More tales from the road : Speakers you should add to the kit.

Whether you’re editing photo’s, editing video, or just hanging out in your hotel room, nothing makes it feel better than some sweet tunes in the background. Or, with video, you may want to crank it up to make sure you caught all of the audio nuances when you shot.
Unfortunately, the built in speakers on the laptops don’t have the juice to fill the room.
Or even most of the room.

You may say” Hey, what about headphones?”. Sure, as long as you want to be tethered.

Lots of solutions out there, and more coming (HP has an $80 bluetooth solution coming in Oct.), but we checked out the smallest, and possibly the best of the current bunch, in a range of price points.

Remember, size does matter. When you travel, everything in your kit needs purpose.

So we checked out these 3:

The JamBox, X-Mini Kai, and DBest portable speakers.
One thing these also have is bluetooth, so you can use them wirelessly.
All had a pretty good battery life, from 6 hours on up, so not a real choice factor.
2 (JamBox, and X-Mini Kai) had mics built in to add the functionality of a speaker phone.

After using that function twice, we realized that it wasn’t the strong suit of either, so that was taken out of the equation.

The test song was Missy Elliot “Get Ur Freak on”.
Don’t judge.

– these folks went with the same round squished ball look of X-Mini, except they eschewed the pop-up feature that adds a bass effect.
Simple controls (on-off),a USB mini connector input, this unit comes packed in a black soft pouch with an all-in-one cable that lets you charge, and connect to a device via mini plug.
Overall, the volume level was on par with the X-Mini, but it was mainly in the high frequency.
In other words, depending on your music tastes, the lack of bass is replaced by higher volume. A little tinny, but acceptable.
Price : about $50.00

– the from function of this rectangular unit is beautiful. When you turn it on and connect, you can be greeted by a variety of voices. We went with the English, Female, secret agent.
With a rubberized top and bottom and textured metal sides, it looks good anywhere.
The sound is full and rich, with the entire range covered. No distortion, and warm comfortable bass.
It come with a magnetized sleeve, wall charger and mini-USB cable to connect direct to your device.
The volume was still a bit lacking, and as we said, the speaker phone functionality makes you sound like you are in a well.
At about $175. you have an expensive unit, but terrific sound quality.

X-mini KAI
– these folks originated the capsule design and, honestly, still hold the crown for overall quality of sound, value, size, etc.
They were the first with the pop-up center tube to increase your bass response. (shown expanded. It collapses to the same size as the DBest) There are controls for power, bluetooth, or straight audio in, plus a volume control and built in mic.
The units can be daisy chained, for more juice.
Come packed in a soft pouch with the charging cable. Additionally,a shorter,built-in cable to plug into your device, is neatly wrapped around the bottom of the unit and sits securely, in a cable track.
Careful about the imitators; lots out there, don’t be fooled. the speakers out of this company sound the best.
About $67.00
and if you don’t care about bluetooth, the straight wired model,X-Mini II ,
is about $20. on Amazon.

Winner of this round is X-Mini! size,price,quality all add up to a great value.

It’s going to be a crowded category, and more people are connecting via bluetooth.
We still feel that the wired connection gives the best performance in the size category, but if you’ve ever heard the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin, you know it can be great,

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