Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Go
This external USB sound card can be slipped into your pocket.
- Better quality than on-board audio, portable, 1GB of storage, EAX and headphone effects
- Stereo only, no digital connections, expensive
The Sound Blaster X-Fi Go does not offer all the functionality of an internal computer sound card but it delivers better quality than integrated motherboard audio.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
The Sound Blaster X-Fi Go is a portable sound card that offers a quality boost over on-board solutions. For the music lover or gamer on the go it is a worthwhile investment.
Given the proliferation of gaming laptops like the Dell XPS M1530 and the Alienware Area-51 M17X, the notion of portable performance is obviously appealing to more and more computer users. Unfortunately, these laptop powerhouses make compromises in plenty of areas — otherwise they would be no smaller than the full-tower desktop computers they replace. One compromise that is often made is in sound quality. On-board sound from laptops is notoriously poor; for example, the original Apple MacBook Pro was criticised for its sub-par headphone output quality.
The main advantage that USB sound cards have is that they don't suffer from interference. A computer case is a Faraday cage of electromagnetic interference; this manifests itself as static in the audio signal coming out your speakers or headphones. With an external device, this interference is greatly reduced.
You can plug the Sound Blaster X-Fi Go into any Windows computer and listen to your heart’s content. It will not work with Macintosh or Linux operating systems, though — so first generation Macbook Pro owners are still out of luck.
One microphone port and a single headphone jack are on the end of the stick; 5.1 surround sound is nowhere to be found. For that you will need to get the pricier Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 from Creative. Nonetheless, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Go has plenty of software trickery to get the best out of your headphones. It features X-Fi Crystaliser, CMSS 3D headphone surround sound, EAX 4.0, OpenAL, VoiceFX and Creative’s ALchemy software suite. All of this is stored on the device itself. In addition it has 1GB of flash memory, so you can store music, a movie or games without an additional flash drive.
The included software does its job well in both Windows XP and Vista and provides a wide range of functionality. It doesn't take up much hard drive space but it does fall prey to the Creative buzzword phenomenon though — every single feature has a catchy name or jumble of letters.
There is a jump in quality from on-board audio — we used the mid-range desktop P35C-DS3R from Gigabyte as a benchmark — when changing to the Sound Blaster X-Fi Go. It is hard to quantify this, but we noticed an increased range for bass and treble notes as well as a distinct lack of interference.
If you’re a laptop user who wants an audio quality boost, or someone who switches between PCs regularly, consider the Sound Blaster X-Fi Go.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 2 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 3 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 4 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- FSP's wild new power supply is liquid-cooled and built for silence
- Some Radeon RX Vega graphics cards will be faster than the Frontier Edition
- Nvidia quietly launches the GeForce GT 1030, a Radeon RX 550 rival with a modest price
- AMD's first Radeon Vega graphics card isn't for you, and gamers may be waiting a while
- AMD's Ryzen Mobile chips are ready for liftoff, with the new Ryzen Pro not far behind
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCTechnical Support/HelpdeskVIC
- TPSenior Sitecore Developer (.NET)QLD
- FTLearning & Development Consultant, Wealth ManagementNSW
- FTDigital Business Analyst | Online BookingQLD
- CCTesting SpecialistVIC
- FTApplication System EngineerACT
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- FTJunior .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTNodeJS and AngularJS DeveloperQLD
- FTClient Onboarding ManagerNSW
- FTProcurement OfficerACT
- TPSenior Project ManagerVIC
- TPDigital Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTManager, DevOpsQLD
- FTManager - Commercial ClientsACT
- CCJava Developer / System Designer - Aus Citizens OnlyWA
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior Systems AnalystSA
- FTNetwork EngineerWA
- FTDeployment Analyst / Customer Service - Minchinbury NSWNSW
- TPSenior Developer - API - Data ReportingNSW
- CCData AnalystNSW
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW