LAPTOP SPEAKERS, On-The Go, or Easy Stow…
© 2011 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The built-in sound system in most laptops, handheld devices and some digital video cameras leaves much to be desired. The problem is the amplification factor is insufficient in combating ambient sounds. Yes, headsets are one solution, but they limit the ability of sharing sound tracks with others in the room.
When selecting external speakers several factors need to be considered. Size, portability and amplification at a reasonable price are the main features to consider. I tested units by Cyber Acoustics and WoWee One.
The Cyber Acoustics CA-2988 is a USB-powered stereo system with 2“ full range drivers. A magnetic clamp design locks the two speakers together for storage in the supplied cloth case. An audio cable plugs in to your 3.5mm headphone jack while a USB cable inserts into your USB 2.0 port and provides power to the speakers. The speaker connectors plug into the bottom rear of each unit and complete the base mount allowing them to be positioned upright. Volume level control is accomplished by your devices volume control. The amplification factor is about 2.5 times the sound level of your internal speaker’s volume and provides for a more then adequate comfortable sound reproduction.
(TIP: The magnetic clamp design is great for keeping the units in place while transporting, however care should be taken to avoid close proximity contact with magnetic storage devices or pre-recorded tapes as full or partial erasure could take place.)
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H H H
The WoWee One Classic is a compact unit that claims as much as 3 octaves of frequency response below the low-end base cut-off of traditional units. It uses a 20-hour, rechargeable internal battery power supply and an audio cable plugged into your 3.5mm headphone jack. The battery may be charged with a supplied USB cable or an external charger. Once again, volume adjustments are made with your devices volume control. While supplied with stereo plugs, there is no speaker separation since this is a single self-contained unit resulting in monaural reproduction. On the plus side, this speaker may be placed in the users pocket when used with iPod, iPad and various Smartphones. The amplification factor is 2.5 to 3 with a very discernable base response.
(TIP: Maximum base response is achieved when the unit is placed on a hard surface, not in your pocket.)
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H H H
If you simply want louder audio with normal frequency response and portability the Cyber Acoustics CA-2988 is a great solution at a good price. If, on the other hand, you want music quality sound with a wide frequency response with emphasis on base response, and stereo separation is not a concern, the WoWee One Classic is worth considering. I should notice that at high volume levels some distortion may be noted, but then some music formats purposely create distortion as an effect. Both units are available on-line and at retail.
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.