There was a time when Bluetooth speakers had poor sound and cost too much. But things have improved and prices are now more reasonable. So where does the CLEAR fit in?
It’s a portable Bluetooth speaker that features three separate amplifiers, one for each of its two 40mm ceramic drivers and one for the internal 70mm subwoofer. Yes, it’s a portable 2.1 system… and it’s got flashy lights on it, too.
Sound quality is excellent. The combination of two full-range drivers and a subwoofer produce a more refined sound than the 2.0 speaker arrangement that you’ll find in many other Bluetooth speakers. Bass is deep but smooth, without ever going over the top. Mid-range is wholesome and holds its own, while the highs fizz and pop with crispness. It sounds good, then, but the size will always be a limitation – don’t expect a big sound.
Pairing your device to the speaker is as simple as setting up any other Bluetooth connection. Once paired, your phone or tablet will remember the speaker and hook up to it automatically. There’s also a 3.5mm line-in jack on the back for plugging straight into your device if you want to go wired, and the USB port will charge your phone even when running on battery power. Sadly, the NFC option for easy-pairing will go unused with Apple devices.
But the X-mini CLEAR is not without its drawbacks. For a start, it’s possibly twice the size of other popular speakers. It’s heavy too – 920g – and for a speaker that costs the best part of £170, it’s also lacking a bit of premium sheen. The transparent look has been done before, and while it can look great in the right environment – especially with its three-mode mood lighting settings – it’s still made of plastic and thus lacks that stylish edge.
This brings the cost of the package into the spotlight. While most other Bluetooth speakers out there are 2.0 systems, there are some stunning products available for under £100. The right price seems to be around £80, making £169 hard to justify. James Rivington
Sounds great for its size, but its plastic build and high asking price don’t justify a strong recommendation.