Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook
- Uses a true X-Fi chip, exceptional positional audio, brings depth to music and movies
- The card doesn't sit in the ExpressCard slot very well
When onboard audio just won't do, the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook is an exceptional option and one that notebook gamers, music enthusiasts and film buffs will greatly appreciate.
Price$ 199.95 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 2 stores)
For notebook users, the idea of good sound is generally an idea best left forgotten. The integrated sound of most notebooks is only intended for basic use and excellent audio tends to get overlooked by most manufacturers. Creative Labs has come up with a simple solution that uses its exceptional X-Fi chipset. The SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook is an expansion card that fits into any Windows based notebook with an ExpressCard slot.
It is a true X-Fi sound chip crammed into an ExpressCard form factor. However, the size doesn't detract from its overall power. Every gunshot, explosion and footstep was heard during our FEAR gaming tests with full positional audio. Subtleties in music, games and movies were each given their due with the excellent audio separation and soundstage placement that X-Fi has become renowned for.
The card has headphone and microphone jacks which also double as optical in and out ports. The device can recreate surround sound using a basic set of headphones or can support up to 7.1 speakers. Since the card is so small, a separate break-out box is provided which has extra ports for front, side, rear and centre/sub speakers.
The only complaint about the device is something that isn't really its fault but more a flaw in the overall design of ExpressCard technology. The card sits in the ExpressCard slot with nothing clamping it to the chassis. As such, when pulling your headphones out, the card can sometimes pop out too. While this is slightly annoying, you will soon remember to hold it when pulling out the headphones so it's not really that big of an issue.
The price point is more than acceptable considering the quality of the device and it comes with a set of ear bud headphones with a built-in microphone. These aren't brilliant but they definitely produce better audio than you would expect from a bundled headset.
The card is very simple to set up thanks to the provided installation CD. All you need to do is plug it in, install the software and you're away.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Total War: Warhammer DirectX 12 performance preview: Radeon reigns supreme
- Radeon Polaris GPU and Bristol Ridge APU should be featured by AMD at Computex
- Google's Tensor Processing Unit said to advance Moore's Law seven years into the future
- Confirmed by Nvidia: Official GeForce GTX 1070 tech specifications leak
- Rumours are true: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 officially supports only 2-way SLI setups
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTAX Lead Technical ConsultantNSW
- FTData Feeds Developer | Financial Services | C# & SQLNSW
- FTWeb DeveloperSA
- CCService Desk analystSA
- CCData Center ArchitectNSW
- CCSolutions Architect - SAP HANAQLD
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/SQL/Web) 160519/AP/453Asia
- CCDelivery Manager - Integration SpaceVIC
- FTTechnical Team Lead - .Net / SharePointACT
- CCSenior Systems AnalystSA
- CCOracle DBA | 3-6mth ContractVIC
- CCSenior Programmer (Data Engineering)NSW
- CCRelease Manager, SAPNSW
- FTSoftware DeveloperSA
- FTWeb & Mobile Solutions DeveloperNSW
- CCRelease Manager, InfrastructureNSW
- FTHadoop Operation EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst, Contributions TaxNSW
- FTAX Lead Functional ConsultantNSW
- CCDomain Specialist | Multiple RolesVIC
- CCProject Manager - Healthcare DomainSA
- FTGraduate IT Support OfficerNSW
- CCMultiple .Net DevelopersNSW
- CCProject CoordinatorACT
- CCRevalidations OfficerACT