroon 5 “Animals”
Trans-Siberian Orchestra various Christmas tunes
I had no problems with audio breaking up when I left the speaker in my basement office and walked upstairs to work in my kitchen. I was able to use my LG G3 to change tracks and increase the volume with no issues. Like I mentioned, this speaker sounds good. I just can’t say it blew me away though, but for its size it does a good job filling a medium sized room with music. That said, I think the audio quality could be improved if the speaker had the aptX codec.
If it wasn’t for the price, I wouldn’t have any problems recommending the X-mini CLEAR to anyone shopping for a Bluetooth speaker with some unique features, but the $200 price tag seems way out of line to me when you can find so many similarly sized and sounding speakers on the market with a much smaller price tag. Maybe if the CLEAR had aptX, AirPlay and a wood cabinet. But as it stands, I just can’t see myself paying this much for a good speaker that doesn’t quite rock my world. Even though the X-mini CLEAR isn’t going to win the designation as my favorite Bluetooth speaker, I do think that X-mini has made an admirable first attempt at a larger speaker and I’m looking forward to hearing what they come up with next.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by X-mini. Please visit their site for more info.