The Blue Aura WS80i is a wireless speaker system that allows you to beam audio signals from any source (PC, Mac, Blu-ray player, Freeview box) anywhere around the house. Pick up a few pairs of the powered speakers and you can even beam the same audio signal to multiple rooms. It’s a potential problem solver if you’re tired of the lacklustre sound on offer from your flatpanel TV but don’t fancy going down the full 5.1-channel route.
The speakers themselves are pretty luxurious in terms of looks and build quality. Despite their inherent multimedia credentials, they have more in common with hi-fi or home cinema speakers than desktop PC ones. For example, they’re clad in a lovely faux-leather black finish that’s soft to the touch, with white stitching running along the top that gives them plenty of living-room appeal. They’re also available in white, but the black version is by far the most attractive. At 148(w) x 235(h) x 210(d)mm they’re not exactly compact, but they can easily be perched on shelves, furniture or the specially-designed stands (also available in black or white).
There’s nothing shoddy about the build quality either, and it’s not hard to see where you’re money’s going – they’re heavy, incredibly sturdy and sport a strong metal speaker mesh wedged tightly into the front. A circular LED is also found on the front, which relates to the wireless functionality as we’ll explain later. On the back of each speaker is an input for the supplied power adapter alongside a button that helps lock into the wireless signal if you have any installation problems, although that should all happen automatically.
Also in the box is a wireless transmitter, which is shaped like a little donut with a large grey button where the hole would be. Attached to it is a USB 2.0 lead that you plug into a free port on your PC, as well as a 3.5mm minijack input for use with other devices. A tiny LED glows three different colours to indicate which of the different ‘zones’ is being used.