Harman Kar­don Esquire Mini

A pocket-size Blueooth speaker that pro­duces a sur­pris­ingly big sound

Mac Format - - RATED - Man­u­fac­turer Har­mon Kar­don, har­mankar­don.co.uk Blue­tooth, 3.5mm line-in 180Hz-20KHz

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.

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