PTG-XminicapsuleHearing is believing. And one listen to the latest X-mini portable speakers from Xmi convinced me, as the holidays approach, that good things do come in small packages.

Using a standard audio plug, these versatile speakers can plug into MP3 players and many brands of music-ready cell phones. A perfect size for traveling, they are powered by batteries that are recharged through a USB port. And your friends can bring along their X-minis and chain them together for even bigger sound.

In fact, while doing some side-by-side testing with a big-name manufacturer’s larger, powered speakers on one of my computers, my wife told me to switch back to the X-mini because it sounded better.

The smallest in the lineup, the X-mini Capsule Speaker, second generation, is ball-shaped and easily fits into the palm of your hand at less than two-and-a-half inches (60 mm) in diameter. With a slight twist, it expands slightly with a resonator that improves the frequency response.

This mono speaker will easily clobber any built-in speaker I’ve ever heard on an iPod, cell phone or laptop. It holds its own or even surpasses much larger speakers in a well-designed, easy-to-carry package. The built-in audio cable tucks neatly into the base of the speaker, so there’s no worry about dangling or lost wires.

Compared to the first generation X-mini Capsule Speaker, the new version contains a larger driver for better frequency response and triple the battery life. And the $29.99 price is easy on the budget.

This speaker really saved the day while I was making a video presentation recently to a small group. We were watching it on a DVD player but needed to fast forward and could not find the remote control. So I quickly fired up the laptop and played it from there. The built-in speakers on the laptop weren’t loud enough and sounded tinny, anyway—so I plugged in the X-mini and it was perfect!

PTG-XminiMaxIIIf you’re looking for stereo separation, X-mini recently introduced the MAX II portable speakers. The MAX II consists of two speakers, each slightly over 2.5 inches in diameter (66 mm) with the resonator closed. The speakers join together magnetically in an egg-shaped package for easy carrying.

Just like the one-speaker version, the MAX II speakers twist and expand, with the resonator works like a sub-woofer for boosting the bass. The results are impressive—much better than I would have expected on speakers this size. If you want even more bass, most music playback programs have equalization settings which can tweak the sound to your preferences.

These mini speakers can easily fill a large room with clean, transparent audio without the distortion and tinny sound that plague other small speakers.

The batteries on the Capsule Speaker and Max II last 11-12 hours between charges. The retail price for the Max II set is $59.

The X-mini products have won international design awards and the manufacturer, Xmi Pte Limited in Singapore, is also hinting about more good things to come. Xmi officials say the company is committed to bringing the “very latest wave” of multimedia products to the world market.

These mini speakers make a mighty sound. And if that’s any indication of what’s to come from Xmi, we have a lot to look forward to in the future.

Get the X-mini Capsule Speaker at Amazon