Increasingly notebook speakers are getting more and more sophisticated. Larger machines, like the Toshiba Qosmio G50-115 or the Acer Aspire 8920G, come crammed full of sub-woofers and several tweeters, producing sound that's suitably impressive. Even smaller machines, like the Toshiba Portégé M800-106 and Satellite A300-177, have got in on the act. Indeed, in terms of notebook audio, Toshiba is leading the way.
Yet, this isn't the case with all notebooks and however good the audio produced by the integrated speakers, it's unlikely to better a set of dedicated speakers. Of course, the likes of the Creative Gigaworks T3 2.1 speakers can be a bit heavy duty and while the likes of the Gigaworks T20 and Gigaworks T40 2.0 speakers are nice alternatives, and ones we greatly admire, they're both full-range speakers with a lighter level of bass response. It is here where Edifier's miniature set of 2.1 speakers, the M300 Plus, come in. Retailing for less than £50 and coming in their own bespoke carry case, they can sit on your desk or go everywhere your laptop goes.
As a design they're truly ingenious. Comprising of a 2in tubular sub-woofer and two globe-like 1.5in mid-range/high frequency drivers, they're the model of simplicity and unlike most 2.1 systems are incredibly discreet. This is largely because the sub-woofer simply sits behind your laptop out of sight, acting as a hub for the inputs, outputs and power while the two tweeters feed outward and sit either side of the screen.
Vitally, the wires leading from the base unit to the tweeters are quite short and though this might ordinarily be a problem, it ensures you never have an annoying surplus of cable cluttering your desk. So, for their purpose, this arrangement is more or less ideal.
Indeed, you're more likely to encounter clutter depending on where the audio outputs on your notebook are placed but even here Edifier has been very clever, bundling both a longer 3.5mm audio cable with a regular plug and a shorter one with a right angle plug. This means you can use the cable that best suits your own setup.
In addition to this ingenuity, the set look really cool too. That magnetically shielded black aluminium sub-woofer looks funky and unusual, like a UFO, matching the all-black finish with some nice glossy black plastic accents on the bass ports at either end. This design is complements by the elegantly sculpted globe shaped tweeters, also in black; with the right one including a couple of easy to use volume buttons that when pressed together activate a fade-in/fade-out mute function as well.