A lot of notebook users are lacking two things: extra USB ports, and some decent speakers to attach to their notebook. Logitech has come up with an all-in-one solution with the Audiohub, which combines a USB hub with some fairly decent speakers. The company threw in a few additional features too, such as a cable management system, extension stalk for a webcam and telescoping satellites to fit an array of LCD sizes, all of which make the Audiohub a well-thought out, useful device for notebook users.
Features and Design
Priced at around $99 USD, the Audiohub is a three-piece speaker system, meaning it has two satellites and a subwoofer. The subwoofer features a 3-inch driver and a wispy 9 watt RMS output. The satellites, which flank the sub on both sides, sport 2-inch drivers and a 3 watt RMS rating. These are not speakers that will make you worry about upsetting off your neighbors, but to be fair, they are very small and not meant to shake your fillings loose.
The Audihub connects to one of your laptop’s USB ports, and is powered by an AC Adapter. Once connected, it can also power three additional USB Devices, which could come in very handy for owners of older laptops that don’t have many USB ports. The USB hub is also useful since the device itself blocks access to the rear of your notebook, effectively cutting off access to any USB ports back there.
The rear of the unit features a cable management tray, so you can tightly wrap any cables for devices you are attaching to the hub, which is a great design feature. You could then theoretically detach all connected devices by simply disconnecting the Audihub’s USB port. This is how Logitech designed it to operate, and it it works well in our opinion.
The rear of the Audiohub features a loom for routing cables of attached devices.
One interesting feature is both satellites move back and forth a few inches and forth along a horizontal axis, so when you’re not using it or transporting it you can push the satellites in to make the unit more compact. When you do want to use it, you just pull the satellites out so that they peek out from behind your notebook’s LCD.
The satellites move along a horizontal axis to accommodate a range of LCD sizes.
The right-side satellite features an illuminated volume knob that glows a soft orange. You just spin it around to change the volume. There’s also a large plastic web cam mount that you stick into a hole in the subwoofer. It rises up above the top of your LCD and holds a webcam, which is cool if you’re into that sort of thing.
The volume knob is orange, and you spin it back and forth to adjust volume.
Use and Testing
We unpacked the Audiohub and read the Quick Start guide to get it set up. It basically goes like this: Set it on a table, plug in AC power, plug in USB cable, and pull satellites out to desired length. That’s it, and we were up and thumping in five minutes.
It should be noted that we didn’t need to install any drivers, which is always appreciated. After we connected the AC power cable, and plugged the USB cable into our notebook, the orange volume knob turned on and the speakers just worked, taking over duties from the onboard speakers without us having to change anything, which is great.
Our first impression was that the speakers are actually not too shabby. Sure, the subwoofer doesn’t deliver more than a hint of bass that you can feel, but the satellites do a decent enough job with mids and highs. And it goes without saying they are worlds better than the onboard speakers in most laptops.
What is most appreciated is they actually get loud, but not loud enough to be a bother. But much louder than your onboard speakers, and loud enough that you would not want to crank them at full volume.
Since the Audiohub included an AC adapter, it’s a full blown powered USB hub, so power-hungry devices such as external hard drives will work just fine with it. We plugged in an 80GB USB drive, which usually requires two USB cables to operate, and it functioned just fine using one of the Audiohub’s three USB ports.
The Audiohub won’t blow you away with home theater-like sound or earth-shaking bass, but it offers surprisingly good audio given its diminutive size. The USB hub is a welcome addition too, and we also like the effortless installation and controls. We’ve come to expect as much from Logitech, and the Audiohub does not disappoint. It’s a bit expensive when compared to standard 2.1 speaker systems like the Klipsch GMX A-2.1 which costs just $30 USD more and features thundering bass and crystal-clear highs, but it’s an apples to oranges comparison. The Audiohub succeeds in delivering great sound in a portable, feature-rich package that notebook users will totally dig.
• Decent sound quality
• Doubles as a USB hub
• Easy setup
• Not exceedingly powerful