Our latest test platform is an ASUS laptop with an Intel core i7 CPU and, for the purposes of this review, an internal Altec Lansing SRS premium sound system. That's a pretty decent set of speakers for a medium to large laptop. And I've been pretty pleased with the results until...the folks at Audion sent me the latest USB speakers from Ravon! I’ve often been frustrated by the lack of speaker output on note- or netbooks. In particular my previous ASUS VJ1 business notebook suffered from lack of oompf in that department. You could not enjoy audio without some headphones! So as my current computer provides a good improvement for listening. I might not have looked for even more improvement but, like I said, the importer for Ravon insisted we review these slim USB speakers. So how did we fare?
Let’s talk about externals first.
The black, slim units look the part and can be used separately or hooked up together for a cleaner look. If they are going to be used on the road, portability is paramount and here the U222 also shines: the box contains a black-velvety pouch to chuck the speakers in. Full marks for design and roadworthiness. Handy are also the buttons on the right-hand side of the main unit. These are flush-mounted and work very well. This unit also contains ports for headphones and a microphone. A blue LED shows the unit is powered.
So, more importantly, what’s the sound quality like?
The small size of the speakers already indicate that you can’t expect too much in the bass department. No match for the bigger, mains-powered units but then again, that’s not why you buy these speakers. Play a song you really like on the notebook through the internal speakers and then plug in the U222 and be amazed at the difference in sound quality! These Ravon speakers really shine when watching a movie on the computer. Dialogues can be more easily followed with the greater quality these boxes provide.
Again, if you’re an audiophile you wouldn’t want these as your main speakers (you’d probably go for the Ravon F285 or similar) but if portability or having a small footprint is important, than I would certainly recommend the Ravon U222. So now I’m looking for any excuse to take them with me on my travels... Hunt around for the best price: it’ll be around the 100 dollar mark.
UPDATE: The RRP has now officially been lowered to just AUD79.95...
Even better value!
And do check out the Audion site here.
- High performance USB Speaker
- No external power needed
- Built in DA Decoder
- Full control of the Windows Media or iTunes with Play/Pause, FFD/BKW, Volume Up/Down and Mute
- Blue LED power indicator
- Detachable stand to mount the speakers into one speaker bar
- Foldable stand with 15° tilt angle for wider sound dispersion
- 2" active driver with a 2.5" passive driver per each channel
- Cool matt black grill with textured plastic cabinet
- Total Power Output: 2 x 1 Watts
- Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20KHz
- Separation: > 40dB
- S/N ratio: > 65dB
- THD: <0.7%
- Dimensions: (W) 6.7cm x (H) 15.2cm x (D) 7.5cm
- Weight: 550g
- Brand: Ravon
- Model: U222