Soen Audio has released Transit XS ($130), a smaller version of its Transit speaker, which we reviewed in 2013. Transit XS is a pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker — just slightly longer than an iPhone 6 Plus. The back of the speaker has a mount connector, which should attach to most camera mounts, as well as Soen’s included mounting clip. An audio cable and micro-USB cable are also included with the speaker, which comes in black, white, red, purple, or blue.
Transit XS is indeed pocket-sized at 6.3” x 2.7” x 1”, and weighing in at about 0.6 pounds. It’s attractively designed, too, with rubberized grips and volume and Bluetooth/play-pause controls on tope of the speaker. One side of Transit XS has a sliding power switch, audio input, and micro-USB input for charging, as well as four LEDs to show remaining battery life. The other side of the speaker has a small port for bass, while the back only has a centered mount hole.
The sound on the small Transit XS is best for personal use. Though it can reach a fairly high volume for its size, too many songs experience distortion at that level. It’s best in the mid-volume range — though the mid-volume level here is quieter than top-performing speakers of comparable size and price. Transit XS is also best when dealing in the midrange, with a nice clear sound. On particular bass-heavy songs, Transit XS does a reasonable job, while other songs find the bass somewhat lost in the mix. Soen hasn’t noted the speaker’s overall battery life.
While many Bluetooth speakers offer speakerphone capability, not much is usually made of this feature, and it often shows through poor call quality. Transit XS boasts “Precise Talk” technology, which is said to cut down on ambient noise and enhance vocals. In our testing, the speaker lived up to its claims, as we came through clearly — it didn’t sound too much different than talking on the iPhone itself.
At $130, Transit XS isn’t as powerful or effective as some of the best $100 speakers we’ve seen, but it does an admirable job at close range. The question is whether the slim pocket size and mounting ability make up for its shortcomings. If speakerphone performance is important to you, that would also take Transit XS up a notch. Someone looking for a sharp personal speaker that’s easy to transport should give Transit XS a look — for that, it earns our limited recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Soen Audio
Model: Transit XS
Compatible: All Bluetooth-equipped iPods, iPhones + iPads