- Attractive design for iPod users, Dual Speakers provides a wider area of sound, Good value, Bass Boost works well, Included Carry Case
- Takes 6 AAA batteries (not included), No included AC Power Adapter, Dual speaker design can be awkward at times, Some distortion at higher volume levels
The SBA220 sports a unique two-speaker design that has its advantages and disadvantages. At this price, we can’t complain about the sound quality though, so it’s a good buy.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
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The Philips SBA220 is a portable speaker system that can be used with most of portable multimedia players on the market today. It employs a unique two-piece design and provides reasonable sound quality for a cheap price.
The SBA220 is the first device of its type that we've seen that essentially uses two separate speakers - much like the front speakers of a home theatre system set up. The two speakers are connected via two cables - one linking the speakers together and the other an audio source which plugs into the headphone jack of your player. This design has its advantages, the main one being that you can position the speakers to provide a wider source of sound. We'll give points to Philips for trying, but at times the dual speakers can be fairly bothersome and awkward to carry or move. Thankfully, Philips has provided a convenient carry case which makes the SBA220 easy to transport, so this problem is somewhat alleviated.
The SBA220 is quite clearly attempting to woo over the popular iPod market - sporting a white and silver plastic finish, with silver controls. The design does look quite attractive and if you are one of the multitudes of people who do own the famous iPod, you'll surely be pleased with the SBA220 - at least the look of it, anyway.
Philips has also gone out of their way to ensure their new design does work efficiently. We were pleased to find a fold out stand on each of the speakers, which sees that they stand up on a flat surface without much effort. The battery compartment is also fairly well hidden - the rear of the left speaker easily clips open housing a whopping six AAA batteries. This is quite excessive and unfortunately Philips has failed to include an AC adapter in the sales package, which means you'll have to purchase one separately should you wish to use standard power.
Once again, Philips has frustrated us with their use of difficult controls. As seen on the SBA290, the Power and Dynamic Bass Boost switches require excessive force to slide if you don't have long fingernails. Even the volume wheel is awkward, as it is sunk too low into the unit itself - making it uncomfortable to use.
The SBA220's Dynamic Bass Boost (DBB) function was quite pleasing to use, and we didn't ever turn it off once we used it for the first time. While it won't provide over-the-top raw bass power, it does tend to make the unit a more pleasurable listening experience by eliminating the normally tinny sound output that many of these devices provide. At this price, the SBA220 is pretty good value. Like most of these products, it isn't going to make your jaw drop, but the sound it produces is ideal for travelers and those looking to cart their music along with them. We did experience some distortion at higher volume levels, and we were disappointed with the lack of treble and bass adjustment controls, but apart from that we can't fault the sound at all.
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