It's a mark of achievement when competitors start making clones of your product. Apple's one such trendsetter, and XM-I may be another. Though definitely not in the big boys league, the Singapore-based company has blown us away over the years with its "little speakers, mighty sounds" innovative spunk. Having scored a red-dot winner with its first X-mini outing, and following this up with the X-mini Max stereo and its clever magnetic hamburger halves, it's now continuing the momentum with the X-mini II.
At first glance, generation two is incrementally larger than its pocket-size predecessor at about 2.9 ounces, though the audio boost is also markedly enhanced, thanks to a larger 40mm driver. When we tried both out on a laptop, the ramp-up in sonics was clearly audible. However, heavy beats and the larger driver caused the X-mini II to play hopscotch across the table, unlike the X-mini, though this is a minor gripe.
But what's a lot more interesting is the new buddy jack with a built-in 3.5mm audio cable that's designed to tuck away neatly into the base. XM-I CEO Ryan Lee told CNET Asia that the new feature is more modular, letting users form an almost endless daisy chain of their X-mini IIs for more volume. It's frightfully loud, all right.
In a demo where they rigged up seven speakers, it got so deafening in the Lab that our senior editor almost cried mama. We did note that linking two together will still give you mono sounds, though the bass-enhanced impact of several booming speakers made the difference moot. … Read more