Hooked Up - Cyber Snipa Sonar Portable Mini Speaker

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posted 9/19/2011 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
Platforms: Multiple
Welcome to Hooked Up, the Gaming Nexus series that puts the spotlight on gaming related products that impact the Video Game experience.  This week we take a look at Cyber Snipa’s Sonar Portable Mini Speaker.
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What is it?
The Cyber Snipa Sonar Portable Mini Speaker is a single speaker designed to attach to any device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack.  It has a unique patented Vacuum-Bass System that allows it to deliver a larger sound field than most speakers of this size.  It is packaged with a carrying pouch, extension/Charging Cable and Instruction Guide.



Impressions
I have always been a bit leery of the mini and micro speakers that are made for portable devices, as they usually do not deliver on the promise of making your device sound better.  I have finally found one that will with Sonar from Cyber Snipa.  When I pulled it out of the box, I could tell this was “different” from most $20 portable speakers just by how it felt.  It had some weight to it, was very solid and has a nice finish on it.  It doesn’t look, feel or most importantly, sound cheap.  What makes the speaker so good is the combination of sound quality, portability and being rechargeable.  You can take this thing anywhere you want to hear audio, whip it out, and create a nice little listening experience for yourself.  It also comes in handy when streaming movies, audio, websites, you tube or anything where you want to share the audio with those around you.  My son is fascinated with those Angry Birds videos, so the Sonar did quite a bit of oinking and squawking during testing.

The important thing when testing a product like the Sonar is to keep in perspective the price and product expectations when putting them through their paces.  It is a $20 micro speaker that has 3 watts of power and a frequency range more akin to a tweeter or mid-range speaker than a bass driver.  There are many things that make this speaker great, including being rechargeable, expandable and the sound.  While the measurables suggest it won’t be any better than your run of the mill portable, the Vacuum-Bass system allow it to sound bigger than it really is.

Pros
Rechargeable
Inexpensive
Very good sound
Well-built product
Plenty of cord length

Cons
None that I could find


Gaming Impact
As portable gaming continues to grow in popularity, developers will continue to push the envelope for graphics, gameplay and audio.  Where the Sonar comes into play is providing an option for much better audio range for games on small devices like the iPod Touch, DS, PSP and cell phones.  I spent several hours playing through games on my iPod Touch, laptop, DS and even pulled the PSP out of hibernation.

I think the best gaming performance came from the DS and PSP, as the audio in those games seemed to be more “robust” than most of the iPod touch titles.  However, they all sounded much better than anything the speakers on the devices were capable of.  One interesting side note is that the audio classic coin-op arcade games I have on the iPod (such as Dig Dug, Galaga, The Simpsons, Pac Man, etc.) seemed to sound more like the original arcade machine than I remember from the iPod speakers or headphones.  It is something quirky, but I wanted to mention it for those that enjoy retro gaming.

After spending a lot of time gaming with the Sonar, I think this is a great add-on for those that appreciate the audio soundtrack within games.  Like a good set of headphones, the Sonar can make the difference between just enjoying a game on a portable device and becoming totally immersed in that game.


The Skinny
The Cyber Snipa Sonar Portable Mini Speaker was a huge surprise to me with the quality of sound that it delivered. While I was not expecting, nor did it produce, the deepest of bass, it did a very good job of providing excellent sound across a wide variety or songs, movies and games.  The 18” extension cable allows the Sonar the perfect amount of distance from your device to have the freedom to play games and not get tangled up.  For anyone looking to add a portable speaker(s) to your portable device, the Cyber Snipa Sonar would be an excellent option.

Miscellaneous Items of Note
-Do not pull the resonator apart, let it naturally spring into position
-Like any speaker, “break it in” by using it at low volumes for a while before pushing it
-You can daisy chain multiple units to create a bigger sound field
-Lithium Ion battery is rated to hold a 4-hour charge
-Extension cable is 18” long

 
Testing Methodology
The Cyber Snipa Sonar Portable Mini Speaker was tested using an iPod Touch, Nintendo DS Lite, Sony PSP1000 and ASUS Gaming Laptop.


Where to Find/Buy
The Cyber Snipa Sonar Portable Mini Speaker can be purchased for $29.95 directly from Cyber Snipa, $24.54 at Amazon.com, $39.99 at Newegg or $$19.99 at TigerDirect.


If you have a gaming related product or accessory that you would like to see featured in Hooked Up, please contact the Author regarding inclusion.
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