The Harman Kardon Equire is a very highly regarded battery-powered Bluetooth audio speaker for high-quality sounds on the move.
However, for some, it’s not quite portable enough: you can’t drop it into a work case and forget about it. Enter the Harman Kardon Esquire Mini, which is just that: an iPhone 6 Plus-sized speaker boasting an eight-hour battery life and the performance of its bigger brother, for a lower purchase price to boot.
Question is, can the £130 Esquire Mini match the performance of the mighty £170 Esquire?
Typically for Harman Kardon, this is a beautifully designed portable speaker. It has a central brushed aluminium metal core, with a logo’d speaker (scratch-resistant and ceramic-coated) on one side and a leather backing on the other. There’s a chrome diagonal across this: press the top and it hinges, making a stand. Clever stuff.
It’s offered in four colours: black, white, gold and bronze.
There are three buttons on the top, for power, Bluetooth and telephone call control, plus a large two-way volume button. On the side is a bright white five-LED battery indicator, on the other are three sockets – USB, headphone jack and the power socket.
It’s a really premium-looking thing that you’ll certainly be pleased to have sitting on your desk.
The Esquire Mini has a lithium polymer battery that takes 5 hours to fully charge, and then gives 8 hours’ playback time. The unit weighs 238g and has inputs via traditional 3.5mm jack as well as Bluetooth.
For number-crunchers, the frequency response is 180Hx-20kHz, and the Signal-to-Noise ratio is 80dB.
You can also charge mobile devices through its USB jack.
Sound quality at office volumes is generally crisp and clear, with good definition and sharply-defined definition. You can listen to it all day long without tiring of its muddy, muffled playback.
It does, however, lack powerful bass, and turning it up doesn’t fill out tunes as you’d hope. It needs a bit more power to drive music at higher volumes, lacking some depth particularly in electronic music.
The sound is omnidirectional though, so it’s not just the person sitting next to it that enjoys the best experience. Bear this in mind if you use it as a Bluetooth audio speaker paired to your smartphone…
Phone call clarity is very good, giving conversations an audio mix quality; with dual microphone, noise- and echo-cancellation technology, ideal for home workers who want to stream music on their smartphone with it auto-pausing to take calls.
The Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is a lovely possession to sit on your desk, and offers decent streaming quality for playing music in the background. The Bluetooth phone call functionality is also excellent and the eight-hour playback is realistic.
it’s just a pity bass and depth is lacking for when you’ve finished work and want to turn it up. A bit more oomph would enhance the excellent definition and clarity it boasts, and the quality construction could certainly handle this extra drive.
As it stands, consider it a professional background speaker that’ll be the envy of your colleagues; for after hours, you’re still best off with the bigger Esquire.