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Xiaomi Sound Outdoor

China's Xiaomi has delivered a JBL competitor with the same waterproof rubber chassis and warm, super-sound that the Yanks sell.

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The boundaries of what a small speaker can achieve have been pushed time and time again over the last decade and in my humble opinion, it is JBL and perhaps above all Marshall (via Zound Industries) that have been the best here over the last five years. Sony, Bose, Sonos and others have been close behind, but it is Emberton (Marshall) and Charge (JBL) that have convinced me the most in this segment, where the form factor does not exceed the size of a thermos, but offers a sound profile that appears at least 10-times larger.

Xiaomi Sound Outdoor
The sound is warm, natural and airy with just the right amount of bass and very good treble control.

Until recently, I had never tested a Bluetooth speaker from the Chinese Xiaomi and given that they manufacture as many full-size electric buses as they specialise in smart homes, mobile phones, TVs, robot vacuum cleaners, and everything in between - my extraordinary ability to build up preconceived notions in a stupidly short time - which often turn out to be 100% wrong - had already kicked in. How good can this really be? Much, much better than I could have imagined, it turns out. Despite the fact that it only costs around £60. Despite the fact that it has the world's least imaginative name. Despite the fact that it's about the size of a 500ml bottle. In spite of all that, the Xiaomi Sound Outdoor is just plain good.

Xiaomi Sound Outdoor
It's waterproof, durable and stylish.

This little speaker measures 20 centimetres x 6.8 centimetres and weighs only 600 grams. It is waterproof (IP67), shockproof and covered by a rubbery surface which, together with the orange flange (on the black model, which we tested), makes it very reminiscent of a JBL product. It houses a battery with a capacity of 2600 mAh that provides 12 hours of playtime and it takes about three hours to recharge the battery to the max, from empty. There are two drivers inside and two bass reflexes (one on each side) and you can easily pair two of them via the Mi app to control them to play stereo. You can also connect 100 of them together to create a line array should you wish. The Bluetooth standard supported is the latest (5.4) and the frequency range is 60Hz up to 20KHz.

This is an ad:
Xiaomi Sound Outdoor
For around £60, you really can't find a better Bluetooth speaker today.

The sound profile here is warm and playful in a way that reminds me of Bose, JBL and Marshall. Xiaomi has fortunately tuned its new speaker to a broader type of music of different types and genres than, for example, Sony and I appreciate that. Sound Outdoor has no problems with Nestor's new tracks where the distpedals are freely abused and it performs at least as well when I pound The Strike with the test reference song 'Overtime'. Xiaomi hasn't fallen into the voice forward trap that Apple has largely passed on to most competitors and in terms of mix, I appreciate that, too. Brandon's voice is right in the mix when I listen to 11 am from the newly released Morning View XXIII and the same goes for Stinga's voice when I play Seven Days. This speaker sounds very good. The sound is never as 'bass boost'-strained and peaked as many smaller Bluetooth speakers can tend to be, instead it is airy, easy to play and fun - all the time. And equally good are various podcasts where the voices feel natural without being dull, meaning I can only bow to Xiaomi's ability to compete with the best, here.

For around £60 you won't get a better Bluetooth speaker. No matter where you look.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
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Xiaomi Sound Outdoor

Xiaomi Sound Outdoor

HARDWARE. Written by Petter Hegevall

China's Xiaomi has delivered a JBL competitor with the same waterproof rubber chassis and warm, super-sound that the Yanks sell.



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