Review: Harman/Kardon Esquire Mini
4.4Overall Score

Price (RRP): $229.99
Manufacturer: Harman/Kardon

When you need better sound, you can always rely on a portable speaker, but Harman/Kardon’s Esquire Mini doesn’t just provide a decent sound, it packs in a useful battery, too.

Features and performance

Harman/Kardon may have a heritage in high-end audio for home theatre and stereos, but last year, we saw the company start migrating its take on design and an understand of sound to devices that were a wee bit smaller than the large amplifiers and HiFi systems that many of us still keep in the living room at home.

Rather, HK joined the likes of Sony, Samsung, LG, and many others with Bluetooth audio, shrinking its technology to a form factor meant for the computer and the tablet and the smartphone, and anything else that you load music on and take with you, with the idea being that you’ll be streaming it to a speaker wirelessly.

The first example of this came in the form of the “Esquire”, a square of a speaker that packed in a deliciously warm sound with a slightly diminished bass, but a style that made the speaker look like none other.

It was nice, and we could see why people liked it, with a power brick built into the body to charge your phone and tablet if need be, providing a little extra pizzazz the speakers don’t normally come equipped with.

Harman/Kardon’s Esquire Mini is, however, exactly what the name suggests: a smaller take on the Esquire speaker, with the same sort of quality thrown in.

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For instance, there’s the style, with a metal frame, leather back, and more of that slot texted look, as well as support for Bluetooth and wired audio, depending on how you want to get your sound to the speaker.

This one can’t stand up by itself, unlike the full-sized Esquire, and so Harman/Kardon has built in a little stand that pushes out, allowing the speaker to stand at an angle when you want it to, or just lie flat, whichever you prefer.

You’ll also find a microphone in here, and when paired with a smartphone, the speaker can act as a voice conferencing device, which will no doubt be handy for some.

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Also still here is the power bank, which provides some extra life to your phone when you need it, just make sure you have the USB cable for your device ready, because that doesn’t come with the Esquire Mini.

Charging the speaker is the international standard of microUSB, with a small cable provided in the box, or you can just use the same one you get with every phone that isn’t made by Apple.

Finally, there’s a power meter on the left edge that glows white up to five dots depending on how much battery life is left in the speaker, and glows red when the Mini is charging up a device. Three buttons sit up top, providing power (hold it down to switch the speaker on and off), Bluetooth (for pairing), and phone (to answer a call), with a metal volume rocker on the other side of that top edge.

And that is, for the most part, the Esquire Mini speaker, providing a simple look and even some simple design.