So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Small speakers, big sound.
- Wireless setup, stylish looks, warm sound
- Two power packs, fiddly Bluetooth
Parrot’s DS1120 wireless hi-fi speakers cram an expansive sound-stage into a tiny, stylish package. The Bluetooth configuration might be a headache, but the speakers themselves are quite capable.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
Parrot is a French company with a track record of making quality stereo Bluetooth speaker systems. The formula hasn’t changed with the DS1120. These speakers offer a surprisingly expansive and room-filling sound that’s not short of bass. If you’re lucky enough to have a smooth Bluetooth set-up process you’ll be pleased with these speakers.
The DS1120 speakers are quite novel in a world populated by low-quality, generic PC speakers and gargantuan home theatre systems. They’re absolutely tiny; the speaker’s fascias are only slightly larger in diameter than a DVD or CD. They’re not particularly deep, either, measuring just over 15cm. Despite being small, they’re actually heavy, weighing almost a kilogram each.
The design is certainly modern, with a similar black gloss sheen to the JohnBlue JB3 bookshelf speakers we were so fond of. Like the JB3s, each of these speakers has a single full-range driver with a 4in cone. Black fabric speaker covers are also included; they connect magnetically to the enclosures themselves which is a nice touch.
Interestingly enough, the speakers’ weight is largely made up by the inclusion of a 15 Watt Class D amplifier in the body of each speaker. This means no cables need to be run between the speakers to power them; the downside is that there are two power bricks and therefore two power outlets needed. This won’t be a problem if you’re placing the speakers some distance from each other thanks to the miracle of Bluetooth, but you’ll struggle to get both bricks alongside each other in a powerboard.
As well as individual power plugs on the back of each speaker, there are two separate line-in ports, using 3.5mm headphone jacks. You can use these to bypass the Bluetooth component of the speakers for an analog connection (although the speakers will still communicate wirelessly between themselves), for plugging in an MP3 player or connecting directly to a PC.
Thanks to Parrot using the standard A2DP profile for streaming Bluetooth audio, the DS1120 is able to connect to a vast range of modern laptop computers, mobile phones and Bluetooth-enabled MP3 players like Samsung’s YP-P2 without much fuss. We found it quite simple to use our Dell Latitude E6400 laptop to connect to the units; audio transmission started a few seconds afterward.
We didn’t have any significant problems with streaming audio — no stuttering or lag between different channels — apart from one instance where the speakers distorted extremely heavily when given a bass-heavy signal. Upon attempting to replicate this in a different area, though, we found the speakers performed well. This might be a symptom of some Bluetooth interference in our testing area; in any case the problem didn’t persist.
The best thing about these speakers is their surprisingly good sound quality. They don’t extend ridiculously high in the frequency range — topping out at a respectable 18KHz — nor particularly low with a roll-off of 100Hz. Numbers aside, though, the speakers do sound good. They have a very warm character and a wide sound-stage, making music very immersive and encompassing.
The speakers can reach some impressive volumes, too. The end result is a set of small cylinders that are able to comfortably fill a medium-sized room with sound and music, making them a great choice if you want a highly portable, high quality music device with Bluetooth capability.
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