Picture this. You’re sitting there with an epic array of music that seriously dates you, but yet you’re compelled to share it with the youth of the world.
After all, you’re a musical genius that has somehow gone unnoticed for decades, a virtuoso with the ability to drop several genre-bending albums at a moment’s notice. Your phone isn’t loud enough to push your righteous beats and doesn’t look SWAG enough on your shoulder, quite like a boombox used to. What about the Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portable Speakers?
BUILD QUALITY/INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
The Kinivo ZX100 is a concise audio playback device backed by a 1 year warranty. It comes with a USB cord for charging the lithium ion battery, the speaker itself, and a small carry pouch. That’s it.
The speaker itself is about 2 inches wide, weighs about 6 ounces, and possesses a surprisingly sturdy bezel quality in a variety of colors. With the price point, I was expecting something more flimsy, but I certainly didn’t get that impression out of the box.
Since this isn’t a Bluetooth enabled device, there has to be a 3.5-mm connector attached to the speaker. The main problem I see right away is that the cord is too short for most users. For example, picking up the phone/device to change music would mean the ZX100 is going along for the ride. May be just a preference-issue, but I could use a bit more length to make it easier to manipulate my device, if need be.
A first time user immediately thinks that the button labels are clickable, but it’s actually the plastic colored piece right below each aforementioned label. Not a negative at all. A little odd at first, but you get used to it.
One last thing to mention is the expandable bass resonator. When one wants to feel the boom of their Booty Essentials 2001 CD from the glory days (I seriously own that…), all you have to do is twist the top counter-clockwise and out pops this slinky-esque resonator that is supposed to deliver the bass. I’m skeptical due to the minute size, but we shall see what happens. Overall, a clever design and seems easy enough to use.
Here are some of the key features that Kinivo promotes in their product. The following is a list and quick synopsis of each one:
- Modular Design
Modular design so one can “daisy-chain” multipleunits together in order to amplify the sound. Very interesting idea, but I did not have enough X100’s to test it. Unfortunate, because I am really interested in how loud one could make a certain CD at a public place…
- Rechargeable Battery-Powered
The battery charge is supposed to last for about 6 hours and only requires a USB charging cable. I’ve used it quite a few times and can definitely say I received at least 6 hours of use before needing a recharge. In fact, I would even say I received more than that, but that could be based on certain conditions (music vs podcasts, etc). Recharging also didn’t take very long.
As mentioned earlier, it’s very light and can be easily stored in a pocket, if you’re on the go. I really can’t think of a more ideal setup, at least until phones start to push out more volume.
- Device Compatibility
Supports iPhones, Android Smartphones, iPods, iPads, mp3 players, CD players, laptops, tablets, and other music devices that have a 3.5-mm audio out.
The Kinivo ZX100 is incredibly easy to use. One simply plugs in the speaker to charge it via USB, turn the power on, and then plug the 3.5-mm jack into your playback device. Once plugged in, you’ll be able to adjust your volume accordingly. *It should be noted that, conveniently, to save yourself from a heart attack of sound-waves, the mini speaker reduces the volume to 50 percent every time you plug it in. Nice touch.
The sound quality with the resonator closed is about what you would expect from a smaller and cheaper device. The mids and highs for rock and rap are adequate and feel on par with a stock car audio experience, minus the extra volume, but it can seem a bit empty at times with the low amount of bass. However, should the need arise for a throatier bass sound, one can open up the “enhanced bass resonator” and you will notice that the lows aren’t near as muffled when playing music. It gives the music more “depth”, if you will. If one could add daisy-chaining to the equation, then that may add significantly more depth and volume.
For the record, there were a few occasions where I felt that musical vocals were hampered a bit by opening the bass resonator, but it simply is a matter of taste. The audio podcast playback experience seems more authentic with the bass resonator open, but it can occasionally give you the feeling that you’re listening to someone speak into a microphone, rather than a perfectly accurate depiction of the speaker’s voice. The change is subtle at best, so only the most anal-retentive audiophiles would scoff at it. YMMV on either scenario.
The main problems I see with the device is how short the 3.5-mm cord is along with the complete absence of Bluetooth capability. If you are wanting to actively use your device to change songs or whatever while plugged into the ZX100, then the only feasible option would be to have that device directly on a flat surface and not have it move. In short, this device is more useful for those who will remain motionless or want to fire and forget it.
The Kinivo ZX100 is a useful alternative for those who want a bit more power from their audio without the added real estate cost of having to lug around a larger speaker. It may not be ideal for the audiophile, but keep in mind this is for the person who values portability and convenience as key factors in their listening experience.
Personally, this will be my go to device around the house, until I find something that can do the equivalent and is Bluetooth capable. $20 for this is a good buy and you should definitely consider it.
Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portable Speaker
|Solid Build||No Bluetooth!|
|Portable||Short 3.5-mm cord.|
If you decide to purchase the Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portable Speaker after reading the review, please consider using one of our links below. We receive a small kickback and it helps support the site.