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Speaker – It’s so small yet so loud

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Speaker – It’s so small yet so loud

Speaker, The speaker market for the PC and portable media devices is huge. Just go to any PC shop and you will find speakers in any shape and size, especially for MP3 players and mobile phones. These minispeakers usually run on AA or AAA batteries and offer a louder, if not acceptable, sound source alternative, depending on the budget.

Personally, I want a speaker with both style and performance. XMI’s X-Mini II mini-speaker, or capsule speaker as the company calls it, is more than meets the eye. At 60 millimetres by 60mm by 40mm when closed, it’s just the size of an egg. But its specifications claim 1.9 watts of audio enjoyment; some Web sites say 2.5W. Either case, it is louder than the speakers on your MP3 player or laptop.

Music is piped to the X-Mini II through its 3.5mm audio cable or mini-USB charging cable with splits into USB and a 3.5mm cable. It’s not a USB device, so no audio will be sent through the USB connector, but you can charge and play music on the speaker at the same time.

Note that the X-Mini II is a mono speaker and not a stereo speaker. I tested it on my Sansa Clip, Samsung T9 and Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). The verdict? It’s an honest speaker – it reproduced all my tunes with amazing clarity.

The X-Mini II reproduced the Sansa’s trademark true-to-source music quality without much fuss while the Samsung’s heavier bass could be heard thumping away. But the PSP had a weaker output, the softest among the three.

The X-Mini II lasted for 8.5 hours at full volume on my Sansa – 30 minutes more than claimed on the specifications sheet. This is more than enough to get you through a busy workday. And since you can play it while still charging, it should have enough juice to get you home.

Before wrapping up, some might ask: Just how loud is the X-Mini II? Well, it can easily fill a 10-metre-by-10m room at full volume. And if your friend happens to bring his X-Mini II along, you can use the BuddyJack and hook up both speakers and blast the walls down.

Remember, they are mono speakers. You can get a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable and add two RCA-to-3.5mm adapters to get two X-Mini II speakers to play in stereo. But the X-Mini II is designed to be a mono speaker. From testing, two X-Mini IIs in a stereo setup tended to lose clarity when compared to speakers just using the Buddy system.

In a nutshell, if you want an external mini-speaker system that is easy to carry around and sounds great, the X-Mini II should fit the bill. It’s small enough that its carry pouch can hold the extra USB cable and my Sansa Clip, and loud enough that people in a PC shop within 3m of it could not hear themselves speak.
Product: X-Mini II
Manufacturer: XMI
Enquiries: XMI Pte Ltd (02-62242595)
Price: RM138

Specifications
Dimensions: 60mm by 60mm by 40mm (when closed)
Weight: 83g
Speaker output: 1.9W
Power ratings: 1.7W
Signal-to-noise: 80dB
Frequency response: 100Hz to 20KHz
Battery capacity: Eight hours
Battery charging time: 2.5 hours on 5V

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Republicans begin 2012 US election

Republicans begin 2012 US election

 

Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum led in preliminary results, but the race remains too close to call with votes held in more than 1,700 caucuses.

Six Republican contenders spent Tuesday making frantic final appeals to voters.

The caucus meetings are the first time voters have a say in the race to face Democratic President Barack Obama in November’s general election.

Tuesday evening’s contest launches months of caucuses and primary elections in 50 states, Washington DC and other territories, culminating in the Republican National Convention in August where the party nominee will be formally anointed.
About 120,000 voters gathered at more than 1,700 fire stations, schools, public buildings and private homes ahead of the official 20:00 EST (01:00 GMT) start to the voting.

An Associated Press poll of voters ahead of the start of the caucus start confirmed that former Massachusetts Governor Romney, Texas Congressman Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum formed the top tier of candidates.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry are also in the race. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is on the ballot, but did not campaign in Iowa.

Preliminary exit poll results from ABC News indicated independent voters – who are allowed to register as Republicans and participate in the caucuses – had voted heavily in favour of Mr Paul.
Evangelical Christians were split between Mr Santorum and Mr Paul, and the half of caucus-goers describing themselves as “very conservative” were tilting to Mr Santorum.

Also, ABC’s exit poll showed Mr Romney doing well among older voters – a significant chunk of the electorate.
Small town affairs

In the caucuses, voters are allowed to speak on behalf of the candidates they support, followed by a vote, the results of which are transmitted on to the media and to the state Republican party.

Many of the caucuses are tiny affairs held in small towns in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

In Dawson, fewer than 20 voters gathered at a fire station to hold a caucus amid the fire trucks, reports BBC North America Editor Mark Mardell.

A hall in a school in Des Moines was overflowing with caucus goers, reports the BBC’s Steve Kingstone.

“It’s hard to spot a Bachmann fan, but other candidates all have support here,” he reports.

Iowa is not expected to settle the contest – John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee in 2008, came fourth in the state’s caucuses that year – but it will help shape the race for the White House.

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