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X-Mini Max II review: X-Mini Max II

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The Good Stereo Sound. Long lasting battery. Compact travel design.

The Bad The curse of the custom cable strikes again. Still not "unbelievably" loud.

The Bottom Line The X-Mini Max II offers better audio quality than the mono-only X-Mini II capsules, but they're still hampered by odd cabling choices.

8.4 Overall

Review Sections

Design

Like the X-Mini II Capsule speakers we recently reviewed, the X-Mini Max II's design is quite eye catching. Unlike the capsules, the Max II at first resembles an egg, and it's an egg you've got to crack apart to get the sound oozing out. Magnets hold the two halves of these stereo speakers together for transport, and a small bag is also provided for carrying purposes. Once separated, like the X-Mini capsules, the two speakers can then be twisted out, accordion style to accentuate bass tones slightly.

Features

The two X-Mini Max II speakers weigh in at 178g with a claimed audio output of 2.5W. Like the capsules, they're claimed to be "unbelievably loud", but that's hardly true of 2.5W output. They also offer X-Mini's "Buddy Jack" system which allows you to daisy chain multiple units together for yet more output volume.

Performance

When we reviewed the X-Mini II capsules, we bemoaned the use of a fixed audio cable for primary audio output and a custom cable for backup audio output. In the case of the X-Mini Max II, we've got good news and bad news. Firstly, on the good news front, there's no fixed cable. That's because the bad news is that the X-Mini Max II relies entirely on a very complex custom cable. At one end sits a USB A-type plug for charging and a 3.5mm jack for audio input. On the other end of the cable are two mini-USB plugs for connecting the two speakers together. We didn't struggle to connect everything up per se, but a cable that long is a natural tangle magnet, and even more so than the X-Mini Capsules, if you lose or break the cable, you're going to own a couple of attractive looking paper weights.

Two speakers bring with them the promise of stereo separation for audio and so it wasn't surprising to us that the audio quality on offer with the X-Mini Max II speakers was noticeably better than the mono-only effect of the X-Mini capsules. They still don't live up to the hype of being "unbelievably" loud, but they're adequate for travellers in hotel rooms, for example to fill space.

Conclusion

The X-Mini Max II speakers aren't that much more expensive than the standard X-Mini Capsules, but the audio quality is markedly better in a unit that's not that much bigger. We'd prefer it if standard 3.5mm cables were used throughout as they're far easier to replace if something breaks, but that caveat aside, these are a fine set of portable speakers.

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