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Ears-on with the Nakamichi My Mini Plus speaker

The Nakamichi My Mini Plus is a diminutive portable speaker that pumps out a decent amount of sound for its size. Read on for Crave Asia's ears-on assessment.

The My Mini Plus (left) next to the X-mini KAI, a Bluetooth speaker of a similar size. Timothy Fernandez/CNET Asia

If you love taking your music on the road but don't want to pay a premium for a portable Bluetooth speaker, wired speakers, such as the My Mini Plus from Nakamichi, are a great option. Sure, tiny speakers won't give the highest musical fidelity, but technological advancements have made speaker drivers, amplifiers, and rechargeable batteries small enough to fit into itty-bitty enclosures.

The My Mini Plus from Japanese lifestyle audio company Nakamichi is one of the more recent portable speakers, and is shaped in a perfect cube that measures about 2 inches all around. It also comes in a choice of eight colors and weighs a bit less than the Apple iPhone 4S.

The controls are hidden underneath the speaker. Timothy Fernandez/CNET Asia

Design and features
Inside, there's a single full-range driver, as well as a microSD card reader and FM radio. Compared with similarly diminutive offerings from Singapore-based company XMI, the Nakamichi speaker provides slightly better bang for your buck.

The speaker cube feels quite solid, but remains lightweight at about 4.9 ounces. On its underside are some buttons--play/pause, skip tracks, and adjust volume--that allow you to control playback from a microSD card. Coupled with the headphone jack on the side, the My Mini Plus can also serve as a slightly bulky MP3 player.

If you're connecting an external source, you're stuck with a proprietary mini-USB to full-USB/3.5mm stereo mini-jack cable. This cable also lets you charge the device and even serves as an antenna for the in-built FM radio, so you will want to keep it handy.

A proprietary cable is provided to connect the My Mini Plus to a stereo minijack or to recharge it via USB. Timothy Fernandez/CNET Asia

We listened to the Mini Plus with it plugged into our iPhone and found the sound to be quite good. We're not talking about great fidelity here, but the speaker did pump out somewhat accurate treble and acceptably deep bass--for its size, that is.

However, to appreciate the full dynamic range of your music, the volume needs to be pumped up close to its maximum. If you're fussier about overall audio quality, you'd be better off with larger, more expensive Bluetooth speakers, such as the Mini Boombox by Logitech or Jawbone's Jambox.

Like many of these smaller speakers, the My Mini Plus sounds bigger than it is. You could get it to sound like a pair of entry-level multimedia speakers with the right music and placement within the room.

At its fairly reasonable $56 price point, Nakamichi's little speaker is affordable enough for what it's capable of. Adding about $32 to your budget will get you a Bluetooth speaker such as the Mini Boombox, while XMI's entry-level X-mini II wired speaker is about $40. However, if you require an FM radio and microSD card reader in the same package, the My Mini Plus would be the best option.

(Source: Crave Asia)