Edifier Prime USB PC Speakers Review

Edifier_Prime_USB_PC_SpeakersSo here’s the latest offering from previously impressive audio manufacturer Edifier, who gave us the Luna Encore and USB Soundbar earlier in the year, which struck a perfectly strung chord and had me waxing lyrical on all manner of aspects. Audio quality was consistently great across the range, as was value for money and design, so there’s a lot to live up to for these speakers designed for your PC.

Design and Build Quality

As would be expected, Edifier has gone for a classically basic approach to design, but to use an old cliché, if you’ll forgive me, less is certainly more. They look great, adopting a not unusual combination of white and dark grey to emphasise the metallic grill on the front, instead of using classic speaker cloth.

Unlike previous products, though, Edifier has opted in this instance, most likely in a bid to provide speakers for the budget-aware consumer rather than those with deeper pockets, to build the rest of the unit out of plastic, rather than the metal found in the soundbar, for example, which felt especially premium considering the reasonable sub-£50 price. Strangely, though, these PC speakers will still set you back a rather hefty £40, almost twice as much as rival products from other reputable manufacturers such as Altec Lansing.

Despite the plastic unit, though, it does feel solid and I wasn’t at all left with a feeling that it was cheap or easily breakable, instead its a solid unit that is weighty enough not to be easily knocked over. In fact, I’m suitably impressed by the sturdiness, and the quality aesthetics do give you a sense that you’ve got your money’s worth from them.

They’re not outrageous, they’re not flamboyant, they’re just a standard looking pair of quality and classy PC speakers that compliment the look of my MacBook Pro as well as any speakers of the price range I’ve set up previously.

Connectivity, Sound Quality and Controls

The method of connectivity is becoming an increasingly important aspect of any PC speakers that you’ll come across, with wireless audio becoming even more prominent as the price of such units becomes lower and lower and closing in on the wired rivals. For this reason, it has become more mandatory that the quality of audio emanating from wired units should be of sufficient quality to warrant trailing unsightly wires for.

Unfortunately, I honestly don’t think that Edifier has set the bar high enough with the Prime speakers. Having tested various bluetooth PC speakers from the likes of Creative Labs, specifically, the Prime is not worlds apart from the wireless T12 setup from the aforementioned manufacturer. And considering the price is a mere £5-10 more expensive for the wireless alternative from Creative, it’s well worth opting to cut the cord, and have a more seamless and attractive setup.

Nonetheless, the sound you’ll get is decent, and perhaps you could argue that it is the design that takes it above and beyond what Creative Labs has to offer, and while admittedly they are superior looks-wise, the minimalistic approach to the design is blemished somewhat, by the apparently unnecessary inclusion of wires for the price bracket.

If looking for speakers for a desktop setup, you might be more attracted to a speaker set that includes a sub-woofer, as the bass levels provided from this offering from Edifier are certainly not to die for, and if its a wired setup you’re after, you may be better off looking at the Altec Lansing VS2620, for example, as the bass is deeper and the sound certainly more enticing, considering especially, that they will only set you back around half the price of these.

Reading this back, there’s certainly a negative theme running through, and just to add a little more weight to that before we move onto something to lift the spirits, the volume controls that are built into the unit is crafted from a horribly cheap feeling rubbery material that not only feels bad to touch, looks awful in its semi-transparent murkiness. Not a fan of that at all, but it’s not a big enough deal to put me off the unit entirely, just a volume rocker placed on top of the left-hand speaker.

USB Ports

The market for PC speakers is certainly not lacking in population, after all they’re something that pretty much everyone needs for their desktop, so it is important to have something which the others don’t, whether it be simply outstanding performance, or that little extra feature to justify a higher price. That’s what we’ve got here with this unit, as on the back of the left hand speaker we can find four USB ports, one that goes in, and three that come out.

In the box you’ll find a USB cable that’ll take you from the speakers from your PC, which will provide the bridge from your PC to the ports that act as a hub, so you can hide your pen drive or other USB peripherals away and out of sight.

I’m not sure this is full justification for sporting a price tag almost double any competing speakers quality-wise, but it’s certainly an interesting, and unique, addition to what is a quality product all-round.

Summary

It’s hard to place these speakers in the market, as they border worryingly on the more premium units available in the standard scene, before you get up to the extraordinarily expensive offerings from the likes of Bowers & Wilkins and the likes. However, on quality alone, I’d say they do price themselves a little out of the market, but not by much.

There are some interesting features, but far from exceptional audio quality or materials place it firmly alongside rival units that cost roughly half the price of these. They won’t leave you disappointed as speakers, but your wallet might not thank you when there are many better options available for a cheaper price.