The Harman Kardon Esquire Mini. Such an elegant name. It felt so good in my hands like an expensive cigarette case.
Flat and weighty and rimmed with frosted aluminium, with a kickstand that flips out with a full-bodied thud. Buy it in Black, brown créme and white colours. There’s an optional leather strap that you can attach to it, for your creative usage.
Stated 8 hour battery life, with speakerphone and mini-jack input. There’s a neat little row of indicator lights on the left side of its aluminium rim to indicate battery life. A full-sized USB port allows charging of a smartphone. I was told by the sales guy that it could fully charge an iPhone. I have not put that to the test but it seems feasible.
Now that I have given it enough credit......
Like a pebble in the shoe, Harman Kardon should pluck this stone out from their portable speaker lineup. I simply adore their Omni line of compact home speakers, but seriously, have any of their engineers ever listened to this crap?
I played my usual ‘Have a good time’ by the Brand New Heavies. There was simply no bass to speak of. It sounds like the tap-taps my fingers make when I'm typing out an angry article about a mediocre product by a well-known company. The mids distorts, the highs distorts, there was no discernible quality of anything I heard! I tried maxing the volume on the speaker and it was still so soft! I even double-checked whether my phone volume was maxed out yet. I stopped the track after 60 seconds, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Then I thought maybe I was being too harsh. I decided to give it a chance. After all, this is a flat and small speaker. Maybe it could handle vocals instead? I played ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ from the ISSE 2013 album. Instead of a smooth baritone voice trying to coax the girl of his dreams, I heard what sounded like a rapist trying to stop a frightened girl from leaving his home. I kid you not, it was that bad. Both the male and female vocals were shrill and harsh sounding. Again, after 60 seconds I stopped.
I decided that if anyone was going to buy this piece of elegant-looking junk, it was the CEO who wants to pick up a last-minute gift without caring about the sound or the price, only the looks. What pisses me off the most is its price. A freaking $228! I wouldn’t pay $99 for this!
LP verdict for the HK Esquire Mini is 'Buy an actual cigarette case!'