The BlueAnt X1i is the latest iteration of BlueAnt’s X1 range of portable Bluetooth speakers. Read on as we look at an Australian designed and engineered speaker for the millennial set.

BlueAnt X1i Portable Speaker



While not drop dead gorgeous, the X1i is a neat little package and is far better looking in person than in its glitzy press photos. From certain angles, the top and bottom of the X1i look somewhat boxy but in person, the offending plastic ridge is both functional as a stand and visually unobtrusive.

To this end, the X1i is a near perfect, if stubby cylinder, which both looks and feels suitably geometric. In the hand, the X1i’s soft speaker mesh and silky smooth plastic finish make it a pleasant tactile experience.

Weighing in at just under 400g, the X1i’s construction feels solid and has a gentle heft to it but not so much to ever make it feel heavy or cumbersome. It would hurt if you threw it at one of your mates but it won’t weigh you down while you get in range.

On the speaker’s front are three large vertically aligned buttons, two of which are used for increasing and decreasing the volume, while the third is multifunctional. This “>” button allows for audio to be played/paused, invoking Siri/Google voice assistants (with a double click) and also to manage phone calls when connected to your mobile phone.

On the reverse side is a small loop carry handle, and a power button. Surrounding this button are LEDs that indicate power level and Bluetooth connectivity status. Below this, hidden beneath a splash proof seal, are a 3.5mm AUX input jack and a USB-C port for charging.

The top and bottom plates of the X1i’s cylinder feature a stealthy “X” logo which vibrates during use as part of the speaker port assembly.

BlueAnt X1i Portable Speaker

The speaker as a whole is well designed, feels good in the hand, has relatively well thought out button placements and would easily look at home on a desk, at the beach or bouncing around in a rucksack.

Along with the X1i Portable Speaker itself, BlueAnt provides a 1.2m USB-A to USB-C cable along with a short user manual. No power brick for charging is included. Thanks Apple.



From a pure technical standpoint, the X1i speaker performed flawlessly. There was no real setup rigmarole or having to read through the manual.. it all just worked intuitively. Our X1i came shipped with about three quarters of a charge and from depressing the power button, to pairing the speaker to our iPhone 13 mini, took all of 10 seconds.

Upon start up, a short burst of didgeridoo announces that the X1i is ready for use. Additionally, whenever a Bluetooth connection is made (or dropped) a smooth male voice makes the relevant announcement. In all my time testing the X1i I encountered zero connectivity issues whatsoever, with the unit pairing automatically to both a phone and laptop without fail.

BlueAnt were kind enough to supply two identical X1i’s for testing which allowed us to use the “Duo Mode” which essentially created a Bluetooth stereo pair. Duo Mode was initiated by pressing the plus and minus buttons simultaneously on one of the units, resulting in a neat stereo “Duo Mode Connected” announcement, again in that smooth male, if slightly American accented voice.

BlueAnt X1i Portable Speaker

Worth mentioning also was the front “+”, “>” and “-“ buttons worked really well with a nice solid click upon being depressed. Also, their symbolic design meant the buttons could easily be identified and pressed without having to look at them. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the power button. While the power buttons on both our samples were reliable and functioned perfectly, there was no tactile way of identifying them without eyeballing them. Hopefully a small raised dot or slight indentation on this button might be added in a future revision.

As a handsfree speaker, the X1i worked well. The sound from its speaker was adequate and the microphone reportedly made this reviewer’s dulcet tones sound clear and easy to understand, albeit from a relatively quiet environment.

Battery life on both our review units was in line with BlueAnt’s estimates, with each X1i taking about three hours to fully charge from empty and lasting just over 10 hours at volumes under 50% on a single charge. Worth noting is that the unit handily continues to function normally while it is being charged which was handy.



It is always complicated to comment on any product’s sound. Perceived sound quality is wildly subjective, with tonal qualities and personal preferences colouring opinions. Another factor is what you are accustomed to. In this case, my alarm is a Sonos Move. My car has a fancy aftermarket Focal setup and my lounge room is populated by some rather exquisite Bowers & Wilkins floor standing speakers.

As you can imagine, this puts BlueAnt’s $99 X1i in a pretty hostile testing environment.

BlueAnt X1i Portable Speaker

I began my aural testing of the X1is against the lowest quality portable speaker I had on hand, being the much more expensive Sonos Roam. This was quickly followed by a comparison with the even more expensive (and much larger) Move. After only a few minutes, I decided to halt this comparative testing, despite gaining some interesting insights which I’ll come back to later.

While I did listen to the speakers as stand alone units, I predominantly tested the X1i’s as a stereo pair. Having two X1i’s working in tandem obviously improved the soundscape but didn’t alter the overall sonic quality enough to affect my overall opinion.

I played a variety of music through the X1i duo, sampling from my collection of pop, 90s alternative and classical music. Music played back with a modicum of bass, with clarity remaining good up until around 80% volume where most tracks began to noticeably distort or muddy. Having said this, these little speakers packed quite a punch. At no stage during testing did I feel these speakers weren’t loud enough, in fact, quite the opposite! One of my complaints was that at the lowest volume setting, I found the X1i Portable Speaker to be too loud, particularly for background or passive late night listening.

The other volume quibble I had was the starting volume. Upon power up, the X1i’s always default to 50% volume. This might be good at parties but it wasn’t particularly conducive to late night listening! Having some way of customising this via a button sequence or even having the speaker simply remember the previous setting, might be a suggestion BlueAnt could add via a firmware update perhaps.

BlueAnt X1i Portable Speaker

The overall sound quality was good. And by good, I mean acceptable for its price point. Staying under the 80% volume threshold resulted in fairly clear highs and for its footprint, a decent amount of bass. For casual listening, these speakers did the job and did it plenty loud.

Unfortunately, when auditioned against much more expensive portable speakers, the X1is started to show notable deficiencies. Compared to even the small Sonos Roam, the dual X1i’s sounded like something was missing. The sound soundscape was by comparison, hollow. It wasn’t the bass or the highs but something in the midrange perhaps. The atmosphere or nuance. Compared to the other more expansive speakers, it was just missing something.

This lack of depth was obviously present when tested in isolation but it wasn’t particularly noticeable. It was only when he X1is were tested against far more formidable speakers, did they come undone. To this end, a single Roam produced a much wider, more airy sound compared to even two X1i’s working in stereo. In the same way the little Roam has no hope in competing against it’s bigger brother, the Sonos Move, in this field, the X1i was quite rightly, outclassed.



Power Requirements: DC 5V 2A
Power Output: 7W x2 (RMS) @10% THD
Total Max Power 14w
Frequency Response: 150-20k
Bluetooth Version: 5.3
Compatible Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, HSP, HFP
Weather Tolerance: IP56 Splash proof (whilst rear port cover is closed)
Play Time: Up to 10 hours on one charge
Voice Assistants: Google and Siri Integration (when compatible handsets are paired)
Microphone: Built in



At its price point, the sound quality is fine but to older more discerning ears, it just might not cut it. My advice would be to consider what stage you are at in your listening experience. If you are young and want to pump your favourite tracks loud like the pretty people in BlueAnt’s promotional material, the X1i works quite well, is a great price and will meet your need perfectly.

BlueAnt X1i Portable Speaker

If you have been there and done that and are wanting a more nuanced atmospheric sound, maybe consider buying a speaker for three times the price. Of course, being three times the age of the target audience, you can probably take all that with a pinch of boomer salt.

The X1i is available now and can be purchased directly from BlueAnt for a recommended retail price of $99AUD.