Opera Mini review

Superbly built small speakers that’ll work well close to a rear wall Tested at £650

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A real step up from the old model. These Operas are good enough to challenge hard for class honours


  • +

    Beautifully built and finished

  • +

    excellent integration


  • -

    Small size means limited bass extension and volume levels

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Opera has a problem. Its name implies any speaker it builds specialises in just a narrow band of music. In the past this was true: a fluid, full-bodied midband, coupled to top-class refinement and a smooth tonal balance were all standard issue for the brand. Use an Opera speaker with classical music, particularly the small-scale variety, and it would shine without fail.

However, put on something more energetic – the twin Rs of rock and rap, or even some upbeat pop, such as Madonna – and things would fall apart faster than a reality-TV contestant's post-show career.

A Mini adventure
Take a listen to the brand new Minis and you'll know that things have changed. Yes, they're small, so require a close-to-wall position to sound balanced. But once that's done, you'll be greeted by a beautifully integrated sound and a sonic image substantial enough to fool you into thinking you're hearing something larger.

The Minis have attitude, too, and while they'd still not be our first choice as party speakers, they'll deliver the likes of George Clinton with a fair degree of verve. All of which, on top of the Opera brand's traditional sonic strengths, makes this a formidable design.

So we know that the Opera Minis sound good, and cover most sonic bases with a fair degree of skill. What you won't know is that they are beautifully built – well enough to make otherwise very impressive rivals seem just that little bit ordinary.

Classy lookers
The Minis' cabinets may no longer be solid hardwood, as in earlier Opera speakers, but the combination of curved MDF, lovely real wood veneers and leather-effect front baffles looks classy in the extreme. The Minis could cost twice as much and we'd still be impressed by the build and finish.

If you want a pair of superbly built small speakers that'll work well close to a rear wall the choice is limited. The Opera Minis would be high up on our shortlist.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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