Tiny speaker punches above its weight

The second version of X-Mini's Kai features a new ceramic driver for better sound, and improved battery life.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low
3 min read

Aloysius Low/CNET

X-Mini has made its name with a line of small portable speakers that produce an impressive amount of bass for such tiny devices. The Singaporean company's latest Kai 2 Capsule Speaker is no different.

The sequel to the previous Kai, the Kai 2 adds enhancements previously found in its premium Max range, such as a ceramic driver for better sound quality and a weighted base for extra stability. Battery life has also been greatly improved, with 18 hours compared to the 8 hours of the Kai.

I spent some time trying out the new Kai 2 and came away impressed. I'm well acquainted with X-Mini speakers and other similar products, and these portable audio devices have always shone for the quality of their sound considering the ridiculously small form factor.

All I needed to get up and running was to twist the top to let the resonator pop up, flick the power switch, plug in the built-in 3.5mm audio cable and the Kai 2 started pumping out pretty good sound.

Trebles were crisp and clear, while bass was solid all around. While I was initially worried that the powerful bass would cause the speaker to vibrate (and thus add rattling noises), my worries were unfounded.

The weighted base kept the speaker stable and I could barely hear any extra rattling from the vibrating speaker when large thumping bass played. X-Mini has also added a rubber base with suction cups that you can attach to the bottom of the speaker to further mitigate this issue.

The rubber base is stored on the top of the Kai 2. Aloysius Low/CNET

I discovered you didn't really need to do so, since it sounds fine as it is, but good on X-Mini for adding this extra bit. When not in use, the rubber base is stored on top of the speaker as a cap.

One thing I didn't like was the fact that the suction cups didn't seem to adhere very well to the bottom. After changing the orientation of the rubber though, I finally got it to attach firmly. It could be that my unit was a pre-production model though, and not all the kinks have been worked out.

The Kai 2 claims an 18-hour battery life on normal usage, but only 10 hours when using Bluetooth. Given the option, I recommend using the audio cable, or if that's too short, you can use a longer 3.5mm audio cable to connect to the Kai 2 -- its 3.5mm audio jack serves as an in or out port.

Furthermore, audio quality is worse when using Bluetooth. The bass seems to have vanished and volume seems to be much lower. I really do recommend keeping the speaker connected via cable for the best experience.

The Kai2 power switch can be toggled between Bluetooth or wired. Aloysius Low/CNET

Lastly, for those thinking of using the Kai 2 as a conference call device, the good news is that X-Mini has added a noise-cancelling microphone to the speaker as well.

The Kai 2 is set to debut soon with a retail price of $59 (which converts to around £35 or AU$62) at X-Mini's online store, which ships globally.

June26, 3.00 a.m.: Updated with changes to battery life based on new information from X-Mini.