Every time there is a new X-mini Capsule Speaker our expectations are raised. Our immediate thoughts are that the previous one was so good why have X-mini brought out a new version? Well, we have the very latest X-mini Capsule Speaker right here and it's the KAI2. Even before we unpack it there is an air of anticipation within our studio.
Immediately it's out the box we can see there is one evident difference with the new X-mini KAI2, and that's the addition of a flexible rubber cover for the speaker when carrying. This is a great new innovation in itself, but additionally it acts as a stand for the capsule and includes small suction pads to keep it in place - something necessary, because the output of these little speakers is great enough to vibrate them across a table. The KAI2 also has a weighted base to help stabilise it - this works and adds to the feel of quality too.
So, how does this new capsule sound? The truth. . . absolutely great! Its 2.5w output is strong and offers a dimension of sound that entirely belies its exceptionally small footprint size. It offers a deep sonorous bass along with truly vibrant mid and treble ranges. This is true of all X-minis, but we have tested the KAI2 against the previous models and somehow X-mini have genuinely improved the sound output yet again.
Functionality & Battery Life
All this sound is produced via Bluetooth, too. We can hear no evident difference other than greater volume between the mini-jack input or the Bluetooth and a fully charged battery seems to keep the speaker running well via Bluetooth for around 6 hours, or up to 10 when wired. A dual standard and mini USB charger extension wire is included in the box. The Bluetooth connectivity is quick and easy, with a simple sliding button for this, and new to the KAI2 are three separate buttons for all the usual functions - volume; track forward; track backward; pause/play/mute. These are a definite improvement over the single 'function wheel' on previous models.
New Ceramic Speaker Drivers
The secret of the clarity of sound with the newer X-minis is the ceramic 40mm speaker. For the technos out there the frequency response is 20Hz-20kHz, and the distortion is <0.3%. The speaker housing has a lovely soft-rubber feel and, as with the previous model, it includes a built-in noise-cancelling microphone, making it a great little pocket-sized speaker for carrying out conference calls, too.
Buddy-Jack & Bluetooth Dongle
As with all X-minis, you can buddy-jack connect it one X-mini to another if you want a fuller sound, but to be honest we have tried this and still find the KAI2 standing alone is quite adequate for all our uses. It adds so much sound, simply and easily, to whatever portable device we have, be it phone or tablet, that it is the only small portable speaker needed. Another great innovation new to the KAI2 is that it can be used as a Bluetooth dongle on other devices; suddenly your home stereo, headphones, radio or whatever else, becomes a wireless device to play directly from your portable library.
Added to this is the ability to protect the speaker of the KAI2 with the new pop-in cover, and the amazing rubber-type housing (available in gunmetal grey, blue, green, orange, red and purple) of the whole capsule which allows for it to be carried in one's pocket without damage or need for a separate carrying bag.
Those clever X-mini people have done it again: they have improved something which appeared just about perfect! At an anticipated price of $59 or £39.95 the Kai2 really is a well-priced and excellently engineered top-of-the range ultra-compact speaker.