Miniature is the name of the game with this wired speaker. Its compact design collapses when you need to tote for travel, lengthening by a simple twist when it's time to kick back and enjoy some music. There's no Bluetooth to be had with the AYL Mini, but that's where Chromecast Audio adds the magic to free you up from that auxiliary cord.
The AYL Mini Speaker measures just over 2-inches in diameter and stands approximately 1.5-inches tall when closed. The resonator uses a vacuum-bass system to deliver a rich sound and can be extended by simply twisting the top and bottom pieces of the speaker in the opposite direction — standing about 2.75-inches. It's also incredibly light, weighting in at only 80g.
The plastic shell of the speaker features a soft coating that easily collects fingerprints as soon as you get your hands on it. There's a small arch over the cone with the AYL logo that helps to keep it safe from anything puncturing it. On the bottom you'll find an on/off switch, volume dial, 3.5mm port, Mini-USB charging port, and a 5-inch headphone cable that's permanently attached with a tidy cord tunnel.
Since it doesn't utilize Bluetooth, there's no need for buttons — not that there's much room to place them. Included with the speaker is a black velvet pouch, 27-inch Mini-USB / auxiliary cable, as well as a 20.5-inch headphone extension cable (male to female) if you decide you want to connect a 2nd AYL Mini.
Sound Quality and Functionality
A single 3W, 40mm driver can be found inside with a frequency range of 300hZ - 16KHz and a signal-to-noise ratio of ≥80dB. You'll definitely want to extend the AYL Mini before playing any audio or else you end up with a horrible sounding mix that's mostly treble. Even though it's only rocking 1 speaker, it sounds great with hardly any distortion until you start peaking volume levels on your device. You could easily use this for background music in a hotel room, bedroom, or kitchen without having to crank it too high. The one thing it's lacking is bass, but for its size you can't expect the world.
Keeping the AYL Mini powered is 400mAh battery that should last up to 4-5 hours on a full charge depending on what volume level you're pushing. Since the cell inside isn't very substantial you can expect to fully charge the unit in about 2 hours.
Streaming with Chromecast Audio
Sure, you could connect the AYL Mini straight to your smartphone or tablet, but why not go the extra mile and use Chromecast Audio? Not only does it give you wireless freedom, it cuts out all those annoying notifications and incoming call interruptions that you would normally get over a Bluetooth connection. However you decide to rock this speaker, you can't go wrong with the sound quality for its size.
There are much louder speakers with thicker bass than the AYL Mini, but the compact design makes this a sweet deal for traveling. The Mini-USB charging port seems a bit archaic, but at least the cable is included so you don't have to go digging for one in that endless pit of charging cables you've been hoarding. If you want a portable speaker that is plenty loud enough for general use, this one fits the bill — especially if you have a Chromecast Audio to back it up. It also comes with a nice 3-year warranty in case you run into any issues during its lifespan.