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Finally, desktop speakers that look stylish without compromising on audio quality

The Edifier QR65 speakers prove you don't need to spend thousands on high-end audio gear for room-filling sound.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Edifier QR65 speakers lit up
Jada Jones/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Edifier QR65 desktop speakers, available in black or white for $369, are perfect for people looking to upgrade their Bluetooth speaker(s). 
  • Ease of use, a sleek look, and great sound define the best parts of the QR65 speakers.
  • Their all-in-one design limits them from performing well with specific use cases like vinyl setups and Hi-Fi listening.

When I sit at my desk to work, I often play music in the background, or I'll get distracted. To get an immersive listening experience that encourages productivity, I typically throw on a pair of headphones, with my current rotation consisting of the Bose QuietComfort Ultra, Sony Ult Wear, and Sennheiser HD 660S2. 

Also: The best sound systems: Expert tested

But I live in Georgia, and the sticky summer heat is here early this year. Therefore, headphones with thick, plushy ear cups become a sauna for my ears, interrupting my jam session to cool off. So, when Edifier sent me the QR65 desktop speakers, I thought they'd be my saving grace, helping keep my music jumping throughout the workday without breaking a sweat (literally).

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For specs, the QR65 speakers sport 1.25-inch silk dome tweeters and 2.75-inch drivers with aluminum diaphragms. The tweeters reproduce high-pitched sounds, while the drivers are engineered to reproduce mid-low sounds. 

Also: These speakers deliver impressively accurate sound for any style of music

To test, I connected the QR65 via Bluetooth to my iPhone and listened to Gave Your Love Away by Majid Jordan. The QR65 have a bass-forward sound that teeters the line between too-boomy and acceptable. Fortunately, I could still hear the musical duo's harmonies, and the QR65 have a more transparent and crisper sound than a traditional Bluetooth speaker.

Compared to a Bluetooth speaker of similar audio quality, like the Sonos Era 300, the QR65 are less portable or convenient to take around town. The QR65 are meant to stay home, but their setup is simple enough to move them between rooms quickly.

These are active monitors, which means they already have internal amplifiers. Internal amps make them incredibly user-friendly and equipped with enough internal power to deliver quality sound directly from your smartphone or laptop without additional equipment.

The QR65 speakers support Bluetooth 5.3, and the connection between the speakers and my iPhone remained stable. I could take my phone out of my office and away from the speakers, and once I returned, the speakers didn't require any connection readjustments.

Also: This small Bluetooth speaker is secretly a powerhouse with room-shaking audio

The right speaker's rear has USB and ¼-inch line-in inputs for connecting to devices like CD players, samplers, equalizers, and other audio equipment that doesn't require extra amplification. It also has a sub-out input, which allows you to connect a subwoofer. Because the bass on these speakers is intense enough, and you can always intensify it more in the Edifier Connex app, a subwoofer would be boomy, muddy bass overkill.

Edifier QR65 speaker stands
Jada Jones/ZDNET

Connecting the QR65 speakers to a device via the RCA or USB ports allows you to access hi-res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz. The QR65 allowed me to listen in impressive quality, even at volumes low enough to where no one in my house was disturbed by me outwardly playing music.

Edifier's line of speakers heavily focuses on aesthetics, and the QR65 have a sleek and modern design, thanks to the LED lights that outline the speaker baffle. Behind the baffle is a mirror that gives the lights on the speaker's face a layered illusion that looks really cool.

Also: The best Bluetooth turntables: Expert tested and recommended

There are 11 preset lights you can toggle between by turning the knob on the right panel of the right speaker, and there are more light settings in the companion app. 

Despite their unobtrusive stature, these speakers can get loud and are reliable for entertaining house guests and parties. The light design can flex between a high-energy party and a laid-back get-together, and because the QR65 plugs into a power source, you don't need to worry about the speakers dying on you.

ZDNET's buying advice

Are the Edifier QR65 speakers the best-sounding speakers out there? No. But I don't believe in barricading enjoyable audio gear under a price ceiling. You don't need to spend thousands on high-end speakers to improve your audio setup; trust what your ears enjoy, not what the price tag says. I'll reiterate that there's a lot of bass with these speakers, enough to potentially muddy higher frequencies. 

But for most people using a $20-$100 Bluetooth speaker, there's no doubt the QR65 sound infinitely better. To achieve better quality than the QR65, be prepared to spend a few hundred to a few thousand more dollars. If you simply enjoy music, are looking for versatile desktop speakers, and are ready to upgrade from lower-quality Bluetooth speakers, these are the way to go.

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