When we think of portable speakers, most of us tend think shoX. There are, however, many more types of portable speakers out there, but it does take some digging and asking around to find something worth your while. The good news is that we have found a worthy opponent, in the form of the Tier One Mighty Dwarf Speaker. There are many similarities between the two, but a few noticeable differences that make truly makes the Mighty Dwarf worthy of its name. I mentioned in the review of the shoX solo that it was worth getting as a Xmas gift, but before you do just that, let’s consider our options. I’ll go through the similarities first.
As with the shoX solo, the Mighty Dwarf is both a speaker and portable music player. This means that this device can operate as a stand-alone player, by means of copying your mp3 and WMA files on the SD card provided, but can also double as a speaker for your mobile phone, PC, laptop, or anything with 3.5mm jack for that matter. Unfortunately, unlike the shoX solo, the SD card cannot be mounted to your PC/laptop. However, if you do not have SD card reader available on your PC/laptop, you can always plug the SD card into your phone, connect it, and then copy the desired files onto the SD card. A bit of a workaround, but it works. The controls are pretty much the same as well. Again there is a centralised button, the only difference being that it is not used to power on the device. Pressing play/pause is a trivial task, along with skipping forward and backwards between tracks. The trick with the volume is again to press and hold the button to the right for a few seconds to increase the volume, and left to decrease. A separate switch is used to toggle between speaker and SD Card player modes, and to power down the device. The USB cable port is situated right above the SD Card slot. An LED displays the status of the speaker. Green means that the lithium battery is sufficiently charged and turned on. The different types of red means that the device is either charging (if plugged in via the USB cable), or flashing red when the battery is low (if used in speaker or stand-alone player mode). Unlike the requirement to revert back to the User Manual when using the shoX solo for the first time, it was not required for the Mighty Dwarf. Even if you require assistance from the manual, it would be of very little use, as it makes almost no sense.
At 285g, the Mighty Dwarf is quite a bit heavier than the shoX solo, but does pack a lot more punch. Instead of the conventional method of playing sound (by passing waves through a vibrating speaker), the Mighty Dwarf relies heavily on the vibration of the object it is placed upon. Basically, most of the sound is generated on a solid surface by means of vibrations, yielding a multitude of different sounds depending on the surface. There are a few surfaces that, in my opinion, generate the best sounds, that of solid wooden, glass, and thick metal surfaces. Feel free to experiment though, the device works on plastics, car dashboards, computer cases, drawers, boxes, even chairs. And yes, I tested it on all those surfaces, and more. Heck, I even tried the vibrations against my chest to fully grasp the effect of the device. I will note that if the device were to emit no sound, the vibrations on the solid surfaces would make it a nifty instrument for those hard of hearing. The device has an omni-directional (360 degrees to be precise) sound output, with the volume generated beneath the device.
Also available for the Mighty Dwarf is a wall and door mount, allowing you to hang the speaker on a door, wall, or any other flat surface. The suction cup is very stable, and any worry of the device falling to its death is non-existent. The build of the device itself is also very strong, and has no obvious means in which to open it. The Mighty Dwarf comes in a multitude of cool colours, and its design is very clean and minimalistic, they way I prefer any device to be designed.
So before you make the decision of purchasing a shoX speaker for yourself or a loved one, be sure to check out the details on the Mighty Dwarf. I can’t really decide between the two speakers, both have their strong points. If you’re looking for an efficient, lightweight player, then the shoX solo is for you. And if you’re looking for something a bit more fierce and fun, then the Mighty Dwarf is definitely the only choice. My choice? Get both!