One of the most annoying short comings of a laptop is the lack of good speakers. When you are giving a presentation or even watching a movie the laptop speakers never do justice to the audio. If you travel a lot, then lugging around a pair of big speakers is out of the question. Saitek, known best for PC gaming devices, has ventured into audio products. One of their first products is the A-200. The A-200 is a small enclosure that includes two 1.5W tweeters and a 3W downward-firing subwoofer. Even though it is small, this speaker system performs well.
- True digital 2.1 stereo delivered through two tweeters and a sub-woofer (RMS)
- Unique EAVS® (Expanded Air Volume System) expands in use to provide impressive bass range and clarity
- Neodymium speaker magnets increase efficiency and reduce magnetic interference
- Integrated volume and on/off controls, plus EAVS® activation
- Connect to all portable media players (MP3, CD, DVD, MPEG4, Sony PSP) and laptops via 3.5mm jack audio cable (provided)
- Plays up to 24hrs with 4xAAA batteries (not included), AC adapter and protective travel-case included
The first thing you will notice is how small the Saitek A-200 speakers really are. It measures only 1.8 by 5.6 by 9.0 inches. Because it is so small it will easily fit inside a laptop bag or under your arm. Because of the size, I think most people will be surprised when they turn it on. As many of you know, in order to get full bass sound out of a subwoofer you need lots of air for the speaker to work with. Saitek came up with a very unique way to provide that space and keep the device compact. You turn on the speakers by pressing on the top. When you do this, the top will expand upwards about 3/4 of an inch to form a resonating chamber — which helps the bass to sound fuller. Saitek calls this the EAVS (Expanded Air Volume System). When you are ready to turn off the speakers you just press the top back down and it reverts back to is compact form and turns off automatically.
In the effort to keep things simple Saitek did not provide a lot of buttons or connection options for the A-200 speakers. The only buttons are for volume, and the only audio connector is a 3.5-mm stereo mini plug. For most computers this will be just fine since audio output is already coming from a similar plug. If you want to hook this up to any other device that does not natively support 3.5-mm, then you will need a different cable that converts from your audio source to a 3.5-mm plug.
There are two ways to power the Saitek A-200 speakers. You can use 4 AAA batteries or an included AC adapter. Saitek claims that the speakers will run for about 24 hours on batteries.
You may think that the design is a little odd; its overall shape is that of a triangle. This design works well because it is so compact and is easy to slip into a bag. The small shape also lets you tuck it away, but with the really classy design I don’t know why you would want to.
The Saitek A-200 speakers are finished in high-gloss black, because of this they pick up fingerprints easily. To help you keep it clean Saitek has included microfiber polishing cloth. The shiny look is really nice and it fits well with just about any other decorations. If you are carrying this around with you then you will want to make sure you keep it in its case. This will not only protect the finish, but it is padded so that if you drop it the case will absorb some of the impact.
To test the performance of the Saitek A-200 speakers you really must listen to audio with them. Since most people will probably use them with a laptop or computer I wanted to test these while listening to music, video, and playing games. For their size they performed really well. You are not going to get any room-shaking bass from speakers this small, but you will be able to hear the difference when you turn the bass up. These speakers are an excellent replacement for built-in laptop speakers. Since I am not an Audiophile I will not give you any detailed analysis about how different musical instruments sounded, but I will say that keeping in mind their size, all types of music sounded rather good. If you need speakers for a large room or to cover loud noises, like a party, then you will need to find something else.
If you play a lot of games on your laptop you probably use headphones. If you use the built-in speakers you, like me, get frustrated when you cannot understand the speech or the more detailed sounds. The same is true if you watch videos on your laptop with the speakers. You are constantly leaning in or turning up the volume so that you can understand what is being said. If you use the A-200 speakers instead of the laptop speakers you will notice a huge improvement in the quality of the sound. I personally have tried watching a video with laptop speakers and with the Saitek A-200 speakers. I was very impressed and personally would never go back to just the laptop speakers.
The instructions to turn on the Saitek A-200 speakers simply say to press on the top and the speakers will turn on and the top will rise. When I first tried to turn these speakers on I did just that, and nothing happened. I had to double check that it was plugged in correctly because I expected to see the top mechanically rise up and the speakers turn on. After checking everything I tried pressing on the top again, nothing happened. I went back and re-read the manual to make sure I was doing everything correct. I was almost ready to break out my screwdriver and take the thing apart to see if it was broken. Instead I tried pressing again this time I really gave it a hard press. I had to press hard enough to cause the top to go down a little. This released the top and allowed the internal spring to raise the top, thus turning on the speakers. There isn’t a motor moving the top up and down. To turn it off you have to press the top down until it locks into place. It would be nice if the instructions had been a little clearer about this point.
If you are looking for a well designed and good looking set of speakers and you are not expecting them to be room-shakers, then I think you will be very happy. I can highly recommend these speakers to anyone who is looking for portable speakers. They perform really well, they look great, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Retail is $99 for the speakers but if you look around you can get them for much cheaper.
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