Cambridge Audio Minx Air 100 speaker review
It might not look as fancy as certain other wireless speakers (step forward B&W A5), but the Minx Air 100 makes up for this in other ways. As well as supporting AirPlay, it also plays nicely with non-Apple devices thanks to the inclusion of Bluetooth as well.
See also: B&W A7 review
Not only that, but the Minx Air 100 can use your home network to stream internet radio and other services such as Spotify, Last.fm, iPlayer Radio and more. The speaker comes with 10 preset internet radio stations, but you can change these to your favourites using the free MinxAir app for iOS or Android devices.
For streaming high-quality, uncompressed music to the Air 100, you can use the wired network socket on the back of the unit and there are minijack and RCA connectors so you can use the speaker with other devices that lack any kind of wireless connectivity (your TV, for example).
Playing music via Bluetooth is as simple as it should be - there's a pairing button on top of the unit) and we had no problems using a variety of smartphones including Android and Windows Phone 8 handsets. A bonus is support for apt-X, which offers considerably higher quality than standard MP3-quality Bluetooth. You need a sending device which supports apt-X, though.
Setting up the Minx Air 100 for AirPlay is a slight faff, but the big printed guide takes you through the process step-by-step. Essentially, it acts temporarily as a wireless hotspot, so you can connect to its web-based management pages. Once you've configured it for your router, it will connect to your Wi-Fi network.
It's good to see a bass control on the back of the Air 100, but you get more control in the app, which offers a range of EQ settings, and volume of course. The bundled remote isn't great, but you're unlikely to need it much (it's the only way short of using the app to get at the last five internet radio presets).
Cambridge Audio has used a pair of its 4in BMR (balanced mode radiator) drivers which move more air than traditional cones of the same size. Bass is strong - if you want it to be - and there's good mid-range punch. Being the smaller brother of the Air 200, the 100 may not fill as big a room but, for the compact size, you won't be disappointed with the sound quality.
Although it isn't a portable speaker, the Minx Air 100 is one of the most versatile wireless speakers around. Its ho-hum looks matter not when you consider it has apt-X Bluetooth and AirPlay support, and it sounds great to boot. You can get better sound if you spend an extra £100, but it's good value at this price.