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Music has a way of making travel memories sweeter. Until technology advances to the point of improving the built-in speakers on Smartphones and tablets, your best bet is to look for a portable speaker. To the packing light traveller, speakers are a luxury most of us are unwilling to contemplate. But, what if you could find an audio gem claiming as much space and weight as your thumb? Would you give it a second look? If so, take a look at the X-Mini WE Micro Portable NFC Bluetooth Speaker (a.k.a. X-mini Thumb Speaker). It may well be the best portable travel speaker for packing light travellers.

Big things come in small packages

This little baby is one of the smallest speakers on the market. It measures just 48 mm x 40 mm (1.9 in x 1.6 in), is shorter and slightly wider than my thumb, and weighs just 48 g (1.7 oz). It’s portable and durable enough to carry in a pocket.

X-mini-Thumb-Speaker

Its size relative to the sound it produces is astounding. While it might not meet the exacting specifications of hardcore audiophiles, compared to the audio quality of your device, it’s way superior. In fact, I experienced a “wow factor” the first time hearing what it was capable of. It packs a huge punch. X-Mini’s tag line “Sound Beyond Size” is apt.

 Buyer beware

X-mini warns about knock-offs, so it’s wise to buy from reputable sellers. The company doesn’t sell on e-Bay, or work with any discount sites or Groupon-type websites or retail channels. If you purchase any X-mini products from Amazon, only those fulfilled by Amazon directly (and not sold by other sellers in the marketplace) are genuine articles supported by the X-mini warranty.

 Set up is easy

Your cube-shaped package will contain some basic instructions, a strap for the speaker, a sticker (I ♥ X-mini), and a cable with three connections. One is for USB charging, another is a micro-USB to slide into the speaker for charging, and an audio jack slips into the slot on your device. All three are attached to each other, and a serviceable plastic wrapping channel.

  • Charge via USB in the OFF position. When the red light stops blinking, it’s fully charged.
  • If you’ll be using the Bluetooth feature, pair the speaker with your phone and/or tablet. Otherwise, connect the speaker to your device using the audio cable.
  • Flip off the protective rubber cap on top of the speaker and clip it to the base. I couldn’t determine if the rubber foot improves the sound, but it does provide better contact with the surface on which it’s resting.

X-mini-protective-cover

  • Start with the volume on low and gradually increase it until you achieve the right balance between volume and sound quality.
  • For troubleshooting, visit http://x-mini.com/support.

But…

My only regret with this little powerhouse is that the bass is lacking. Whenever I find myself fixating on this deficit, I switch to the tinny speaker on my device for a few seconds, then back to the X-mini for all to be right in my little place in the universe.

Check it out. I think its portability and design more than makes up for what it lacks in superb sound quality.

Do you travel with a portable speaker? What do you have, and what do you like about it?

 

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