X-Mini Minimax capsule speakers

Chances are you've got an MP3 player, but what about a set of speakers to go with it? The makers of the Minimax capsule speaker system think they have the answer for a compact, but loud offering. We get listening to find out.

About the size of an airline Coke can, the speaker system at first glance looks anything but. It's not until you start to prepare the speakers for use that you realise that not only do you get two speakers rather than just the one, but that the system expands to look very different (see images, but think Bumble Bee in Transformers).

A quick separation movement - they are held together by magnets, and then an unlocking procedure reveals two speakers, complete with a concertina like design, created to give you more "sound" from what is clearly a small package.

Powered by a battery that promises and delivers 10-hours use from a 2-hour charge, the two speakers are connected via a single cable that also offers a recharging dongle (via USB) and a 3.5mm jack with volume control.

The cable, which comes with cable tidy thingamabob is a bit of a bundle to be honest. We can see why the makers have done it, but it is still scrappy compared to the compactness of the speakers - luckily the unit ships with a cloth bag to keep it all in.

Once you're set-up all that is left to do is connect it to a device that makes music and turn it on. A lighting system lets you know whether you've got power or it needs charging and the cable is long enough to give you some space between the two speakers. Laptop users will be pleased to see that there is enough room to allow you to position them either side of your monitor.

Sound, considering the device is small and cheap, is very impressive. We played a number of tracks on an iPod touch, laptop, and BlackBerry Storm and were very happy with the performance. This is certainly loud enough to share and enjoy at a picnic or more likely a hotel room.

Whether it was a spot of Wagner or Death Cab for Cutie the little speakers coped very well. How? Well the makers say that it's down to a system called BXS, which stands for Bass Xpansion System. Whatever it's called and however it's spelt (we always thought that there was an e in expansion) the important thing is that it works and works well.

Verdict

When the X-Minimax speakers landed on our desk (thanks to an overzealous reviews editor) the first impression was that at £30 and at such a small size the X-Mini speakers would be bound to be a disappointment.

However we are pleased to say that this is one case where you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. We are mightily impressed by the speakers, enough so, that we've packed them for our next trip.

Grumbles? Well those cables are a mess and the lack of charging them any other way than USB might put you off, but it seems an impressive sound can come in a small package.