Bluetooth speakers have become a must-have accessory for parents of music-loving kids. They’re also great for using in the back yard, taking camping, and generally getting tunes to wherever a stereo isn’t. While there are some really excellent wireless speakers that can capably fulfill the role of compact stereo replacement (like the Aether Cone I reviewed a while back), there’s also high demand for small, inexpensive Bluetooth speakers to fill those first scenarios. These speakers become a balancing act between affordability, decent sound, portability, battery life, and durability. The Nyne Mini Bluetooth Speaker does an excellent job of achieving that balance.
The Nyne Mini is in the class of ultraportable, inexpensive Bluetooth speakers–you can pick one up for under $50 on Amazon. That’s a very crowded market and, let’s face it, there are some pretty crappy speakers in that price range.
Nyne’s Mini stands out from the crowd in several ways.
First, it’s clearly designed to appeal especially to the teen and tween market (my kids glommed onto it as soon as they saw it from across the room). The curved design stands out from the generic rectangular box look and also lets the drivers be angled upward slightly for better sound projection. The speaker uses a two-tone color scheme with various combos–my review unit is an attractive gray and neon green.
Nyne also throws in a splash-resistant neoprene (or neoprene-like) zipped carrying case with a carabiner clip. The speaker can be carried around or clipped to a backpack while still playing (although the material did muffle the sound a little).
Second, Nyne includes some funky extras, like that carrying bag. The box also included a 3.5mm auxiliary cable and a USB charging cable (red cables with black connectors in my case).
Finally, unlike many of the companies that pump out those $50 Bluetooth speakers, Nyne produces a full line of wireless speakers. Some of the features and technology from the more expensive speakers have clearly trickled down to the Mini.
- 2.0 stereo channel output (dual drivers, passive radiator)
- 5 Watt amplifier
- 2200 mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery (rated for 10-12 hours playtime)
- Bluetooth with 33 foot range
- 3.5mm auxiliary input
- Integrated microphone for hands-free calling
- 5.0 x 2.2 x 2.5-inches, weighs 9.6 ounces
- Includes neoprene carrying case with carabiner clip, USB charging cable, 3.5mm aux cable
Battery life is rated at either 10 hours or 12 hours (depending on which brochure you go with). I easily got over 10 hours of it with mixed use–half the time with the volume around mid point and half with it pretty close to cranked.
Sound is always the weak point with inexpensive Bluetooth speakers. Once you fit a battery in the case, there isn’t a lot of room for audio components, especially if you want to remain as small as possible. There’s also that requirement to keep costs down.
The Nyne Mini isn’t going to replace your stereo, but it does have dual drivers and a 5 Watt amplifier. Sound is respectable–certainly way better than anything your smartphone, tablet, or even laptop would pump out on its own and superior to many of the speakers in this size and price range I’ve listened to. The power output is enough to be a presence in a small room. The bass is a little underwhelming, but it’s still pretty punchy for something in this class.
However, there are some musical genres the Nyne Mini does better with than others,.
Classic rock, techno, and new wave tunes from my library sounded pretty good. As things progressed to garage rock bands like The Hives, things got a little murkier, especially in the mid range. It was still listenable at reasonable volumes, but crank it up and the drivers started to get sloppy. Near maximum volume with this stuff, the speaker was getting buzzy and distorted trying to keep up with the guitars.
I should also mention that Bluetooth behavior was very good with the Nyne Mini. I’ve had mixed experiences with Bluetooth speakers and iOS devices. Initial pairing usually goes well, but subsequent connection can be a pain. The Mini picked up the connection whenever I was in the area with my paired device, and connecting was never a struggle.
Funky-looking, rugged, with long battery life and decent sound, Nyne Mini would make a good choice as an ultraportable wireless speaker for teens and tweens–especially when you’re only out 50 bucks if they manage to destroy it. And it would definitely be up to doing double duty in the yard, on the beach, or at the campsite.
Disclosure: Nyne provided a Mini bluetooth speaker for this review