Last weekend, the Boy and I did what we liked to do best – peruse the shelves of gadgets in our Technology mall, Funan Centre. It was a good way to keep out the heat, acquaint yourself with the latest ongoings and be amazed at some of the ludicrous inventions you’ll never think you’ll see.

I have an eye for beauty. I simply cannot understand why a product cannot be functional and appealing at the same time. If the manufacturer is going to make a USB hub, why not make it as aesthetic as it is useful? I spend a lot of my time this way, juggling the concepts of beauty vs functionality vs pricing. Ideally, I would like all three to be favourable but sometimes a little design rockets the price skyhigh and that’s the time I would draw the line and begrudgingly succumb to plain, boring “functional”. I am not going to pay a fifty dollars difference to accommodate a 1 cm difference and a little colour when the ultimate goal of purchase is the same – a USB hub.

We came across Nakimichi’s My Mini Plus portable speaker which came with an in-built FM radio if you decide to pay for it. If you are one of those who do not make use of the FM radio function and are unwilling to pay for its existence, you can purchase it without at twenty bucks cheaper. Of course, the first thing that struck me was how cute this cubic speaker of 5x5x5cm is. It came in a variety of colours and I really like the in-built FM radio function because I do not have a radio in my room and do not relish the thought of switching on the desktop to listen to it online. Also, it can fit on my bedside table with absolute ease and there is also the option to have it play off the Micro SD card since there is a slot for it. One mini speaker, three ways of usage. Now that’s what I call function! It is really a combination of beauty and brains. Well, I obviously liked it enough to pay SGD 69.90 to bring it home after testing a display unit. I would never have bought it if I didn’t have the chance to test it. Back to the analogy on beauty and brains, you cannot trust that a person has brains just because he said so, you have to verify it.

I picked the limited edition red and gold one and paid about SGD 62 in the end because the Boy’s membership at Challenger gets a 10% off. I gleefully brought it home and charged it and started playing around with it. That is when I realized that there was a slight discoloration on the gold surface which left me with a bad feeling in my mouth because I didn’t look carefully before I brought it home. Since it was brand new in its sealed casing, I assumed everything would be good. So readers … check your wares! I was going to live with it before I realized that the unit seemed to be faulty. The FM radio was working but the moment I switched it to Line-in function and plugged it into my iPod, I could only hear the music very faintly. I tested it back and forth and determined that the root cause was really the cable. If I switched it to another cable, it worked.

I brought it back to Challenger since it is within the 7 days period. It was lucky I kept the receipt and they allowed me to change to a new one. Unfortunately the red and gold version was sold out so I just chose the pink and silver one instead. Now everything is working perfectly and I am a happy owner.

What you should know:

  • Keep the receipt. You never know if you are going to be as unlucky as me the first time round.
  • Check it carefully for any signs of discoloration before you bring it home!

Pros:

  • Portable and cute and produces a better quality sound than the X-mini that I already have.
  • FM radio functionality. The USB cable serves as an antenna and I was pleasantly surprised I didn’t have to place it strategically to get good reception.
  • Micro SD card slot which allows it to serve as a portable MP3 player if you so desire.

Cons:

  • Should have come with a carrying pouch.
  • Setting the FM radio channels wasn’t a breeze. It took me a couple of tries before I got it.
  • If there is a way to incorporate a mini LED display that shows you the FM channels, that would be a winner.

 

This is not a paid review and is truly my experience with the said product. I believe girls should know their gadgets, especially the cute ones! Here’s the CNET review.

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