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Sonic Impact SI-5 Gen2 Portable Flat Panel Speakers Review


About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Sonic Impact Gen2 portable speakers
Sonic Impact’s SI-5 Gen2 Portable Flat Speakers provide a slim, economical way to get high quality audio on the go. Utilizing a flat panel loud-speaker technology and front and rear surround sound projection, the overall sound quality in a full circle around the speakers is excellent. These highly portable speakers can be powered by batteries or through an innovative use of an included USB cable drawing power from your computer.

Product Review:

Its 7 p.m. on a Thursday night when you flop down exhausted in your cheap hotel room. You pull out your laptop and prepare to play the DVD “Predator” on your 15” screen. At first, you are dismayed because you don’t want to listen to the stereo soundtrack from your tiny laptop speakers. You then remember you’ve brought along your Sonic Impact SI-5 Gen2 Portable Flat Panel Speaker system. Pulling it out gleefully, you’re on with the show.

After playing with the SI-5 Gen2 speakers for few hours, it was very easy to envision the above situation. These ultra thin, crisp sounding portable darlings stood up well under volume testing, not distorting a Dolby soundtrack on a movie DVD off of a laptop unless cranked up all the way.

The SI-5 Gen2 speakers come in a clear, plastic packaging which holds the two speakers, two stereo 3.5 mm mini-jack cables and a USB cable. Setup of the speakers was very easy via the fold down stands on the back of each. While setting them up, it’s easy to notice how light the speakers feel – together, they weigh under a pound and individually measure 6.5” x 5.25” x 0.75”. One noted detraction here – the speakers felt fragile because they were so light, which may be a turn off for some.

One of the speaker stands doubles as the amplifier and power source. Three inputs exist – stereo in (for connection from your audio source), speaker out (for connection to the other speaker) and 5V DC (for a wall plug, or through the included USB cable, which can be hooked to a USB port on a computer or hub to draw power off of for the speakers). Also on the back is the power switch, volume control and a battery space for 4 AAA batteries (which the manufacturer says will last up to 16 hours).

With the speakers set up and the audio jack hooked to a laptop, digital audio player or the like, the fun part begins. Sound quality during testing, as mentioned before, was superb. The SI-5 Gen2 uses NXT flat panel loud-speaker technology to produce quality audio in a wafer thin design, giving the same depth and clarity you would find in a traditional pair of decent computer speakers.

In addition to the NXT technology, the SI-5 uses a low power amplifier which reproduces bass sounds very well. The speakers also have a 3D surround sound feature which projects the audio from the front and back of the panels. This gave the illusion of no “dead spots,” as Sonic Impact calls them.

Another cool feature had to do with the portability of the speakers. When not in use, you can snap the two of them together, creating a secure, light clamshell which protects the thin speaker panels. Sonic Impact even throws in a nylon carrying case for an extra layer of protection.

Overall, it was very hard to find much to fault on the SI-5 Gen2 speakers. The rich quality sound, easy portability and base price of under $50 make them a very attractive item. If you want something better then your headphones or small laptop speakers, these very definitely could be the way to go.

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