Mobile Trio: Gmini mPlay

    I already wrote about Creative Airwave HD and the insanely cool ROAR , this time I suggest looking at devices of a more affordable price range of Russian-Chinese origin. And next time I will introduce you to an interesting thing from Creative, which belongs to the same class, but has a bit more functionality.  

    Actually, mobile speakers for connecting to smartphones and laptops are not produced now only by the lazy, but it is always nice to stumble upon the result of high-quality localization and pleasant service, even if there is an ordinary OEM model inside. All three “heroes” of today's review are represented by Gmini. The entire line of mPlay products in the Russian Federation exists, so far, in three copies: a small DRUMi “tablet”, its older version is CUBiC, and a funny stereo clamshell WiDE. Well, to be blown away for the premium segment in a week will be Creative SoundBlaster Axx200. Go!


    Company Gmini until recently, probably, was known as a producer of electronic books in Yandex.Markete them a dime a dozen .

    Expanding the production line is always good, the main thing is not to the detriment of quality. The smallest speaker in the lineup - the round DRUMi - was apparently created under the influence of Apple products, as directly preaches the principle of "nothing more."

    Inside - a modest speaker at 2.7 W, a battery of unspecified capacity with a stated duration of operation at a volume of ⅓ to a maximum of about 10 hours, and Bluetooth with an NFC tag. The three-position switch at the bottom allows you to select the operating mode: wireless, wired (via 3.5mm mini-jack) or just turn off the device.

    Case materials - an extremely pleasant tactile soft-touch plastic and a simple silver-matte bezel. DRUMi is charged from the MicroUSB-connector, the column itself, unfortunately, cannot offer power to the devices, but it is understandable - not the volumes of the built-in battery to share with someone else.

    The average price on Yandex.Market is 750 rubles.


    The middle model - CUBiC - is designed much more complicated. Firstly, there are already two speakers: the same 2.7 W are located on the sides of the cubic “thing”.

    It is cubic rather conditionally: firstly, the corners are rounded, and secondly, to start working with the column, you need to slightly press its upper plane: the protective cover itself will rise up, exposing the speakers behind the protective grid and the column control buttons.

    So the cube will turn into a high-tech turret. The activation of the housing is also responsible for lifting the case: opened - on, slammed - off. I don’t argue, the solution looks interesting the first five times, but constantly open-close the column ... but it won’t break? )

    The front panel is “decorated” with a slot with a blue LED (it symbolizes the charge of the device and is a regular indicator of the status of the Bluetooth connection). On the back there are five control buttons (volume ±, play / pause and fast forward and backward, respectively, a microphone slot, another LED (this time red), a MiniUSB connector for charging the built-in battery, and a 3.5mm mini-jack as an analog The

    lower edge contains twenty-five holes and four rubberized legs. Some semblance of a bass reflex adds a little low frequencies: the speaker sounds much nicer than the younger sister, but about the sound capabilities of the entire Gmini trinity - a little later.

    About Yandex . Market ask for about 1000 rub s begin with the same price of 850 vechnoderevyannyh.

    Two of the casket

    The latest model (the oldest in this line) is Gmini WiDE - a variation of the “cube” made in another form factor.

    The case resembles the Airwave mentioned above: a triangular profile does not give designers peace. Why are two of the casket? Because the case is completely “deaf” and has a single button, by clicking on which two speakers leave on the sides. They drive out sedately (the spring is perfectly matched), with a "velvet" buzz. Is it original? I do not argue. Is it necessary? It is doubtful.

    For the sound here, the same 2x2.7 W speakers are responsible as in CUBiC. The same battery for 10 hours. In addition, the rest of the functionality, including the control buttons, is painfully similar to the “average” model. A significant difference is the form factor of the case and the relatively wide stereo base of the speaker: if CUBiC'a speakers just look in different directions, and are separated, at best, by five centimeters, then here both speakers look from the front to the “listener”. A stereo effect appears, but a little strange.

    Put in front of a laptop - the column will clearly interfere with your hands. Behind? So that she plays the cap? Between the screen and the keyboard - it will not fit corny (and it will close part of the screen), but in those laptops where the distance between the edge of the screen and the keyboard is sufficient, I think there are already powerful speakers enough + there is an optional remote subwoofer. Gmini WiDE, theoretically, is useful, rather, to those who want to relax in nature with music - here a portable speaker will be most welcome. Well, as an audio system to the tablet - nothing too.

    For the older model Yandex.Market asks an average of 1,500 rubles. Well, in order to understand which of the speakers is worth what is being asked for, you need to compare how they sound. What will we do.

    Sound from Gmini

    The rival and source of the sound in combination will be my unloved fifteen-inch MacBook Pro Retina. He has two speakers, their power is not specified anywhere, but it can hardly be called "outstanding". But you can’t find fault with the quality, for a laptop such a sound is already good. Low frequencies are not enough, but the overall spectrum sounds clean and detailed.

    What can we say about Gmini - the whole trinity has more low frequencies than macbook speakers. It is understandable, size matters, as they say. Sound quality, however, rather competes with the stereo speakers of tablets: there is no high intelligibility of the amplifier here: the sound is quite loud, but inferior in purity and detail to the macbook.

    As for competition within the lineup, everything here is also not as clear as we would like. The younger model is clearly designed for smartphones and cheap laptops, everything is excusable to her, she tries, as best she can, captivates with a nice appearance and very nice materials. Given its low cost - a great gift for someone: it’s useful, it looks great, and sounds more or less nice.

    CUBiC pleased with the volume and clarity of the sound against DRUMi, a good supply of bass for such a little thing, and ... suddenly a more pleasant sound than the older brother WiDE. Thanks to the bass reflex (in general, those 25 holes at the bottom of the column) and the good internal volume of the column itself.

    The older WiDE model, in my opinion, was not saved by either the "extended" stereo base or the beautiful "bjzhzh" at the opening. For reasons unknown to me, the most expensive model in the lineup plays significantly quieter if not connected to a MicroUSB connector. As if half a strength.

    In open space, the speaker capabilities are distributed exactly the same way: DRUMi is an excellent “extension” of smartphone capabilities for a modest price: it will play around a couple of meters around in a forest or park, and it doesn’t bother others, and it cheers you up. CUBiC will sound the same three, maybe five meters around, but louder. Unfortunately (and maybe fortunately), the noise of the urban environment in the park quickly eats up the distribution of music. WiDE without external power sounds at the DRUMi level.


    All three speakers honestly played the whole working day from a single charge at about ⅔ power. That is, 7-8 hours of playback is not a problem. Given the price of devices - an excellent indicator, you can take with you to nature or on a long train ride. Full charge time - about two hours, deliberately did not detect. The energy consumption in both Bluetooth connection mode and wire is practically the same. Perhaps when the battery is worn out in a couple of years of operation, the difference will be more noticeable, but a couple of years to review is too much. :)

    Simple arithmetic

    Given the difference in price and the identical capabilities of the middle and older models to overpay for the “stereo base” I do not think it is advisable: CUBiC takes up less space, sounds the same / better, costs less. The younger version is quite worth the money, but it’s better to get a little done and take CUBiC: the price-quality ratio of the whole trinity is optimal.

    Pros / cons

    The most pleasant thing in the entire Gmini mPlay line is pleasant body materials, excellently localized instructions, a neat box. Each speaker comes with a sound cable and a USB-> micro / miniUSB cable. Acoustics really look nice, not ashamed to give "as is". Bluetooth and NFC work as they should: music plays, calls and skype work. There are minuses, where without them. The main reason for their appearance is the country of origin: bright blue LEDs, which are more suitable not for notifying the device status, but for lighting a room, the “zoo” in the form of a lack of standardization: microUSB is used in two columns, miniUSB is in two columns , which is rather strange for a single line of models.  

    What would I change? Firstly, I made a cutout for the connectors on the back of the CUBiC. Sooner or later, someone will slam it with the plugged in MiniUSB or 3.5mm plug, and what will break, the connector, the board or the case is a mystery. The case looks reliable. Connectors and cable - not really. ;) Secondly, it would replace the omnidirectional bright blue LED with a neat matte orange / green / white indicator. The key is a matte LED, not a spotlight. Well, it would be nice to deal with the incomprehensible behavior of WiDE when turning off the power: maybe I just came across an unsuccessful instance.  

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