As you might know, I got an Alienware M11x R2 laptop for gaming (Review and comparison between a friend's M11x R1 coming soon). I've recently been gathering components to assemble my awesome gaming bag, complete with mouse, mousepad, speakers, and headset to go along with my M11x for fragging on the go. Well… the speakers on the M11x are decent but nothing special.
When I found out Razer was making a portable set of speakers with a built in lithium battery, I knew it had to be considered for my ultimate portable gaming rig setup. Did the Razer Ferox make the cut?
The Ferox is an interesting speaker. It's diameter is about the same as a 12 oz Coke can. It stands about as tall as it is in diameter– until you press in the top. When this happens, the entire speaker seems to slowly explode giving the Ferox another centimeter of height. This opens up the speaker port for a 360 degree mesh allowing for "360 degree omnidirectional sound." Interesting…
It's powered by a lithium battery which is charged via USB. Each unit has a mini USB connection and they will work independently. That same mini USB connection is also connected to a 1/8" jack and a full USB connector to allow you to charge the speakers. It's a pretty nicely designed system.
Sound quality on the Razer is interesting. It does get very loud. The bass however is lacking. This is especially relevant considering one of the main "features" is the "expanded bass resonance chamber" that is created when the speaker expands. You don't want to listen to heavy hip-hop on these things and expect the room to shake. Actually, pretty much nothing will shake. A quick 20-100 hz test showed almost no sound emission.
Regardless, this speaker system sounds great everywhere else and gets very loud– louder than I would want in a room at max volume. This fact, plus the integrated battery make it a pretty worthy component. The battery lasts up to 12 hours– at reasonable volume I saw 9. This will be longer than all but the most intense gaming sessions.
One other negative observation I made was that while plugged into USB and audio simultaneously with the M11x plugged in to the wall a strong hum was obvious. I didn't really care however and just unplugged the USB cable and relied on the battery power to keep the speakers going.
To answer the original question, yes I did decide to keep the Razer Ferox in my bag. It's not perfect, but you have to be reasonable with these things. I auditioned a couple of other small speakers, but none had a built in battery, they weren't as compact, and they did not look nearly as awesome. Plus the sound quality wasn't much better. The Ferox are also significantly better than the M11x anyway, so it's win-win. Go get some– they're great for gaming and a lot of music.