Harman Kardon Esquire Mini
A pocket-size Blueooth speaker that produces a surprisingly big sound
Harman Kardon says the Esquire Mini is one of the world’s slimmest portable speakers, and it’s certainly hard to argue with that. The Esquire Mini measures just 24mm thick, 140mm long and 75mm wide – that’s thicker than the iPhone 6 Plus, but slightly shorter and narrower. You can slip it into a jacket pocket without any trouble, and it’ll get lost in a decent size backpack or messenger bag.
At £129.99, it’s expensive, but no corners have been cut in terms of either design or features. Available in black, white and brown the Esquire Mini is smart, with a brushed aluminium frame and soft leather on the back panel. There’s a small stand that folds out of the back, and the speaker also includes two noisecancelling microphones so you can use it for hands-free calls as well.
The Esquire Mini uses Bluetooth for wireless connectivity, but there’s also a 3.5mm audio connector. Its rechargeable battery should provide about eight hours of music playback, and there’s also a USB port on the side so you can top up your iPhone in an emergency.
The drawback with thin speakers is they tend to produce a thin sound, but the Esquire Mini surprised us with its sound quality. The bass is firm enough to do justice to dance tracks, and the overall tone is warm and detailed and works well with gentle acoustic tracks too. The only complaint is the treble can get a bit harsh at higher volumes. Fortunately, its 8W output is loud enough that you can leave the volume at 50-60%.
It’s not cheap, but the Esquire Mini is still the best pocket-size speaker we've heard so far, and will be a good choice if you need a portable speaker to take on holiday or carry around in a backpack. Cliff Joseph
The Esquire Mini is expensive, but this ultra-portable speaker delivers the goods on sound quality and battery life.