The Edifier MP250 is a single unit, and a thing of beauty. Its body is largely one piece of formed aluminium, naturally coloured, while its front and ends are black. This is a long skinny gadget, stretching 261mm from end to end, but stands only 36mm high and 44mm deep. On the left-hand side is the mini-USB connecting socket where both power and audio (in digital format) is conveyed to the unit. There is also a 3.5mm stereo socket for analog sound. On the right-hand side is a glowing blue LED and a single button (which looks a lot like the power button on an Apple Bluetooth keyboard).
Under the grille are five loudspeaker drivers making this a full three-way system. Four of them are 32mm circular units, two deployed as tweeters for high frequencies, the other two as mid-range units. The final driver is 75mm wide and 32mm tall, and acts as a "subwoofer", so says Edifier.
Set-up and cartage
Setting it up was a mixed affair. Getting sound out was easy, of course. We just plugged it into a Win7 notebook, waited a minute or so and had sound emerging from it. The difficulty was where to put it. In front of the computer? Then we'd have to hold our wrists above it while typing. On top of the screen? There was no way to mount it, short of fashioning something out of Bluetack. In the end we put it on the computer in the space behind the keys and under the edge of the screen. It was small enough to fit there on our computer — but do read below to see what this does to the sound.
Cartage is where it's at with this unit. Slip into the soft-fitted pouch that comes with it and pull the draw string, and it's all ready for your suitcase. The USB cable won't fit in, though, so be careful not to leave it behind.
With the other computer speakers we've looked at it has been clear where they are intended to be located. But not this one. We've mentioned the practical issues above, but there's also the audible differences, because how this speaker sounds depends heavily on where you put it. In the physically practical space between screen and keyboard the sound was quite coloured, denoting a lumpy frequency response. Indeed, our measurements showed this to be the case.
This is inevitable when you have a speaker hard up against acoustically reflective surfaces. We re-ran the tests — including listening — with the unit carefully propped up on the edge of the screen, and it sounded much cleaner and more accurate.