Laptop speakers have never been known for their god-like performance or ability to offer up dedicated speaker quality, and if you have ever bought a laptop with branded speakers such as ‘Beats’ or ‘Bang & Olfusen’, then you will have likely found yourself disappointed by their weedy playback and their non existent ability to fill a room.
There are two things you can do to solve the above. The first option is to purchase a pair of stationary speakers, usually a 2.1 system comprising of speakers and sub, and plug your laptop or Ultrabook in when you work at your desk. The second option is to invest in a portable speaker, which can be moved around from place to place with relative ease.
Today for review we have a portable speaker from Edifier, a company I personally know very well after reviewing a number of their products in 2011 including docks for your smartphone, 2.1 systems for the PC and TV systems for home media use.
Read on to find out whether the Edifier MP250 Sound to Go portable speaker is the answer and solution to your puny Ultrabook speakers. Note: Images to be added shortly.
Edifier products tend to win a lot of design awards and the MP250 is one such product carrying a chip on its shoulder thanks to a nod from Reddot who crowned this speaker the Design Award for 2011.
In the real-world, the MP250 is a very good looking bit of equipment. It’s mainly brushed aluminium like you will find on a lot of Ultrabooks or Apple’s Macbook line, whilst the front mesh protecting the speakers within is aluminium too, however black in order to create a more seamless product. The sides of the product are gloss black plastic of a ribbed texture, however this only makes up around 5% of the device overall. The shape of the speaker can be best described as a wedge, and it certainly looks sleek compared to a lot of portable speakers we have seen in recent years.
Thanks to being predominately made from aluminium the MP250 is sturdy too, with a nice even weight to it and a feeling of durability comes across as soon as you take it from the packaging. On the bottom of the speaker are two long rubber feet which act as grips to ensure the speaker doesn’t budge during usage, whilst also creating a small surface area for vibration to escape through in order to generate a higher quality sound overall, something which a lot of reviews have missed.
On the left hand side of the speaker is a mini-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. These are not protected by way of covers or flaps, however we reckon’ this should not be an issue overall as the majority of smartphones and tablets skimp these features, and cost much more than this humble speaker. On the right hand side of the speaker is an easy to use volume button, which some reviewers have noted as being difficult to operate; we see no reason as to why this may be, because quite simply you click it repeatedly to turn volume up or hold it down to lower volume. Besides, you’ll most likely be using the controls on your Ultrabook to change volume anyway.
The Edifier Sound to Go MP250 speaker connects to your laptop or Ultrabook through USB. Sorry, folks, there is no Bluetooth version to this speaker, however there may be one on the horizon from future Edifier releases (we sure hope there is!).
The inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack is neat though, enabling you to use this speaker not only with a computer but also any tablet or smartphone. This is perfect for playing unnecessarily loud music on a train with your buddies, for example.
Setting up the speaker on my laptop and desktop PC was incredibly easy. All you need to do is simply plug the speaker in to your computer via USB, wait 10 seconds for it to communicate with said machine, and play a song. The speaker unfortunately does not have an in-built power supply courtesy of a rechargeable battery, so you’ll want to make friends with the USB cable supplied.
So the design of this portable speaker is great, connecting the speaker to a laptop is easy, and you are practically sold on purchasing one. Are there any downsides?
Sound quality, for one. Sure the MP250 is louder than the majority of laptop speakers, and sure it handles low and mid range better than most, however just like laptop speakers the Sound to Go is absent of any bass. Therefore anybody hoping to be able to listen to any form of music with a pronounced bass line, or even beat, will be left disappointed.
With that said movies sound good. The latest Mission Impossible film sounded great and the explosions were well handled. YouTube sounds great too, as do TV programmes on the BBC iPlayer.
Perhaps then this speaker is best left in a bag and brought out for films / media only, as playing music on the thing isn’t as great as say a dedicated 2.1 speaker system (note we are reviewing the Edifier Aurora 2.1 system as we speak).
For MP3 player and smartphone users though this speaker should be on your shopping list, as it is way louder than any speaker your little device has with far better audio quality too.
So in a nutshell? Louder than normal laptop speakers, however not of a higher quality for music with the volume turned up full. Keep the speaker at around half volume, though, and the sound quality is very good.
Despite being made from aluminium and sporting a build quality likened to very expensive products, the Edifier Sound to Go can be picked up for as little as £19. Yep, £19, a fantastic price for a product which could retail for so much more.
Taking in to account this products modest price we can’t complain that it does not feature Bluetooth. With that said, however, I feel there is room for an Edifier Sound to Go Bluetooth edition, which even if it retailed for £20 more, would still be a great price and buy for any laptop / Ultrabook owner.
I like the Edifier Sound to Go however it does have its issues. Namely, there should be a Bluetooth option for this speaker in this day and age, and the sound quality for music isn’t very good when turned up full.
With that said, the MP250 is very well priced, is loud enough to fill a small room and looks fantastic. If you can live with the lack of bass and having to connect it via USB or 3.5mm jack, we recommend this as an upgrade to your current Ultrabook speakers, or as an accessory to your smartphone / tablet.