GeekDad Review: Crosley Mini Cruiser Portable Record Player

One of Crosley’s specialties is pushing the vintage, retro, and collectible buttons for vinyl fans. The classic example of retro is the Cruiser Deluxe record player-in-a-suitcase, reviewed a few years ago by Jenny Bristol. On the collectible front, there are offerings like the RSD3 mini turntable released last year for Record Store Day. This year, the company has topped itself with a combo of those two: the Crosley Mini Cruiser portable record player.

It’s like a Cruiser Deluxe you can hold in one hand. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Zap a Cruiser Deluxe With a Shrink Ray

Visually, the Crosley Mini Cruiser portable record player is pretty much what you would expect if you zapped a full-sized Cruiser Deluxe with a shrink ray.

The unit is contained within a miniature (5.79 x 8.15 x 3.35-inches) suitcase. My review unit was a pebbled “White Sand” finish, and “Tourmaline” is also available if you want something a little brighter. The suitcase is complete with a handle, hinges, and latch. Corners are protected by metal guards. On the front face are a pair of speakers. The back has inputs.

Pop the lid and there is the turntable platter—sized for 3-inch records.

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Similar Approach to the RSD3

The Mini Cruiser is very similar in approach to the RSD3. First and foremost, it plays only 3-inch records. These can be a bit tougher to find and it would have been nice to include one in the box. There is a pitch control slider for fine-tuning the performance. A single knob controls on/off and volume. A full-sized cartridge looks almost comically big but means it can take standard replacement needles—in this case (unlike the RSD3 which used an Audio Technica cartridge), it is Crosley’s own version. Power is via Micro-USB (cable included) or four AA batteries if you want to go completely portable.

Spinning some 3-inch vinyl—note, the green USB cable is mine, the supplied version is black. (Photo by Brad Moon)

You can play the records through the built-in speakers (don’t expect audiophile quality sound), and there is also a 3.5mm headphone jack that could also be used to output to a more capable sound system. Unlike the RSD3, the Mini Cruiser also includes Bluetooth output. You can’t stream to the Mini Cruiser, but you can stream its output wirelessly to a paired Bluetooth speaker.

Should You Buy It?

Ready to spin, using USB or AA batteries. (Photo by Brad Moon)

The Crosley Mini Cruiser is aimed at the collector market. No one buys one of these to save space compared to a full-sized turntable—it’s just not on the same level in terms of quality and, as mentioned, the selection of available 3-inch records is slim. However, for collectors, it’s a great acquisition with an affordable $69.95 price tag.

If you just like the look of a vintage suitcase record player and want one for decor, you’ll need to decide whether to go mini or full-sized. That decision is made tougher by the fact that the full-sized Cruiser Deluxe comes in a wide range of colors, with versions priced as low as $56 on Amazon.

Disclosure: Crosley provided a Mini Cruiser for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.

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