Although it bears more than a passing resemblance to XtremeMac’s Tango Bar, Edifier’s new Sound to Go Plus ($50) is a different kind of speaker. Instead of being designed to sit under your iMac’s screen, this much smaller sound bar can be tossed in a bag and plugged into your MacBook. With a rechargeable lithium battery inside, you’ll get ten hours of playtime off of each charge—more than enough for a day’s use outside. Updated x2 with hands-on pictures and impressions!
Sound to Go Plus hooks up to any Mac using an included USB cord, but can also connect to various audio sources through an auxiliary port. Instead of trying to squeeze in a full range of drivers, Edifier settled for twin 1.25” full range drivers it claims offer “remarkable sound.” We should have one in hand shortly to see just how impressive the audio is on this otherwise sharp-looking compact speaker.
Update: We’ve just had a chance to unbox Sound to Go Plus and the first thing we took note of is just how small the speaker is—it’s even narrower than an 11” MacBook Air. The build is much sturdier than we were expecting, with metal used for the body instead of plastic, though Edifier’s thin, pill-shaped rubber feet on the bottom might benefit from better adhesive: one was stuck to the inside of the packaging rather than the speaker when it arrived. On either side you’ll find a big round volume button, with no power button in sight; you press both buttons at the same time to turn Sound to Go Plus on or off, a smart way to reduce the number of controls while increasing the size of the ones that remain.
In testing, we found that Sound to Go Plus delivers far louder sound than the speakers inside MacBook Airs and most MacBook Pros, including legitimate stereo separation and respectable clarity given the low cost, with a midrange and mid-treble focus. Bass isn’t phenomenal, and distortion is slightly apparent at the speaker’s loudest level, but given the price and general build quality, no one’s going to complain. It would be easy to see Apple itself releasing something just like this product, albeit with fully wireless connectivity that this unit lacks; wires are the only thing that detract from its elegance.