Published on January 27th, 2015 | by Greg0
X-mini Clear: A Retro-Futuristic Bluetooth Speaker
As this article goes to press, we’re stuck indoors like many New Yorkers, a bit restless if appreciative of the temporary respite that a huge snowstorm can bring. No matter the term- Snowpocalypse, Juno, or SuperBlizzard2015- we’re content to watch the flakes fall from inside a warm office and apartment, settling in and staying off the streets by order of the Mayor. Netflix and Hulu certainly help make it more fun, as well as some great music- and we’ve been listening to our winter playlists non-stop over the past couple of days.
The portable and perky X-mini Clear Bluetooth Speaker has a design that is a breath of fresh air, without the windchill. From the front, it looks a bit retro in a rounded way, with copper accents lending a distinctive, classy appearance. Peek around back, though, and it’s a different story- transparent plastic shows off the guts of the unit, allowing you to watch the three separate amplifiers that power the dual 40mm ceramic drivers and an active 70mm sub for a total of 20W. Check out the bass porting, too, with nifty tubes and pump out some decent low frequencies.
Better known as the company behind some of the cute capsule speakers that we’ve seen in the past, they’ve moved into brand new territory here. But it’s a competitive space, and a pretty face can only take you so far. Beyond the obvious, though, they’ve added some built-in LEDs, which can either pulse to the music or offer some mood lighting. There’s no apt-X support (Bluetooth 3.0 only), but we had no issues connecting, and range was quite decent. The rechargeable battery can last more than six hours during wireless playback (we could get more than eight to ten), and there is a microphone as well so the X-mini Clear can serve as a speakerphone. Plus, Android users can enjoy NFC support too.
The audio quality and actual use didn’t wow us quite as much as the initial impressions of the unit though. It’s not really a weather resistant model, which reduces it’s portability somewhat, as does it’s relative vulnerability to scratching. In some others, wood adds warmth and depth to sound, and a larger base allows the low end to get extra oomph from a surface, but here we found the sound a bit cold and a little flat. The X-Mini clear is pretty directional too, with a narrower sweet spot than competitors which offer 360-degree sound. There’s good separation and surprising clarity, especially in the mids and highs, but not a ton of power. Finally, the touch controls were interesting though a bit finicky, which left us occasionally annoyed. Overall, the X-Mini Clear is definitely worth the price, a solid-feeling, fantastic-looking Bluetooth wireless speaker with plenty to like. Available now for around $199- though they are actually sold out at the moment, pre-orders are open and more should be coming soon!