Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200 review: A jumbo AirPlay speaker with a less sizable sound

The Minx app does let you configure the Internet radio preset buttons on the top. The app works reasonably well. You can browse by the typical categories like genre and location, though it's much easier to find something worth listening to if you know a station to search for. Unfortunately, only "true" Internet radio stations can be set as presets, so there's no way to program a button to play a Pandora, Spotify, or Rdio stream, for instance.

Features: AirPlay and Bluetooth, but no battery
The Minx Air 200 is one of the more flexible speakers in this price range thanks to its supporting both Bluetooth and AirPlay. Bluetooth allows it to wirelessly stream from the majority of smartphones and tablets on the market, albeit with (theoretically) compromised sound quality. AirPlay lets iOS devices stream without any audio compression, although it requires the Minx Air 200 and the iOS device to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

This flexibility can be useful even if you're an iOS-only household. AirPlay might work better in your home, but Bluetooth allows you to quickly start streaming in other locations where you might not have a Wi-Fi network to connect to.

Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200
Sarah Tew/CNET

Ports on the back are as limited as you'd expect from a wireless speaker: Ethernet, minijack, and analog input. That should be enough for pretty much every purpose, especially considering its wireless support. There's also a USB-like port, but it's labeled "Service" -- in other words, don't expect to connect your iPod or phone to this speaker, for charging or for music.

Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200
Sarah Tew/CNET

The back also features a convenient handle, which ironically highlights one of the Minx's shortcomings; it's not a portable speaker. The system is just small enough that you can imagine dragging it outside for patio duty, but there's no built-in battery, so it always needs to be plugged in.

Sound quality: Good, but not $600 good
I had the Minx Air 200 set up directly next to the Klipsch KMC 3 and Peachtree Audio Deepblue for listening tests, and while it held its own, the sound was thinner than you'd expect considering the price.

The punishing bass line from Queens of the Stone Age's "Medication" packed a punch on the KMC 3, but on the Minx Air 200 sounded noticeably less powerful. Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" sounded alive and aggressive on the Deepblue, but the Minx Air 200 just couldn't muster the same kind of energy. The Minx Air 200 certainly stacks up better than the Minx Air 100 did compared with the same speakers, but it still can't rock out on harder music.

Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200
Sarah Tew/CNET

The Minx Air 200 fared better with jazz and softer tunes. Thelonious Monk's "Brilliant Corners" had a nicely balanced sound, although switching back between the two other speakers revealed them to have a fuller sound. It's not the kind of difference you'd notice without direct comparisons, though, as the Minx Air 200 sounds pretty good in isolation.

The real problem is that both the KMC 3 and the Deepblue are significantly less expensive and the Minx Air 200 doesn't obviously trump them in sound. If you care enough about audio quality to spend $600 on a wireless speaker, you're going to be disappointed to know you can get better sound at a fraction of the price.

But like the smaller Minx Air 100, the Air 200's strength is creating a more laid-back sound that doesn't demand your attention, so if you're interested mostly in background tunes, the Minx may be a good fit.

Conclusion: Pretty, but not worth the price
On its own, the Minx Air 200 is an overall solid package, but it loses a lot of its luster once you consider its price and the performance of some of its competitors. If you're looking for a mellow speaker and don't mind paying for it, the Minx Air 200 is worth checking out; otherwise the alternatives generally offer a better value.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200

Part Number: MINXAIR200
MSRP: $599.00 Low Price: $499.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Wireless Technology AirPlay
    Bluetooth
    Ethernet
  • Connectivity Technology Wired
    Wireless
  • Speaker Type AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker