We already took a look at the Cambridge Audio Minx Go, their portable offering, and as promised we are following that up with the Minx Air 200. The two devices are unmistakably related – save for the button configuration, the design is nearly identical – but the Minx Air 200 is over twice the size and nearly five times the weight of the Minx Go.
With that extra size comes superior audio components and a number of features that are more suited to a speaker that is unlikely to move from your home or office. Do these upgrades justify the additional cost and the loss of portability versus something like the Minx Go?
Connectivity: Bluetooth, AirPlay, WiFi, Ethernet, RCA and 3.5mm aux
Dimensions: 17.7” x 8.7” x 6.9”
Weight: 11.2 lbs.
As with the Minx Go, the front of the Minx Air 200 is largely blank, with just the Cambridge Audio logo at the bottom of the cloth grille to break things up. On top are two sets of five rubber buttons. The set on the left can be assigned to five preset Internet radio stations and the set on the right are for Bluetooth pairing, analog input selection, volume up, volume down and power.
Again mirroring the Minx Go, the back of the Minx Air 200 has “Cambridge Audio” etched into the plastic. But as is befitting the much larger Air 200, there is quite a bit more going on once you get past that point. Going from left to right you have the power input, a bass control knob, WPS button, an ethernet port, microUSB port, 3.5mm aux in and finally, an RCA input.
The remote for the Air 200 has a button for every manual control on the speaker itself and 10 Internet radio presets. All of that is stuffed onto a miniscule remote that I am quite certain I would lose. After briefly testing it out, I never touched the remote again, as I didn’t find it necessary and I was nervous about losing the wee thing and my larger hands just made it awkward for me to try to navigate.
The Minx Air 200 is available in black or white. I didn’t notice an issue with fingerprints during my review, and unlike the portable Minx Go, there is little reason to be moving the Air 200 around, so whichever version better fits your decor will be fine.
The body of the Minx Air 200 is plastic with a cloth speaker grille on the front. During my time reviewing the speaker I was dragging it around more than most users would be so that I could try it in different rooms of my house, and I will attest that it at least feels like a solid piece of hardware. Perhaps some of this is attributable to its weight at 11.2 pounds, but regardless, it is not a flimsy speaker.
Cambridge Audio prides itself on its minimal design, and while the Minx Air 200 isn’t going to be the showpiece of whatever room it resides in, it has a clean and elegant look that should blend seamlessly into almost any environment.
Considering my glowing review of the sound quality on the Minx Go, it should come as little surprise that the Minx Air 200 was similarly spectacular and took the volume, bass and clarity of its little sibling to another level.
Regardless of the size of the room that I placed the Air 200 in, the speaker was able to completely fill the room and provide an excellent listening experience throughout. Pushing the top end of the volume on the Air 200 in my basement, I was able to clearly hear the still undistorted audio from the street outside my house. Unless you live in a sparsely populated area I doubt you will ever be able to really push the limits of the Air 200 without incurring the wrath of your neighbors.
The Air 200 features two 2.5-inch Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drivers and a 6.5-inch subwoofer. According to Cambridge Audio, the BMR drivers allow for superior dispersal of sound versus traditional speakers, accounting for the impressive room-filling sound.
Many of our readers may not find much use for the addition of AirPlay to complement the Bluetooth option, I’m sure we have some iPad and iPhone users around that will appreciate the tightly-integrated Apple solution.
I tested the AirPlay implementation with an iPad and after the dead simple initial setup process (connecting your computer via WiFi to the Air 200 and then browsing to 192.168.1.1 and pointing to the appropriate SSID), it produced sound quality that was at least on par with the Bluetooth connection through my Android devices.
As with the Minx Go, I never had an issue with Bluetooth connectivity on the Air 200. And while it can’t take the place of a wired connection, it is easily worth the convenience trade-off.
The Minx Air app is free in the Play Store and allows you to controls the volume and bass level on the Air as well as navigate and set the Internet radio stations. After that initial setup, you can rely on the remote or hardware buttons to get to those presets when you don’t have the app available. It’s a straightforward app, but unless you are an Internet radio devotee – which I am not – then there is little reason to fire it up. Looking at the Play Store reviews from long-term Minx Air users, the app is a definite letdown given the high standard set by the speaker, but because it isn’t really necessary for most users, it isn’t much of a concern to me.
While the sound quality on the Minx Go was impressive for a portable speaker, the Minx Air 200 is in a different class entirely. Short of moving to a full stereo system, I can’t imagine a single device yielding superior results.
I think the Minx Air 200 is unquestionably worth the asking price for someone that is just looking for a dead simple system that provides high quality audio for a home or office. However, that is a fairly niche market and for most I think the Minx Go would hit that “good enough” sweet spot at almost one-third the price.
But if you have $499 to spend on a dedicated home/office speaker, I promise that you will come away impressed by the Minx Air 200.
This is our first time reviewing a shelf speaker, so if you have any areas that you feel we missed, let us know in comments and we’ll try to either answer it there or update the post as necessary.