Friday, 26 February 2010

Product Reviews - X-Mini Travel Speakers and the essential Power Monkey


Something most people don't know about me, but which my younger (21 year old) son recognizes instantly when he describes me as a 'gadget freak' - charmingly of course - is that, along with my love of Trish McEvoy planners, which are a kind of 'gadget' I suppose, Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses, Fendi handbags (and the list goes on and on), I love clever, tiny gadgets that can go with me everywhere, to London, Paris or NY, and keep me going so that I never run out of charge for my Blackberry or Nano and can always listen to music loudly in any room in any house or hotel.

We've all become more and more dependent on our mobiles to keep our every day lives on track, and now to keep us up to date with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, surfing the web, shopping online and more. Sit on any train and at least 70% of the people in the same carriage as you will be on their iPhones, Blackberrys (and others) in some way, shape or form. Is this good? I have my doubts, however I'm with them all, pretty well all the time.

Two of my essentials, which quite often stop people in their tracks, are the Power Monkey, for charging phones on the go, and my X-mini speakers which totally bear out their mission statement of sound without size. If you didn't already know about these here's what you need.

The Power Monkey is very small, very light, doesn't take batteries (do not, whatever you do, buy one that does), you charge it up at home, slip it in your bag (I put mine in a glasses case so that it doesn't turn itself on by mistake which they can do) and voila - you're up in town all day, away for a night and all you have to do is plug it into your phone wherever you are and you have at least one, if not more, full charges. Me being me, I have two, so that I'm never without one fully charged. I think maybe I've been talking about this too much because the price seems to have gone up, so shop around - I paid around £18 for mine.

Oh dear! I now see they've brought them out in a whole range of colours. Hmmmm? No, I'll have to stick to my silver ones for now. Very tempting though, if you're me......

My second 'I can't live without' piece of kit, and recently updated, is/are my award winning XMI X-Mini Max portable speakers. When I say mini I mean mini. They clip together to form a giant egg, you charge them up (they last, they say, for up to 12 hours, although I haven't tested them quite that long) and create a really great sound. These are not your average tinny mini speakers, but contain a bass expansion system far above what you'd expect from their size.

My horrible son has tried to steal these several times (and has lost the cable for my original set) so I now have them in brand new red and whatever you want to play on them, from opera and classical music, which I normally do, to something I can't stand, which he normally does, you will be amazed at the combination of size and portability. Minimum Size, Maximum Sound is the mission statement here, and they definitely deliver both.

Once you've invested in these you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. And now shall I tell you about the Logitech speaker system/sub woofer I bought for listening at my desk? No, enough and I'll save that for next time.

By the way, if I sound like a complete nightmare to have to stay or in the next hotel room I do have headphones, I hate being disturbed by other people's music too!