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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook - Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Since the X-Fi Notebook extends quite far out when inserted, leaving it in your laptop while on the move is unlikely to be convenient, so Creative has provided a small faux-leather carrying pouch. It's a very nice touch, well-made, with a soft inner lining and a magnetic flap.

Also included is what at first glance appears to be a rather cheap set of earphones with microphone. Bundling low-end earphones with a supposedly high-end soundcard seems somewhat incongruous, but they actually sound a lot better than they look.

Despite their small size and light weight, which together with foam covers makes them comfortable to wear, their performance is superior to most bundled or even low-end retail sets. Moreover, the in-line microphone is a miniature marvel, doing a surprisingly good job of picking up speech in a noisy environment.

Installation of the card is simple: just plug it in, install the driver and you're ready to go. It's worth noting that in addition to Windows XP and Vista, the driver also offers beta support for Windows 7, though unfortunately OSX or Linux users are out of luck.

Once inserted, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook has a blue power LED that remains constant. There's also a backlit ‘connect' button, which is only used when syncing with wireless devices. Physical connectivity consists of 3.5mm headphone/line-out and microphone/line-in jacks.

Peter

June 2, 2009, 2:08 pm

Would have been nice if there was OSX support.

smc8788

June 2, 2009, 3:48 pm

@ Peter - Creative have enough problems with Windows driver support as it is without having another OS to worry about.

mike 6

June 2, 2009, 9:14 pm

Any word on whether the output level is also boosted by the card? I've had problems in the past driving "serious" headphones properly from the relatively weak output on my laptop.

DevGuy

June 3, 2009, 4:15 am

What would you suggest as an alternative? Is there anything out there in a PCMCIA form factor with better audio quality?

TechVegan

June 8, 2009, 10:40 pm

@mike:


Off the top of my head, I'd say the card might be able to solve your problem, though you may want to try before you buy, if possible.





@DevGuy:


Creative alone has a few interesting external choices, some PCMCIA and some USB-based, offering all kinds of features - though the X-Fi Notebook is the only one I'm aware of with wireless transmission.

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