WHILE wireless speakers are hardly a new phenomenon, it’s nice to see some firms still pushing the boundaries.
Singapore-based firm Xmi Pte Ltd have been carving a name for themselves in the capsule speaker market for some time now, with over ten products including the X-mini WE.
Tell me more.
Mooted as the ‘world’s first thumb-sized speaker’, the WE is unbelievably small. Weighing less than a bar of chocolate (a KitKat Chunky, since you asked), it measures 48mm by 40mm.
Allowing you to connect your device - be it iPad, iPhone, laptop etc. - via Bluetooth, the WE then streams audio from its 1.5watt speaker with no need for wires.
The connection works over 33ft - about 10 metres - so the device can be left in one room and the speaker another.
Setting up the connection is simple enough - enable Bluetooth on the device, flick the WE’s switch to the Bluetooth symbol and pair them up, and you’re good to go.
The only time you’ll need wires is to charge the WE- and it’ll only take around 90 minutes for a full charge, giving you between four and six hours of playtime.
Doesn’t sound like much, but the chances are you won’t be playing music through the WE non-stop for that amount of time and so you’ll likely go for a few days between charges.
In terms of logistics, the loop allowing the WE to be attached to a keyring or bag is a nice touch, as is the lanyard it comes with. It’s also small enough to fit into a small bag, or even a jacket pocket.
How does it sound?
Technical jargon aside, the WE is an impressive piece of kit. Given its size and its power, it’s not going to become your go-to speaker. But then, that’s not the WE’s main aim.
What it might lack in power, it more than makes up for with its durability, compact size and sound.
Shaped like a small grenade, the WE is surprisingly loud despite its size, and gave a good account of itself while playing music from an iPhone, the soundtrack to an iPad game and a programme on BBC iPlayer played on a laptop.
Outside, it more than held its own in a large public park, and for frequent travellers it would be ideal.
The most impressive aspect is that, generally speaking, the sound is never muffled or tinny. If you crank up the volume the sound does become slightly distorted, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to turn it up to 11.
Does it just come in black?
Nope - you can also choose from orange, pink, turquoise or blue.
Is it worth it?
Retailing for between £25 and £30, the WE is definitely value for money. For the simplicity, sound quality and even the looks - streamlined and sleek - Xmi could charge more for their wireless capsule speaker and it wouldn’t be outrageous.
It’s portable, it charges quickly, it looks good, and it can be used both inside and outside with great results.
Should I get one?
If you’ve got a smartphone or a tablet, or if you’re planning a trip away, then you could do worse than get a WE. £30 is cheaper than buying a radio or an iPod dock and given the WE performs many of the same functions, it stands up as a cut-price alternative.
A tiny wireless speaker might not be top of everyone’s gadget list, but once you get one, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t pick one up earlier.
Rating: * * * *
Cost: Between £25.99 and £30.00