Review: Exspect Pop-up Travel Speaker, USB & Rechargeable

by Klaus on February 27, 2010

in Reviews

I don’t usually do a lot of hardware reviews on this site, as much as I would like to, at least, so here’s one of my latest acquisitions.

It was sitting there in the store window as I went to purchase my Apple Magic Mouse (which I sold again the day after for half the price…), and I’ve been thinking of getting a small battery-driven speaker for my iPhone. Just to try it out, I guess.

This one, Exspect USB pop-up speaker, was listed at €15 ($20), so it’s rather cheap and also quite small (50x55mm). It has a 3.5mm jack input so it will fit pretty much anything you can throw at it. It’s powered by an internal li-ion battery which recharges via USB in around 2-4 hours, as I understand.

It comes with 2 cables, a short 3.5mm jack cable and a USB cable to charge it with. It’s a really simple device, having just 1 button with three functions: Off, Volume #1 and Volume #2. It’s a 2 tier volume control.

For you audio geeks out there, the frequency response is 100Hz-20KHz and 2.4W RMS power. I don’t know much about these numbers, but at least now you know.

So how is it? Well, compared to the built-in MacBook Pro speakers, it’s not worth much. But I didn’t buy it to function as a desktop speaker either. Compared to the iPhone, it sure does a better job at signing my tunes than the built-in iPhone speaker does. Sometimes I hear the speaker crackle a bit, but only in between songs or when something is not playing. Why, I don’t know. Maybe there’s a bad connection in the rather poor 3.5mm cable?

I don’t know for how long the battery will last, but I’ve been running it three nights in a row at a total of maybe 8-10 hours now, and no indication yet whether or not it needs a recharge. There’s only one light, a blue LED, which is on when the speaker is on. I don’t know if the blue light has other functions than that.

Oh yeah, it smells funny too. When smelling the speaker (don’t ask me why I put my nose so close to it that I could smell it!), I noticed this “electronic smell”, you know? Not as bad as when you blew up the power supply for your 50watt CB radio amplifier back in the 90’s, though.

Rating:

I’m rating it 3 out of 5 apples. On the plus side, it’s small, seems to hold a charge pretty well, it’s cheap and it does sound better than most cellphone speakers. On the bad side, the build quality doesn’t seem too good, the cable quality seems extremely low and overall quality is questionable. It’s also very prone to cellphone signals, so don’t keep it too close to your phone or your music will have funny noises every now and then.

Alternatives

Knowing what I now know about the Exspect USB 3.5mm pop-up speaker, I would probably have went with either the Sony Compact and Slim Travel Speaker for iPod and MP3 Players at $22 or the perhaps even better choice, Altec Lansing iM-237 Orbit Ultraportable Speaker for MP3 Players at $28.

By the way – I shot all the Exspect speaker pictures myself with my Nikon D5000 and SB-600 flash. It took almost a 100 pictures and the 4 pictures above were the ones that came out best. I know, I know, I put a lot of effort into a 500 word review of a $20 product – but that’s just me 🙂

Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Palabuzz March 1, 2010 at 01:30

It is still working?

I think that it only normal. Some of my appliances have that smell when they are overheated but they are still working.
.-= Palabuzz´s last blog ..Pinoy Big Brother Teen edition 3 Audition Schedule =-.

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Safari Racheal May 28, 2010 at 11:52

I must say that this new technology is great,hopefully will have to purchase one since its easy to carry and cheap.Thanks for the information.

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Owner June 20, 2010 at 22:29

i got one of these today, haven’t tried it out yet tho. but lookin on amazon and there is a better sounding, more popular version called the xmi x-mini II which kinda makes me think i got the wrong 1. but this is great and pocket sized

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Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com June 22, 2010 at 06:45

That’s what I got to review yesterday. But it looks “exactly” the same as the one posted here. So I guess the x-mini is the real deal and this one is a cheaper version of it?
Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com recently posted… Dyson Air Multiplier grows bigger and taller

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Klaus @ TechPatio June 22, 2010 at 09:16

That’s possible 🙂 If you like the X-mini more than I liked this one, then yours is probably the real deal.
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Owner June 20, 2010 at 22:40

sorry this is a piece of shit, tried to put the charger in and the metal inside bent so now its useless.

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Danay October 22, 2011 at 07:53

I actually just bought one of these and I love it so far! Outstanding sound quality for such a tiny thing and it was only $10 for me here in Canada. The review was helpful; one question- how did you avoid getting harsh shadows in the pictures since you were using a flash at close range?

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Klaus October 26, 2011 at 08:17

I’m glad it could help, Danay. As for the flash, I didn’t actually avoid all shadows on these photos, it could have been much better, but I used what I had at the time and what my knowledge allowed me to do. As I recall, I probably just shot the flash straight into the ceiling, which is white, and let it bounce back down on the table, which is also white. Then I’d put one or two pieces of white cardboard or similar, at an angle, next to the product, to kinda throw a little bit of light into the shadows underneath the product, so help lift the shadows a bit more.
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Danay October 26, 2011 at 08:34

Thank you for getting back to me! I know it’s a strange question for a tech review but the photographer in me had to ask . And from what I can see the shoot was worth the trouble; the photos look great 😀

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Klaus October 26, 2011 at 08:36

Thanks Danay. And as mentioned in the post, I shot around 100 photos of this product – so it was good practice for me as well.
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