If you rely on a notebook for your computing needs, then you may be less than happy with the quality of output from its built in speakers. Notebooks, especially those aimed at the business community, aren’t renowned for great quality sound output.
Not surprisingly, you can get a number of speakers designed to help with this problem and give you the kind of sound quality that will see you through delivering a presentation to a group, or watching a movie at home.
The Edifier Soundbar USB is one such speaker. It is a triangular tube with a brushed aluminium finish. It is reasonably small at 261mm x 23mm x 44mm and comes with a drawstring carrying pouch.
The design is such that in many cases you’ll be able to sit the Soundbar USB in the cavity between the bottom of a notebook’s screen and the back of its keyboard without interfering with either. Where that won’t work, the speaker can, of course, sit comfortably on a table.
However it sits, you’ll want Edifier Soundbar USB fairly centrally positioned to make the most of its stereo capability.
The Soundbar is powered via its USB cabled connection to your PC so there’s no internal battery to charge, and it comes with an AUX cable so you can play sounds from an external device such as an iPod. In this instance the Soundbar will still need power, which means it’ll still need to be connected to your PC.
At one end of the triangular chassis are the USB and AUX connectors. At the opposite end is a combined on/off switch and volume controller with a blue light behind it when the device is powered. This is the most iffy part of the whole design. You long press this button to decrease volume and repeatedly press it to raise volume. It is not particularly intuitive and we’d have preferred a wheel or slider for volume control.
The speakers are magnetically shielded, and there is a bass reflection port sitting in between the left and right pairs.
We tested the Edifier Soundbar USB with a couple of laptops playing sound from a movie DVD and from our music library. We also plugged in an iPod to see how well it fared with music from an external source.
There are obvious limitations with a speaker like this and we found it particularly lacking in bass tones. But the sound is reasonably rounded and certainly good enough to cope with multimedia presentations in many business situations and to play back a movie at the end of a long day on a business trip. We’d have liked a tad more volume, but considering the price we were pretty impressed.
The Soundbar USB costs £39.99 and comes with a two year manufacturers warranty. More information here.