Laptop speakers suck. Here are a few easy ways to go from aww to awe when listening to your Chromebook.
Chromebooks are great for things like working in Google Docs or doing a little web surfing, but with many models having fancy swiveling hinges that can stand like an easel they are also excellent small movie screens. Netflix, Play Movies, YouTube, whatever the source, streaming video is a great way to use your Chromebook.
There's one thing though — the sound often sucks. That's not a Chromebook thing; it's just hard to put decent sounding speakers into a slim and light laptop. The solution, thankfully, is easy — external speakers. Here is a selection that not only sound great but will also work with your Chromebook without any fuss.
- A note on Chromebook compatibility
- Cyber Acoustics CA-2014 multimedia speakers
- Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 2.1 Sound System
- Logitech Speaker Lapdesk
- Logitech Mini Boombox
- Edifier e25 Luna Eclipse
A note on Chromebook compatibility
You'll need a set of speakers with a built-in amplifier to use them with your Chromebook or any laptop. Many new speaker systems use USB (the larger Type-A plug) to provide both power to the amplifier and pass audio to the speakers because it's convenient and easy to set up.
Chrome passes audio over USB without any special issues using a standard generic driver. The speakers you use will need to have an embedded audio decoder (a sound card) to use them with Chrome.
The speakers on our list that use USB all work with Chrome.
Cyber Acoustics CA-2014 multimedia speakers
These basic speakers from Cyber Acoustics are a great way to get more sound from your Chromebook without breaking the bank.
The current price is only $16, and you'll have no issues hooking things up: simply plug them into the wall and connect the 3.5 mm plug into the audio jack on your Chromebook. You get instant audio that's far better than those tiny speakers hidden inside, plus a front volume knob and 3.5 mm jack to plug your headphones into if you want to go stealth again.
There aren't any extras or fancy tricks here — just a good set of speakers for a great price.
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 2.1 Sound System
If you want to step things up a bit and fill the whole room with sound this three-piece set from Cyber Acoustics will do the trick.
A stylish and surprisingly loud (30 watts with 62 watts peak) set of speakers will separate stereo audio nicely, and the included 5.25-inch ported subwoofer sits out of sight and pumps out the bass. Set up is easy, you simply connect the control puck to your Chromebooks 3.5 mm audio port and start up some music or a movie. Convenient volume and bass controls, as well as a master on/off switch, are built into the control pod, so all the adjustments are at your fingertips.
If you want to hear your tunes across the room or need to feel the thumps and booms from an action movie and aren't into spending a lot of cash, this $40 set up delivers.
Logitech Speaker Lapdesk
This product is pure genius. Take a lap desk and add a small amp and set of speakers to provide both a comfortable way to use your Chromebook as well as a better sounding experience, all in one great product.
The lap desk is designed to keep heat away from your legs as well as be cushiony soft so you won't get fatigued. Any laptop up to 14-inches will fit comfortably, and a short cable from your Chromebook's USB Type-A port to the lap desk makes any movie or show sound a lot better.
The Logitech Speaker Lapdesk is plug-and-play compatible with Chrome OS, though on older model Chromebooks the onboard audio controls may not work and you'll need to adjust the volume through the Chromebook's controls. Either way, for just $20 this is a great idea, especially if you were looking for a lap desk anyway.
Logitech Mini Boombox
All Chromebooks have Bluetooth capabilities, and that means products like Logitech's Mini Boombox are a great way to extend the sound up to 30 feet away or just get better sound for whatever you're listening to.
The Mini Boombox has a 10-hour battery life so you won't have to worry about it running out in the middle of even the longest movie. It's also designed to channel sound through an acoustic chamber to feel like it's coming from a much bigger source. The design also enhances bass for a rich sound instead of that tinny squeak you'll hear from your Chromebooks' internal speakers. As a bonus, it's also compatible with your phone and works as a hands-free calling device with its controls.
The Mini Boombox has a mini price of just $35, so you won't have to crank up the volume to drown out the crying from your wallet.
Edifier e25 Luna Eclipse
If you've set up a dedicated workspace for your Chromebook while you're at home and want something that looks as good as it sounds to sit there, these Edifier e25 Luna Eclipse speakers might be just what you are looking for.
They aren't cheap, but they also don't look like generic black plastic boxes. This $165 set of Bluetooth capable speakers are also designed to sound pretty amazing like all Edifier speakers. Each speaker has its own 19mm silk dome tweeter and a 3-inch bass driver with a separate radiator. The onboard crossover will send the lows to the bass driver and the rest to the tweeters for excellent sound. The pair even comes with its three-button remote.
The connection is through either a 3.5mm auxiliary cable from your Chromebook or through Bluetooth so you'll have a wireless option if you choose. A choice of black, white, or red means they will look great almost anywhere, too.