Reviews - 27 January 2012
Author: Doug Smith

Press Releases flow out of the CES Show pretty hot and heavy and it is easy to miss, or to forget about some very interesting products. One such product for me was the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker that packs a lot of features into a tiny little wireless speaker. As a matter of fact, the KAI Speaker is the first Bluetooth enabled speaker from X-mini, who has a large range of these mini speakers in the wired category. And as I wrote up in the press release, the need for a good portable speaker has become a real necessity not only for me, but for a lot of people because of all the streaming apps that are available that take advantage of the ever  increasing markets for 3G and 4G coverage. So if you are one of the many who want to improve their audio performance wirelessly, but in a small compact device, then check out the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker in another edition of Mobility Digest Review!

In the box you get more than just the speaker, with the KAI you get a very nice carrying case as well as USB to Mini USB charge cable that also has a 3.5mm audio cable built in. Also included is a couple of small little booklets, one being the instructions on how to paid the KAI as well as user manual, and the other being an appeal by XMI to help Children International. Felt that it was was worth mentioning because so few companies use their ability to reach consumers and advocate on behalf of charities. Good stuff XMI.

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IMG_1548Out of the box, the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker measures 50mm x 62mm with the resonator closed. Opening the resonator adds about another 31mm to the overall height. The weight of the KAI is 95.2b. The KAI has a rubberized coating over the plastic outer shell that makes it very grip-able as well as an anti fingerprint collector. The rubberized coating also makes it look like it is a very high quality speaker and not just any cheap plastic speaker you can pickup at a convenience store. 

With all the build quality the KAI has that I mentioned above, XMI also put a pretty decent battery in it. With it’s 550mAh battery, you can expect to get up to 8 hours of playback time and that is after you get done charging it for 2.5 hours because that is how long it takes to charge up the KAI. I thought the battery life was very good and over several days of testing I know I got 8 or more hours out of the KAI which is pretty decent in my book. With it’s USB charging, the KAI is easy to make sure it stays full of juice plugged into your computer while at work or at play.

With it’s Bluetooth compliant v2.1 + EDR A2DP Stereo capabilities, the KAI will stay connected to your device up to 33 feet. Of course that is 33 feet from from obstruction. The Bluetooth playback time suffers more than the corded time, the BT is cut in half and lasts up to 4 hours . Pairing the KAI is super easy. All you have to do is turn it in and pick up your phone and navigate to the Bluetooth setting and find the KAI listed in the found device list. Tap the KAI on that list and pairing is pretty fast and no password is required. Very painless indeed!

The speaker on the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker is pretty good for something so small. The speaker is a Magnetically Shielded 40mm driver. This is an increase over the 36mm speaker XMI was using before. The result is better sound overall. The loudspeaker output is 2.5w with a Frequency Response of 100 Hz – 18 kHz. The Signal-to-Noise ratio is ≥89dB and the Distortion is  ≤0.3%. Overall the Speaker is rich in sound and has enough punch to hear from across the room. You won’ t be thumpin’’ but it’s the best highs and lows I have heard from a speaker this small. I really enjoyed listening to the KAI while playing wide ranges of different music.

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The X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker has another very useful speaker and that is it’s built in microphone. Not only will you be able to hear a conference call or group call in great audio quality, but you will also be able to utilize the built in speaker as well! The microphone has a sensitivity of –34db. Here again too I really thought the KAI did a super job handling the usually poor connection international calls I have to make for work. This is a very handy feature for customers wanting to hook the KAI up to their smartphones. When a call comes in, all you have to do is answer it and you are hands free. It is not necessary to remove a 3.5mm cord connecting your device to a portable speaker for you to make and receive a call.

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I review a lot of gadgets and I got to tell you that the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker is one gadget I really liked and continue to not be able to put down. It is so small and compact that I can take it along anywhere with me. Of course the one thing is was missing was a lanyard which I don’t think is very necessary of there than that XMI molded in a lanyard provision in the KAI. So by now you got to be asking yourself, where di XMI get the name KAI from anyway? As it turns out, the KAI is “Fondly named after CEO Ryan Lee’s nephew, Kai, who is the first in the next generation of his family”. The only downside I have seen so far with the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker is the cost. Now granted this device comes with a lot of whistles and bells and for this reviewer is pretty darn cool, but with a US price tag of about $110.00, I think XMI may want to rethink their pricing structure some prior to launching it here. The last issue is that the KAI is not available yet. XMI is taking pre-orders and when you do, they are providing a free lanyard, something that should have been supplied with the device anyway. Knowing that Amazon will most likely get the pricing straightened out on the KAI and give consumers an avenue to purchase the KAI for a lot less money, I think this is really  device you need to consider if you are in the market for a small portable Bluetooth Speaker. The quality, sound, features really put the KAI at the top of the list for my must have list of gadgets.

PROS

  • Great sound and build quality
  • Supplied with a very nice carrying case and power USB cable
  • Easy to pair with your smartphone, tablet, or pc.

 

CONS

  • Price has got to be the biggest concern at $110.00 USD
  • No Lanyard included in package

 

Head on over to the XMI website for more information and to preorder if the X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker fits the bill for all your portable wireless audio needs.









About Author

Doug Smith

Mobility junkie who loves to share information and talk tech. Never uses the same device for long and is currently using a Motorola Droid RAZR, HTC Titan, and iPhone 4S.

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