I love listening to music via my laptop - in fact I never listen to CDs any more as I have ripped all my CDs onto my Windows Media Player, and any new music I either download or listen to via Spotify. So good sound via my laptop is very important to me.
The speaker that is built in to my laptop is total rubbish, with a terrible, tinny sound, so years back I purchased a nice set of speakers that work a treat. However, I've found recently that I tend to move from room to room with my laptop, and the speakers, with their long wires, are a pain to move around with me and always end up in a tangle (often with my mouse!).
I decided that what I needed was a wire-free speaker that would simply plug into one of the USB sockets on my laptop - but I genuinely had no idea whether such a thing existed. But a quick search online revealed that what I was after was indeed out there - but there weren't as many options as I would have liked!
After checking out a few that were available, I settled on this USB speaker. They are manufactured and distributed by a company called JLAB Audio, which specialises in audio devices for consumers. You can buy direct from the JLAB website, which is US-based, but I opted to buy via amazon with some vouchers (thanks to dooyoo!). Colours available on amazon currently are white, red and pink - you can also buy in black or silver from the JLAB site. On the JLAB site the speakers retail at $39.95, but they are only £19.95 on amazon with 99p postage.
My speaker and I got off to a great start - I ordered the item on a Thursday night and it arrived on Saturday morning. The speaker was sitting in a plastic-fronted box so I could see it nestled inside - it was smaller than I expected and it's definitely a very dinky looking item. I did wonder if it would deliver on the sound front.
The speaker itself is about 9cm across, 5cm high and about 3.5cm deep, so really very small. It's curved at the sides and at the back, so there are no pointy edges or angles, and it's aesthetically very pleasing. Emerging from the bottom of the speaker is a silver flexy cord, which is just like that on an anglepoise lamp (and in fact, at a glance, this is just what this speaker resembles). It's very skinny and super-bendy. And at the other end of the flex is the USB plug. Stretched out and measured from one end to the other, it's less than 20cm long. The pink colour, if you're interested in purchasing this version, is a nice deep pink which looks cool alongside my black laptop.
So I plugged it into my laptop. Surely it couldn't be this simple? Well, yes it was. As soon as I started playing music, the sound came through my new little speaker. No set-up, no programmes to install - just plug and play.
A sound system?
So - decent price, super-fast delivery, good looks and easy to get started. But all this would still equal no stars if the sound is no good. So what's the verdict?
I'm extremely pleased with the sound quality of this speaker. It definitely isn't as good as through my other speakers, but considering the size and ease of use of the speaker, I really have no complaints. It is nowhere near as tinny as through the laptop speakers, and I am more than happy listening to music via this speaker. I also love that it swivels every which way with ease so you can point it around the room without moving the laptop itself. You can bend it up, sideways, and even upside-down if you so choose. And even at top volume (which I have just had fun testing) there is no distortion at all. For the size and price, I don't think you can expect much better than this.
MrsD's Speaker Verdict
Overall I am delighted with my purchase. If I was having a party and wanted to play some tunes, I would revert to my other speakers, but for everyday use this is more than good enough for my needs. I also love the way it looks. It's a lovely small size and it's cool, stylish and modern-looking, and people always comment on it when they see it - most of them adding: "I must get one of those!". It sits very securely in its USB port and has survived visits to various rooms in the house without falling out. And even though the flex is skinny, it doesn't droop or tilt as you may expect. You simply swivel it to where you want it, and there it stays.
If you want something that looks good and is really easy to use, and offers very good sound quality, than I would recommend this speaker.
Where to buy/price: Direct from JLAB (US-based) for $39.99 or via amazon.co.uk for £19.95 wirth 99p postage
Colours: White, pink and red (also black and silver from JLAB)
~~~ Some technical info from the JLAB website for those who are interested ~~~
Features dual 1 watt digital amps and 2 full range paper cone micro drivers for crystal clear sound. The digital circuitry on the B-Flex Laptop Speaker even works on computers without sound cards.
~~~ Specs ~~~
* Input Power: USB 5V
* Drivers: two 36mm paper cone drivers
* Output: 1 W per channel
* Frequency range: 200 - 20,000 Hz
* Resonant frequency: 200Hz
* Signal to noise ratio: >80db
* Weight: 2.8 oz
* Dimensions: 3.25in W x 7in H x 1.25in D
* Requirements: PC or MAC with free USB port
* No drivers needed for use with Win 98/2000/XP/Vista/7 (R), MAC OS(R), and GNU/LINUX(R) Kernel 2.4 and above.
* This product may not be compatible with Toshiba laptops due to Toshiba's recent change to underpowered USB ports.