A lot of my life revolves around traveling to clients or conventions, so when I watch something on my laptop or listen to music, the speakers on my laptop just don’t sound that nice. I could plug in a good headset, but most of the time I want to be able to hear the sounds without having to resort to wearing something. What I really would like is some highly portable, good sounding speakers to take with me on trips.
Enter Razer and the Razer Ferox portable speaker system. Razer’s done one set of speakers before in the Mako, which we really enjoyed, so I’m not surprised that a company known for gaming peripherals would release a set of portable speakers. What we have in the Razer Ferox is two very small speakers that can put out some nice, loud clear sound.
Right off the bat, you can see that the Ferox speakers are two circular black speakers that take up very little room. I mean, these things are tiny. Each speaker housing contains a 30mm neodynium magnet driver and can output 3W. They also contain a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours of continuous play. The design of the Ferox allows for sound to travel 360 degrees from the speaker, rather than one direction that most speakers are capable of. Because of this design, you’ll be able to hear clear sound no matter how you are facing the speakers, similar to the Mako.
On the bottom of each speaker is a nice looking circular LED that indicates a few things. When it’s blinking and plugged into a USB port, it lets you know it’s charging. A full lit LED means the speakers are on and ready to output sound. Blinking red means you have to charge up soon or risk having the Ferox speakers run out of power. The blue glow is rather serene and I do enjoy the looks of it when it’s on. It’s not distracting, although I do wish there was an option to either turn them off or dim them even more.
Each speaker is connected via a mini-USB port. The wire that Razer provides has two mini-USB plugs at one end while the the other end features a 3.5mm plug and a regular USB plug. I would’ve liked to have seen micro-USB used here as micro-USB is more rugged and can take more abuse than mini-USB. Also, since the cable’s pretty unique, you’re going to have two paperweights should you lose the cable or should something happen to it.
Since each speaker can be used as either left or right, the only way to tell which is which is to look at the label on the wire. Unfortunately, the L and R letters are on “top” of the USB plug that gets hidden when you connect it to the speakers. I would’ve preferred to have seen the letters be underneath where the view would not have been obstructed and you could easily tell which speaker is left or right without having to unplug the cable. Yes, you should really see which side is being connected before you plug the cable in and setup, but those with very bad short term memory like me, we need all the help we can get. It’s a small quibble though, but one I wanted to point out.
As I mentioned earlier, each speaker holds a rechargeable battery than can be recharged from any powered USB port. The USB connection is only used to recharge the battery so you can’t plug it into a computer and expect sound without plugging in the 3.5mm plug. The batteries are also non-removable so when they start losing their charge, that’s going to be it for them.
A neat little feature is the way you turn the Ferox on. On top is a “button” that you press down to raise the speakers and expose the grill and drivers. They are spring loaded and rise up in a nice, slow, smooth motion. To turn off, just push down on top again to lower it and lock into place. Raising the top without the cable plugged in won’t turn on the speakers, which is nice should you be traveling with the set and accidentally raise the top.
The package comes complete with a nice carrying case where you can stick the cable in a mesh pocket and each speaker into a compartment separated by a small piece of the bag. For travelers, it’s a nice little inclusion in that you can keep all the pieces in one place as well as offer some protection to the set.
Now, the Razer Ferox are made for portable use, such as with a laptop, netbook, tablet, or portable gaming device so don’t expect these to replace your desktop speakers. They just don’t have the power to generate the sound that desktop gamers would enjoy. As for being a highly portable set, the Razer Ferox excels at outputting clear audio. The mids and highs are reproduced pretty well, but as I expected, the bass was pretty weak. That’s not to say they are bad at all, just the Razer Ferox speakers don’t have the oomph to generate solid bass sounds. The 360 design does help fill the room a little more and offer up better sound in a wider range of spaces seeing as the speakers aren’t putting forth sound in one direction. They are definitely a cut above the speakers on any of my portable devices and I really liked using them on the go.
At $59.99, they are on a little bit of the the expensive side, but they have become a favorite of mine when I go on the road. I can set them up in the hotel room and blast out some good sound all in a nice tiny package. The entire setup fits into a very small area in my luggage, making the Razer Ferox highly portable. I was surprised the performance of the Ferox, but I’d definitely recommend you go out and listen to a set yourself to see if the sound is adequate enough for your needs. For me, they did the job just fine even with the little nitpicks I have of the system.