I’m sent a lot of tech products on spec for review, some of which turn out to be brilliant, but I always take more pride in the hidden gems I hunt down myself. I spotted this extraordinary, tiny Bluetooth stereo speaker, the X-mini Xoundbar, in the US, immediately thought it would be ideal for holidays and lightly packed weekend trips due to its comically small size – it’s 11.9cm x 4.6cm x 2.2cm and weighs 128g – and bought it out of curiosity just to hear if it worked.
The answer is, incredibly well, considering it’s a genuine twin three-watt amplifier-powered stereo speaker that doesn’t only fit in a pocket, but could get lost in one. It’s also properly loud. I used it on the US trip to play Radio 4 in my hotel bathrooms and I could hear it clearly and in rather nice quality even over the noise of the shower. It was also fine with music; sure, you won’t die of bass overload, but it handles undemanding music amply. The Xoundbar is splashproof-certified, so suitable for poolside use too, and gives a little short of five hours’ life on a charge. It is an unusual product and at a silly price. Now I’d love to see the likes of Sony or Bang & Olufsen try something similar.