The sound is handled by two 1.5W speakers that are located underneath the chassis. Laptop audio has come a long way regarding quality compared to the small area that they're stuffed into. Physics somewhat limit how loud and full these speakers can get due to the lack of volume to move massive amounts of air. But here, they're adequately placed and large enough to make an impact around you.
Accompanying the speakers is a combo audio jack that doubles as both microphone and headphone jack. It's powered but isn't potent enough for higher-end audiophile headphones. Included is Dolby's Digital Plus Home Theater software to add a virtual surround effect to any set of 3.5mm headphones you connect. Through the interface, you can use custom profiles based on what you're listening to, whether that be music, movies or games. It doesn't sound too bad, and there's no audible feedback when using even very sensitive IEM's, like the Shure SE846's.
But how does it actually sound? Those tiny speakers in the front are a surprising source of sonic sorcery. They won't wow you with their ability to rock your socks, but they will get loud enough, without distortion, to be a good way to listen to whatever YouTube, Netflix of Hulu content you put on screen. It isn't tinny by any means, but it isn't precisely "full" sounding either. There's a distinct lack of bass due to the laws of physics, but voices especially sound quite good all things considered.
When chatting, you can use the virtual surround feature to increase the dialogue clarity, making it very easy to hear anyone through Skype or whatever your favorite chat app is. It's sound from a laptop, but it's decent sound from a laptop. I'm not certain who would use laptop speakers as their primary source of sound when they have a good pair of headphones lying around anyway. We measured distortion free audio up to 87 dBa. Again, it lacked a bit of bass but was otherwise acceptable.
And while it doesn't exactly have a built-in amplifier, it's capable of clear sound without much effort. The bass, due to the lack of proper amplification, is a bit light and what's there seems to be slightly muddy in comparison to using a dedicated external amplifier, but it's sufficient. The virtual surround effect is what you'd expect it to be, good but not exactly the most convincing using a binaural audio solution. It's calculated with spare CPU cycles and sounds pretty good, though not necessarily with the most convincing of 3D sound.
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- Page 1 [Introduction and Availability & Price]
- Page 2 [Specs, Configurations Available, Warranty & Support]
- Page 3 [Detailed Look, Outputs & Connectivity]
- Page 4 [Display, Keyboard, & Trackpad]
- Page 5 [Speakers & Sound]
- Page 6 [Everyday Use]
- Page 7 [Gaming Use]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - CPU & RAM]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks – Internal Storage & External Storage]
- Page 10 [Power Consumption & Battery Life]
- Page 11 [Thermal & Sound Testing]
- Page 12 [What's Hot, What's Not, and Final Thoughts]