When it comes to electrical devices, particularly portable ones, we’re extremely cautious. But the UK-made Minirig Bluetooth speaker had a remarkable billing – they call it the best – and we think it lives up to its reputation.
Ask any self-respecting audiophile to recommend you a set of portable speakers and the Minirig will come up time and again. They say that these speakers are built by music-lovers, and that comes through in the speaker's loud and proud sound. More importantly for us, a Minirig is designed with durability in its bones and with functionality and long battery life at its heart.
It’s no surprise that Minirig emerged from Bristol, a city bathed in sound. A collision of inspiration between engineering departments at Bristol University, the entire design was conceived and constructed around common sense user-friendly principles. The Minirig 3 is a neat 10cm in diameter, with most of that space dedicated to a gigantic 70mm driver powering the audio. The sound is delivered with remarkable clarity, and we haven't dared crank it up to full volume yet. It turned heads in the office at half power. What space there is left in the 'rig is reserved for the similarly massive battery, fit for a mind-boggling 100 hours of battery life. Other top of the range speakers offer just 15 hours at low volume.
Encased in anodised aluminium, each Minirig is built to last. They say it can be thrown around a bit, and while we wouldn't advise it, it's clear you'll have to try extremely hard to damage it. It's worth noting that the top is vented and not water-proof – so don't leave it out in the rain. At least without a brolly. If sand gets in it at the beach, Minirig recommend leaving it to dry and vacuuming the top. The speaker can withstand it. The brushed metal exterior is also worth a mention; it makes for a refined look and gives the body a real tactility.
A one year warranty is included, but outside of the warranty, you can have your speaker fixed for just £24. With every Minirig manufactured in the UK and assembled in Bristol, all the parts needed to repair, recycle and service older products are under one roof. It’s a small company of real people that care about their customers.
That principle is proven by how they treat advancing technology. They actually offer the ability to upgrade your existing device – say if Bluetooth went out of fashion for a new system or some other functionality was improved – at a fraction of the cost of a replacement. It’s a real antidote to the lowest-bidder, celebrity-endorsed world of audio marketing. Minirig want you to have your Minirig, not a new one. They are dedicated to keeping everything they build in use for as long as possible.
The features keep flowing. Along with being connectable to your phone or other device via Bluetooth, there are also two AUX ports – for those of us who like the way things used to be. We can confirm it's super easy to set up out of the box - it arrived with plenty of charge, and you can get your tunes blaring within around ten seconds of unboxing. The Minirig can even link up to other Minirigs through that connectivity; if you’re so inclined, you could create a shimmering wall of stereo sound with two, three or more speakers. According to the founder David, a slightly ridiculous 80 Minirigs have been joined up before.
The battery capacity is so large (we have to mention it again…100 hours!) that they’ve even added the capability to charge your other devices using Minirig power. It’s no wonder that these are a festival favourite – aside from the toss-it-around durability, in a pinch it’ll save your mobile phone from an early death.
We highly recommend you check them out and if you need one, consider buying one.