“The X-mini Xoundbar gets a lot of things right as a compact Bluetooth speaker”
It’s said that good things come in small packages, though you don’t often see the statement carry weight (pun intended) in the world of Bluetooth speakers. After all, rich and booming sound has been synonymous with large speakers for quite some time now. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of compact Bluetooth speakers which get really loud, but the sound quality often takes a dip as you increase the volume. Well, that changes with the X-mini Xoundbar, a tiny Bluetooth speaker which fits in the palm of your hand and belts out impressive sound. Having tested the speaker for a few weeks, here’s why I feel you should pick one up.
It’s evident that X-mini has put a lot of thought into the design of the Xoundbar since the Bluetooth speaker has been constructed with the spit and polish you’d expect from a big-name brand. The Xoundbar features a rectangular, boxy build and resembles a harmonica, albeit with rounded corners and chamfered edges which ensure that the speaker doesn’t bite your hand when you’re carrying it around. While most of the unit employs plastic in its construction, the speaker grill makes use of metal which lends the Xoundbar a rugged look. Speaking of which, the X-mini Xoundbar comes with IPX4 certification, making the speaker impervious to damage from minor water splashes.
Despite its compact size, the X-mini Xoundbar offers a fair bit of controls and ports. It features a set of four buttons at the top, programmed to turn the speaker on and off, control the audio output and control the volume. Towards the back, the Xoundbar sports a micro-USB port which is used to charge the unit along with an LED indicator to show the status of the speaker. Lastly, you will get a rubberised foot-trail positioned at the bottom which ensures that the speaker doesn’t slip when placed on a flat surface.
The only qualm I have with the design of the X-mini Xoundbar is that the speaker doesn’t feature a 3.5mm auxiliary port which is a standard in most Bluetooth speakers. But, with everything considered, the X-mini Xoundbar is still one of the best-looking compact affordable Bluetooth speakers.
In terms of technical specifications, the X-mini Xoundbar ships with a pair of bi-directional 36mm drivers capable of 3W output each. The speaker can operate across a frequency range of 160Hz-16KHz and connects to compatible devices via Bluetooth v4.2. Now, since the Xoundbar is a compact speaker, the drivers get restricted movement inside the speaker’s chassis. Owing to the restricted air displacement, the speaker struggles in delivering deep, punchy bass. That said, the Xoundbar more than makes up for the lack of bass by producing clean mids and clear highs. Much to my surprise, the speaker boasts excellent instrument separation and you will be able to make out the background instruments from the singer’s voice easily.
The Xoundbar’s biggest plus point is that it can get extremely loud without distorting sound. I cannot emphasise how important this is since most budget Bluetooth speakers suffer from distortion at peak volume levels. In fact, the sound output from the speaker is enough to fill up an entire room with quality audio and you can even pair up two X-mini Xoundbar speakers together to create a stereo effect.
On the flip side, while the audio output is bi-directional, I noticed that the sound from front side of the speaker (the fascia with the X-mini logo) was noticeably louder than output from the rear. But then again, most budget Bluetooth speakers come with mono sound output and therefore, I am willing to look past this technical flaw of the Xoundbar.
Battery life and connectivity
Shrinking down the size of a gadget leaves little room for a capacious battery. The X-mini’s Xoundbar is no exception to this rule and comes with a tiny 700mAh cell, which lasts just a little over three hours with continuous music playback at 70 percent volume. However, the thing that bothered me more was that the battery took over two hours to charge fully.
Thankfully, the speaker worked flawlessly over a Bluetooth connection and the music playback was seamless through and through. I would also like to mention that the X-mini Xoundbar comes with a built-in mic which will let you answer phone calls. The call quality wasn’t too bad, but you will have to make an effort to relay your voice over to the other end by bending over and speaking directly into the microphone from time to time.
For a speaker which costs just Rs 3,499 (currently retailing for less than Rs 2,600 on Flipkart), the X-mini Xoundbar gets a lot of things right. Not only do you get a speaker with a stylish, robust design, but the Xoundbar also scores where it matters the most and offers excellent audio quality despite its compact size. The battery life of the speaker, especially the charging time, leaves something to be desired, but that’s a tradeoff you’ll have to make with most pocket-sized speakers anyway.
Suffice it to say, I think I’ve found my new favourite compact Bluetooth speaker and if you are looking for one too, then I implore you to give the X-mini Xoundbar a shot. It will not disappoint you.
Editor’s Rating: 4 / 5
- Excellent design
- Good audio quality
- Compact design makes it easy to carry
- Takes a while to charge
- Bass output could be better