We’ve had a couple of Razer’s headset come by our test lab in the past and we’ve always walked away happy with their audio products. Today we have another audio offering from Razer and it ain’t no headset; we have the Ferox portable gaming and music speaker set. A couple of mini-speakers that promises premium sound at a small package. Let’s see if the Ferox has the big bite from its small package. Let’s make this showy!
Razer has been delivering solid-performance audio equipment in the market for a good while now especially their headset lines. We’ve reviewed the Banshee, Carcharias and Orca from them and all have received positive marks in our books. Though in the Banshee’s case, its size was the only complaint we had about it. And that’s what today’s review is about: size. The Ferox mini-speakers are geared towards gamers and audioheads on the go and those that want that just want to bring some nice powerful sounds with them wherever they go. The Ferox is aimed to target any and everyone who wants mobile speakers and want good quality. It’s a pretty good market but with only a few offerings, some even only intended for certain products. Let’s get it on with the review!
Here’s a quick spec on the Ferox:
- Frequency Response: 150Hz-20KHz – that 150hz low range might be a bit of a turnoff for bassheads but we’ll in testing
- Drivers: 30mm neodymium magnets
- Up to 12 hours playback time – if it reaches that long, I’m a very happy man
- LED battery status indicator
- Battery voltage/capacity: 470mAh
- 3.5mm audio jack & USB
- Loudspeaker Output: 2 x 3W
- Carrying case included
- Approximate size: 70 mm (length) x 70mm (width) x 53 – 64 mm (height) – your index finger is taller than the unitÂ
CLOSER LOOK – PACKAGING
The Ferox comes in classic Razer packaging with clear plastic upfront revealing the sweet, delicious Ferox inside. The box itself is pretty small and might not be that stand-out in store shelves but the large text that says FEROX on the lower right makes up for this.
The sides of the box showcases the Ferox’s audio capabilities with one side showing the details of the speaker chamber and on the opposite is the audio direction.
The back of the box shows us the Ferox’s features with image thumbnails of major features in the left side for further show.
The bottom has the feature list translated into my favorite languages namely: Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The top flap has a nice shot of the unit.
Inside we have the Ferox mini-speakers, a USB/3.5mm-to-miniUSB cable, a pouch and what I like to call the Razerdocs which include a manual, a certificate of authenticity, a proof of compliance and a sheet of Razer tri-snake stickers.
CLOSER LOOK – RAZER FEROX SPEAKERS
Opening this baby up, we have the Ferox protected in a clear plastic packing that clips to the Ferox.
So here we have the star of today’s review: the Razer Ferox. Doesn’t look like it but these baby are barely the size of those snack-sized 125g cups of yogurt. Pressing down on the top of the Ferox will either close/open the chamber. The opening itself is a rather cute one because it slowly rises to max height. The top cover is mainly metal with a gloss scheme with a metal mesh protecting the inner components. The bottom part consists of a mainly matte body with gloss rings for accentuation. The unit is in all black with the Razer triple-snake logo on the top.
Can’t help but think of FlatTops chocolates whenever I see the Ferox. Anyways, flipping the speakers we get to see a rubber ring beneath for improved traction and reduced slippage. The LED lighting ring is visible in this angle, too.
The cables included in the Ferox are around a foot long and braided. They have sliding cable guides that reduce the split between jacks on either ends of the cable. And something we always like to see on our cables, gold plated connectors. Clean signals, yo.
The cables that connect to the speakers are tagged with L and R to denote which will output that distinct channel.
Opening up the Ferox and plugging in the mini-USBs is basically the Ferox’s on button. The blue LED rings will light up and blink during operation. There is no option to switch LED colors, but the Ferox has red LEDs that only show when the unit is nearly drained.
The included pouch has a neat little compartment for the cable and the bottom part has a partition for the two speakers. The entire package is now ready to go with you in such small space. Its around the same size as a sunglass case.
UPDATE: Including a size comparison shot
They are that small.
We test out the Ferox using the Lexicon Omega Pro in a controlled scenario to fully determine the capabilities of the unit. Since this is a portable device, we also be using a mobile device to test out the unit’s sound quality. As with all our audio review, we try our best to be as fair as possible in grading our observation and for this we look for the common points people look for in sound quality: clarity, power and range.
Listening and Music
Indoor Testing – Lexicon Omega
For this round we plug the Ferox into our Lexicon Omega Pro audio device and see how it handles. Reverting to my ever so random music library, we choose a couple of upbeat tracks for the active gamer.
- Califa Thugs – Something To Bump To
– Title says it all; its chill music. This track has a laid-back mild beat with smooth flowing lyrics accompanying it. The Ferox rendered the vocals and rhythm clearly. The Omega might’ve been a bit too much for the Ferox because cranking up the volume really messed up the sound. We scale down the gain to find a good balance of bass and treble. The Ferox has a distinct sounding bass, with a bit of wetness to it. Most people will overlook this for the sheer power of the Ferox but discerning audiophiles will probably freak about it.
- Dream Evil – Chasing the Dragon
– One of my favorite tracks to test with because of its colorful soundscape and up-tempo beat. Firing up the Ferox, we get a crisp barrage of riffs in the song’s intro. Again we see the highly colorful mids and high capabilities of the Ferox but with that resonant bass compensating for the lack of the actual gut-busting thump we like to hear.
- SNSD – Mr. Taxi
– SNSD’s release and I’m particularly sure I’ve tested a device with this already. I’m including this here for the tinny assortment of auto-tuning that tends to screw up the snares and bass in some setups I’ve used. Mr. Taxi has a catchy saw melody with the girls’ voices riding to a nice, heavy beat. The beat itself is well rendered, with that distinct Ferox bass. One thing about this song is it plays around with 3D and panning and the Ferox’s 360 degree output profile complements that very well.
Outdoor Testing – Sony Walkman NW-E005
Was lucky enough to be invited to a small backyard party and this was where I tested the Ferox with some good party music. All files were converted from 320kbps MP3 to ATRAC3 256kbps. All sound improvement features were turned off and EQ was set to default.
- 2NE1 – I AM THE BEST
– Lots of saws and synths in this track with high-pitched vocals coupled with an up-tempo beat. Gotta love the girls of 2NE1 for mixing it up and trying new stuff with this track. Ok, first-off I gotta say the looks on the people over at the party when they heard the Ferox was like WOW. They can’t believe how powerful and clear those little speakers are and they kept asking how much and where they can get a pair. Its that good, people. Getting back, the powerful sawtooth synths in this track were nicely put out by the Ferox. Maxing out the volume on the Walkman, we’re still getting clean bass with minimal distortion and muddiness.
- Oriental St8 – Dear My Lady
– This is a nice little techno-disco track from the DJMAX Technika OST CD. It’s got a nice solid keyboard melody that tends to get tinny on cheap-ass speakers. The Ferox did great portraying this song with a nice deep feel to it. The high note keys were pretty standout and didn’t cause the speakers to hiss or break. Still gotta love the WTF look on the party people’s faces when they glance on the little Ferox.
- Sistar – Push Push (LIVE)
– Another upbeat song with a solid beat. For a Kpop track, this one has a more natural feel to it without the typical synths and electronica. We got sax, congas and trumpets lining the melody with a good drum beat. Sistar is a great live performance group and Hyorin’s voice is just superior in this track live. The Ferox renders that great performance like crystal. Nuff said.
Game Testing – PSP (Rockband Unplugged)
So I was particularly interested in how the Ferox performed in handhelds so I plugged it in a PSP-Go (stop booing) and loaded up Rockband Unplugged. Cranking up to max volume and placing the Ferox around 3 feet away from me as I layback on my officer chair, I went track after track. So as for game performance, if you ever wanted to rockout on your PSP or DS but can only do it with earbuds or headphones or your PC speakers, then this is really a step up. The PSP itself isn’t really a stand-out audio source but Sony will be Sony and their output quality is still one their proud of, even on the PSP. Taking that into consideration, the Ferox really amplifies the game’s classic soundtrack without being too distorted by device limitations. Basically I’ve already expected it to perform well from the music testing since we used a Sony device.
To test out the battery life, we charged the Ferox to full (overnight) via USB then paired it with the Sony NW-E005 and Sony Ericsson W900i, swapping out till the Ferox’s battery goes dead. Playing at max volume with a couple minutes of pauses, we were able to get over 11 to nearly the advertised 12 hours on a fully charged Ferox. We’re really impressed by Razer, very nice choice of batteries. That lengthy drain time will surely entertain anyone for quite a while.
You see that? Look at that. I want that.
I’ll just be repeating myself all over again in this part but I gotta wrap this up. Starting things off, you have a really solidly made device which gives it a feel of importance and its weight adds to that statement. The Ferox’s nicely done touch-to-open chambers add to that cute factor and the glowing blue LEDs complement the subtle look of the speakers.
As for sound quality, its just superb. If you have those nice 2.1 desktop setups, power is pretty much up there. If the Ferox had subwoofers, this is the 2.1 setup to beat. And the fact that it comes in at such a small package, is what sets it apart.
So is it worth it? Coming in at US$60.00 and around Php2,800 at some local suppliers, it goes head to head against the X-Mini that targets the same market. Anyone who’ve used those burger speakers will most likely testify how awful they sound and those are the people that might shy away from devices like the Ferox, but Razer has managed to outdo that competition and smoke them by a mile. We have no problem recommending the Ferox for those that want mobile or portable speakers. The Ferox is the top dog in the portable mini speakers arena right now… and they’re smaller than a roll of duct tape.
If that ain’t reason enough… then if you’re a chick… it’s cute. If you’re a dude, it’s minimalistic yet aggressive.