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XM-I X-Mini capsule travel speakers

Small, cheap and the sound's not at all bad

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Review Ask most people what they look for in a pair of travel speakers and they are likely to say they want something small and cheap but which nonetheless sounds like the stacks at Donnington.

Once you take them out of the plastic tube they come in, it's hard not to be more than a little impressed with XM-I's X-Minimax active “capsule speakers”. What you get are two small dome speakers each weighing 52g and measuring 52 x 52 x 35mm. Give the top half of either speaker a twist and it springs up to 46mm tall due to the patented "Bass Expansion System" - basically a plastic concertina-like affair that when open apparently “mimics the resonance of a sub-woofer”.

XM-I X-Minimax capsule travel speakers

XM-I's X-Minimax: giant ear plugs for your desk

The two speakers are tethered together by a mini-USB cable with a second cable branching off from one end of the tether with both a USB and 3.5mm audio jack at the end. This second cable has a rather ferocious spring loaded coil in the middle. On the plus side, this gives 70cm of easily stored cable; on the downside, on a couple of occasions we inadvertently nudged it and it coiled shut sending speakers shooting across our desk in a rather disconcerting manner.

The USB cable only acts as a power source for the rechargeable batteries in each speaker so if your computer's USB port and headphones jack are too far away from each other, as they are on our Dell Inspiron, you can't charge them up and use them with your PC at the same time without a 3.5mm extension cable of some sort.

So, how do the X-Minimax speakers match up to the travel speaker Holy Trinity of small, cheap and LOUD?

To start with they're not going to break the bank. At £30 a pair, we're talking about a pretty disposable item, nothing that's going to bring your world crashing down if you leave them in a hotel room. An 'oh, bugger' moment, sure, but nothing disastrous.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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