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Asus UBoom 2.1 Notebook Soundbar review

Verdict:

Asus's UBoom looks attractive, but its poor sound quality means it's not good value.

Review Date: 31 Dec 2009

Price when reviewed: £46

Supplier: http://www.scan.co.uk

Reviewed By: Alan Lu

Our Rating 2 stars out of 5

Asus's UBoom 2.1 all-in-one speaker can be used with any computer, but is designed specifically for laptops. It's weighty, however, and so not ideal for mobile use. Sitting behind your laptop, it can also act as stand to prop up your laptop at an angle. This increases the height of both the screen and keyboard, which some may find more comfortable, but we found the keyboard was too angled for comfortable use. Using it this way also blocks access to any ports on the rear of your laptop.

In addition to the usual 3?mm stereo input, the UBoom has a built-in USB sound card, so you can connect your laptop either way. Our Windows 7 and Vista laptops didn't need any extra drivers when used in USB mode. You can connect another audio device to the UBoom through the stereo input, and if that device is switched on it overrides the USB sound card.

Unlike other compact, all-in-one speakers aimed at laptop users, the UBoom has a reasonable amount of stereo separation so it doesn't sound like a mono speaker. Unfortunately, overall audio quality is disappointing. Although classical and jazz tracks sound reasonably clear, pop and rock music suffered from a weak and flat-sounding bass. The UBoom's worst flaw is its excessively bright and harsh high end, which becomes progressively more noticeable as you increase the volume. This makes it uncomfortable and tiring to listen to music for even short periods.

A set of speakers that can also be used as a laptop stand is a neat idea. Unfortunately, Asus's UBoom 2.1 Notebook Soundbar is too poorly designed for us to recommend. Its design means it's not suited for all laptops as a stand, while its sound quality is disappointing. Logitech's X-230 2.1 speakers may not look as striking, but they sound far superior.

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