Sound Blaster Axx SBX20 Bluetooth Portable Speaker Review
Feb 08,2013 0 Comments
Creative Labs have had a huge range of audio equipment on the market over the years, covering just about every facet of gaming audio as well as branching out into the realm of personal and portable audio as well. The shift from awesome sound cards and multimedia speaker systems into the world of headsets and portable speakers has been a stepped progression for Creative Labs, but it seems as though they are fairly dedicated to the market now. And the reduction in speaker system’s and sound card solutions overall from that company is another clue to the new found direction that Sound Blaster is headed.
All of this does make a degree of sense because we are now well and truly in a world of portable devices and people are spending more time on the go and not just fixed in one position as they once were. Now consumers have more and more tablets, smartphones and laptops – it’s a matter of catering to a market.
The Sound Blaster Axx SBX20 is a portable speaker that stands quite tall with controls built into the top and a thin cloth covering the sides of the unit.
The SBX20 is quite a heavy speaker which is always a good sign in our experience and seems to be built from good quality materials. The only label on the unit is a small Sound Blaster emblem on the top. Facing the rear of the unit is a USB power connection, a headphone jack and an AUX connection for devices not featuring Bluetooth. There is also a small bass port that is actually oblong rather than circular like most.
Also of interest is the iPhone app that can be scanned via the barcode QR on the box and downloaded via your smartphone in order to control the SBX20. This app allows for basic controls over the unit. Interestingly though, this app is being used to sync the unit with the smartphones ‘iPod’ function, which we felt was arguably better than the actual app is. We suspect this allows for multi-platform use and may be necessary for Google Android users, but don’t quote us on this.
On the surface the SBX20 looks like an interesting product on its own, but as a successor to previous Sound Blaster Bluetooth solutions, it does have something to prove today. In terms of connecting the unit for use we had no problems whatsoever, and were able to get things going in a couple of moments, thanks to a well-designed Bluetooth system that syncs quickly and easily. For connection of other devices there is the AUX port, but today for testing we used the Bluetooth functionality with an iPhone.
From a technical perspective the SBX20 is a feature laden product in its own right that promises to deliver a lot. Probably the most notable of all the features is the SB-Axx1 processor which basically is the thing that makes the SBX20 sound good even if the input quality of the audio is not fantastic.
In the past we have been pleased with the Bluetooth processing ability of several similar products tested from Sound Blaster. This is why we have little to no doubt that they will be able to make the SBX20 sound great. In terms of other features of interest is the call function which allows you to make and receive calls using the SBX20 and even tailor a sweet spot for your own voice using another built in function. Lastly of interest here is the control software that can be downloaded for use on a smartphone. Now we do agree this is a good idea in principal, we did not find the app to be overly intuitive nor really interesting to use. But many may well enjoy it more than we did.
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