SoundOn Media-210 Wireless 2.1 Mac/PC Speakers Lightning Review

The Gadget: A set of 2.1 speakers (two satellites + a sub) that can connect wirelessly to your Mac or PC via a USB dongle to provide audio playback across a room. It uses the crowded 2.4GHz band, which receives interference from other equipment in your house like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, microwaves and cordless phones, but allows you to wander with your laptop will still keeping the music going.

The Price: $US249 - (Costco has it for $US199 here)

The Verdict: Good functionality coupled with decent sound quality and compact-ness makes for a good buy if you have an 802.11n laptop or like to share speakers among various computers.

The Media-210 works exactly as advertised, beaming USB audio over the air to the 2.1 speakers located across the room. The major caveat with using the USB dongle with a laptop is that the laptop NEEDS to use either 802.11a or 802.11n's 5GHz frequency, because using 80211b/g/n on a 2.4GHz frequency will give you frequent audio dropouts and constant interruptions to your Wi-Fi connection. No good. Only people with N and A laptops, or laptops using Ethernet, should consider buying this.

Once hooked up correctly, the sound flows uninterrupted through the powered—so they're only wireless to your laptop—satellite speakers. The audio quality is good, but not flawless; the bass is a bit light and everything just sounds slightly muffled. It's ten times better than what the speakers on your laptop, but not quite as good as the best 2.1 desktop-class wired speakers.

It's definitely better than the $159 wireless Mint 220 speakers, trading in an iPod dock slot for a subwoofer and better audio quality. It's also about $US100 more expensive than the Mint (or $US40ish if you're getting it at Costco). If you're often working on the couch or on the patio or in the bathroom—anywhere where you want a decent set of speakers but don't want to lug them around with you—this is definitely a good buy. [Sound On and Costco]

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