- Sleek looks, Compact and portable, Decent sound quality, Good Bass levels
- No AC Power Pack included, Difficult controls, Distortion at high volume levels
It won’t blow you away, but the SBA290 delivers admirable sound for a portable and compact speaker unit – if you can put up with the poorly designed controls.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- Sba1710grn Portable Speaker Mobile Speaker Sba1... 44.88
The Philips SBA290 is a compact and portable speaker system for your iPod or portable media player that has respectable sound quality for a unit in this class.
The SBA290 has clearly been designed with portability in mind as the unit is small enough to fit into any bag or purse. Philips has also included a convenient carrying pouch, which means it's no hassle at all to slip it into the case and take with you on your travels.
The SBA290 is finished in a sleek black gloss plastic and we found its curves are quite appealing. The black finish matches almost perfectly with the new black iPod nano, so if you own one of these, then the SBA290's matching design and looks may sway you away from buying other accessories. The rear of the system is finished in metallic silver, which creates a purple-like colour when viewed in direct light - a nice touch, if for nothing but looks.
The unit is a basic design - two speaker cones on the front of the system, with the controls aligned in a row on the top. The most frustrating aspect of the SBA290 is the switches that Philips has used. They require excessive force to slide and if you don't have long fingernails, you'll find it difficult to access basic functions such as turning the system on and off and adjusting sound settings. Even the volume wheel is inconvenient, as it is sunk too low into the unit itself making it uncomfortable to use.
You can connect any music player to the SBA290 via the included cable which uses a standard headphone jack input. Conveniently, the cord winds up into the rear of the unit for storage, which is accessed by clipping off the rear plastic compartment. Also housed here are the batteries which power the unit - six AAA alkaline, (which are included) as well as a DC input for power supply. Unfortunately, Philips has failed to include a power pack in the package, so you'll have to purchase one separately or stick with batteries.
Philips has designed two intuitive sound functions into the SBA290 - Dynamic Bass Boost and Incredible Surround. The lack of stereo separation on such small units as this one is a real problem, so turning on the "Incredible Surround" function creates a wider sounding field. We found it made a substantial difference to the music quality and once we switched it on during testing, we didn't turn it off again. We did however, experience quite a fair bit of distortion at higher volume levels with this function switched on. The Dynamic Bass Boost was similar - excellent at low to medium volumes, but poor at the louder settings. For such a small unit, the SBA290 does sound fairly crisp and clear - just don't expect anything exceptional.
Bass levels were above average for such a system, but it was lacking a little in the treble department and with no controls to adjust these settings, you'll have to learn to live with it. For its size, the SBA290 is a notable system that won't blow you away, but offers good value for money.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z3 review: The no-frills flagship
- 2 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: The busiest, biggest and best Samsung phablet
- 4 Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere review: Disappointing
- 5 Nokia Lumia 735 review: Perfectly ordinary
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Sony: PlayStation Network is back online now, really
- Reports: North Korea's Internet access, mobile networks down
- PlayStation Network recovering after outage
- Hackers target Tor as PlayStation disruption continues
- Connected, self-driving cars in the front seat at CES
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.