Minirig Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review
The Minirig 2 Bluetooth speaker is one of those products I recommend constantly to my readers, friends and family. It was such a beast of a performer that has huge sound, stellar build and excellent battery life. Well, now we have the newly released Minirigs Mini portable speaker here for review and unsurprisingly it gets a massive thumbs up from me.
Why don't we have more Bluetooth speaker reviews on the site?
My experience with most portable Bluetooth speakers was usually one of disappointment. Running this site means that speakers turn up unannounced on our doorstep all the time with companies making all sorts of claims as to why their model is different. The majority of them will never have a word published on them because they are, for the, most part rubbish or underwhelming. They do enough to get the job done but almost always leave you expecting more.
A few models have squeaked through in the past. The Bang & Olufsen A1 sounded great so was given the full review treatment however, it was also super expensive. The Creative iRoar, whilst having ok sound killed it in the feature set so it got the thumbs ups. But as for what I use myself, well up until this point it was the Minirigs 2 that reigned as king so it was kind of hard to recommend anything else.
What is the Minirig Mini Bluetooth Speaker?
Minirigs is a UK based company that has taken a completely different approach to designing a portable Bluetooth speaker. One of simple design and outstanding build. The simplicity and attention to details and performance is what sets them apart. A couple of years ago they released their Minirig System of Bluetooth speakers. You can read our original Minirig speaker review here but the short version is that I was blown away and declared it my favorite Bluetooth speaker. 2 years later do I still feel the same? Yes. Have I found anything better? No. Not in a direct comparison of sound and performance with its competitors.
The Mini is essentially a smaller version of the Minirigs 2 and they have kept almost all the good features from the bigger model and refined a couple of others. The size is ridiculously small when you consider the sound it puts out. Its half the size of a can of coke and has excellent battery life.
Why am I so excited about the Minirig Mini?
The reason I am so hyped on this new speaker is that it's just a perfect fit for my needs. At home, I have both 2 ridiculous sound systems with 2 ridiculous sets of speakers (Dali Lektor, Mangepan .7). On a day to day basis, when at home or the office I use headphones but then there was one other gap. When I travel. I travel about half the year and when I do I usually just take a carry on. Obviously, space is an issue. Most of the time the really small travel speakers suck so unbelievably bad that I just opted to use my laptop or phone.
Not only that but its absolutely no effort for me to put this in a pocket and take it to the park, a barbeque or just outside in the garden.
Rock Solid Build Quality
One of the standout features of the original speaker was the exceptional build quality. That continues with the new model. It a seriously well-made bit of kit. The speaker consists of a single 52mm diaphragm driver housed in a tubular metal chassis with a metal grill on the outside. It's powered by an internal 15w amp.
There is a single button that controls power, pairing and gain output. The sides have points of connection for daisy chaining the speaker with other Minirigs products such as the bass cannon and Minirig 2 or just another Mini in order to make a 2.1 style mini hi-fi system.
What I really like iss the attention to detail and complete lack of wasted space. For instance, the diameter of the housing is just wide enough to accommodate the diaphragm. That means you get all the sound the driver can deliver but in the absolute smallest package possible. I have seen speakers 5 times the size of the Mini from big companies like B&O and Creative and they cant even touch it on sound. Size to performance wise I think its unbeatable.
Now, back to the build quality.
Design wise, on first glance, it's pretty much just shrunken down Minirigs 2. However, there are actually some slight differences. The coating used on the bigger model feels harder wearing with its rough textured coating. Conversely, the finish on the new model looks sleeker and it still feels super tough. Nothing seems out of place, in fact, the whole unit feels densely packed, very rugged and built with a high tolerance to abuse.
The other difference from the Minirig 2 is that they fixed the one gripe I had. The little rubber feet that over time would fall off has now been replaced with a nice tacky anti-slip rubber ring on the bottom of the unit. This keeps the speaker from sliding off a smooth surface as well as providing a little bump protection on the base.
Battery Life, Weatherproofing & Bluetooth range
The battery life for the Minirigs Mini is excellent. With the volume pumping to about 80% on my phone (Google Pixel 2) and the gain setting switched to loud I got over 13 hours. At medium settings with the gain on low, I was in excess of 25 hours and that was more than loud enough to use around the house or in a hotel room. Charging from completely dead to full took about 2 hours and 30 mins so not the fastest but a 45 min charge would give hours of playback time.
Bluetooth range was on average about 20m using either my Microsoft Surface Book 2, Pixel or iPhone 8 and but it could also work just fine from 30m+ if conditions are optimal. Being within range I have never experienced any dropping of signal when using any Minirig product.
The speaker is not waterproof so if that is important to you then I suggest checking out something like the JBL Flip. The Minirig Mini is weatherproof though so it should survive a quick spray.
Ports and connections
We reviewed the Creative IRoar late last year and I was floored by how many ports gadgets and features that thing crammed in. Seriously, that thing had SD card ports, Bluetooth, DAC compatibility, voice control etc...you could even use it as an external battery pack to charge your phone.
Well, the Minirig doesn't have anywhere near that functionality so if those features take priority over sound for you then you best stop reading.
Basically all the Minirig Mini does is play music via Bluetooth or Aux in cable. Yes it can be hooked up to other Minirig units to create a more Hifi experience but if you only have one Minirig then theres no tricks up its sleeve.
The ports themselves are as you would expect super rugged. All metal and very robust which inspires long term confidence in the speaker. The thing most people are going to complain about though is it uses a proprietary cable to charge. On the plus side, this port feels way stronger than a standard USB type C or Micro USB but if you do lose the cable when traveling its going to be a nightmare to charge it.
The best sounding ultraportable Bluetooth speaker on the market
Now as I mentioned right at the start I get a ridiculous number of Bluetooth speakers sent to me each year so I think I have a good basis for comparison.
To put it simply the Minirigs Mini is the best sounding Bluetooth speaker for traveling/portable use. The original Minirig still sounds the best but honestly, the Mini is not far off it at all.
The one thing that people hate about small travel speakers is often shockingly bad bass but this little guy can hit reasonably hard without distortion and keep up or surpass speakers far bigger and more expensive. Its big brother the Minirig 2 is still king of small speakers with big bass and the Mini doesn't go as deep but for its size its class-leading. The most impressive thing is how very loud the speaker goes whilst still remaining distortion free. Other speakers I have tried seem to disintegrate at about 60-70% of maximum volume but the Mini reamins composed right up to max even with the high gain mode on.
Mids are clear and well defined with good detail retrieval and the treble is laid back and inoffensive. There is really nothing bad I can say at all about this it at all.
So many other companies try and stuff multiple small diaphragms (tweeters, bass ports etc) into their small speakers that they end up with that weak and tiny sound. Minirigs solution of just putting in one single, high-quality unit inside. This just seems so simple but it provides the fullest, richest, deepest listening experience in this kind of form factor.
Conclusion - The best ultraportable Bluetooth speaker to date
With so many Bluetooth speakers now on the market it can be hard to choose one. Many are laden with features and others can be had at super low prices. The most important thing to me is sound and for the life of me I cant think of anything this size that sounds even close to being this good. Really to get something better sounding you are looking at getting the Minirig 2.
Other speakers might have fancy marketing and sleek styling but trust me get one of these in your hand and you will see why I am so impressed. Top sound, top build, small size, massive battery life and all at fair price. What more could you want?