Product: Edifier USB Soundbar
We'll be honest - portable speakers often suck, are underpowered, and feel like a hassle to carry around. But seeing as laptop speakers suck even more, we've found ourselves recently hunting around for a nice set of portable speakers. One that doesn't eat up all the room in our luggage when traveling. Today, we take a look at the slim and sexy Edifier USB Soundbar. Is this $50 package worth the space it takes up? We undress and explore this aluminum piece of art, after the jump.
The size of the Edifier Soundbar is about as wide as a Macbook Pro 13" laptop. Just a little less. In the box, you get the speaker, a nice travel pouch, a USB cable, and an AUX cable.
The speaker itself is USB powered and you can connect your iPod or external device into the AUX port. The casing itself is a very sturdy aluminum, reminiscent of the older quality designs of Altec Lansing back in the 90's.
So how's it sound? Does it sound better than your standard laptop speaker? Sure it does. As small as it is, it's still an external full-range set of magnetically shielded speakers with an integrated bass reflection port dead center. It's also quite loud. You can easily fill up a room with this little bar, no problem.
For comparison purposes, we'll compare it to similar audio systems out there. The Edifier Soundbar comes quite close to that of the iHome line of iPod speaker docks, which also means bass is basically non-existent and only slightly better than the on-board speakers itself (so bass-lovers may want to pass on this). Mid-range, however, is pretty good and definitely showcases the speakers' strengths.
However, the most questionable design implementation is the highly illogical design of the single touch volume button on the side of the soundbar. It took us a while, but we eventually figured out that holding down the button decreases the volume, while pressing it would turn it up. We understand the importance of aesthetics, but not when it potentially reduces the functionality of the product itself.
It should also be noted that the speakers on the Macbook Pro 13" laptop sounds much clearer at lower volumes while the Edifier Soundbar sounds better when it is at higher listening volume while sitting at least a couple of feet away. Soundstage is significantly different from the way standard laptop speakers are designed, so it's good to keep that in mind for what you plan on using it for.
While it's not the best sounding speakers we've heard - heck, it's far from it - that doesn't mean it won't allow you to pump your room full of music or just have your laptop play tunes at a comfortable volume into the night for sleeping purposes (we tried it last night and it was quite nice). For $50, it's not a bad deal for such incredible build quality and fits quite nicely into any travel bag for vacations. Just don't expect to throw any parties with it.
Pros: Sweet design, very portable, decent sound quality
Cons: Questionable volume control, best when listening at a distance
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did loan us the product for testing and review purposes.