Review: The Nokia MD-11 Mini Speaker


So, no matter how good the speakers in our phones get, they just wont ever be able to compare to a dedicated, powered speaker. There’s just not enough room in our progressively skinnier and skinnier handsets to put in any kind of acoustic muscle.

One solution is, of course, a good pair of headphones–but sometimes you want to share. Recently, at a rooftop party, the only music we could play was off of someone’s iPhone, and it didn’t sound very good at full volume.

The correct solution is a portable speaker, so lets take a look at Nokia’s tiny monster of portable audio!

About the size of a dinner roll, the MD-11 is a small, skater helmet shaped, battery powered mono speaker that can be connected to any device sporting a headphone jack.

It’s an elegantly simple affair; 3.5mm jack and a power switch. That’s it. No need for a volume rocker. You’ll control the volume from your phone/mp3 player/tablet. The only fanciful element is a white LED to let you know the unit is powered on.

The design of the unit is sporty, covered in a nice soft-touch grippy surface. You wont be concerned about finger prints and smudges, nor will you fear chucking it into a duffel bag or backpack. It feels very solid.

A set of AAA batteries will power the unit for hours of playback. In using it for the two weeks I had it, I didn’t have to swap batteries from the original set.

So how does it sound?

In a word? Good.

In nine words? MUCH better than the speaker built into your phone!

It’s not only substantially louder, it’s also clearer. When pushed to it’s limits (by maxing the volume on my phone) the sound doesn’t get harsh or distorted. Though it’s only mono, music and movies sound clear and present. But don’t take MY word for it, check out this video I made comparing the MD-11 to my phone’s built in speaker!

There is an option to daisy chain two MD-11 units for stereo sound, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try that out. I’m sure it would sound good, but honestly it seems like it would be a touch unwieldy in use–having multiple devices attached to your phone or mp3 player seems less and less “portable”.

At a street price under $20, the MD-11 is also one of the more cost effective solutions for portable audio. It wont be a device you use all the time, but for those opportunities where you want to share, it’ll really come in handy.