If you are going to use portable speakers, sparing your ears of headphones, you may have a few demands. These speakers need to be easy to transport, a cinch to connect, sound good and... that's it? What if they emit sound in 360 degrees?
The Razer Ferox are a pair of portable speakers that meet all the requirements, but they also emit sound in 360 degrees which is either a bonus or an unneeded option. Depends on your audio requirements.
The Razer Ferox speakers are, simply, a pair of speakers that you plug into anything with a headphone jack. They take a charge via USB. They are powered on and off with a press of their spring-loaded top, which softly lifts to reveal a squat omnidirectional speaker. Each Ferox emits its audio in a circle, one matched to the left channel of the stereo connection, the other to the right. The idea is that someone sitting at a table opposite the Ferox user could hear the audio from the speakers just as clearly (though left/right-reversed) as the person who plugged them in.
Platform: Anything with a headphone jack.
What's in the box: Two portable Ferox speakers, one cable that connects the speakers to an audio source (via headphone jack) or to a power source (via USB), a carrying case, and two Razer-logo stickers.
The set-up was as simple as described above. Zero hassle. The connector cable defines which speaker is "left" and which is "right" so there was minimal confusion about which speaker would emit what. I tried them with my laptop, iPhone and iPad. For any of these set-ups, the volume is controlled on the device. The speakers emitted clear sound, filling my work area sufficiently and bleeding into my co-workers' when I had the volume maxed. Audio quality was fine, but you're not going to mistake it for home-theater or anything.
What We Liked
The speakers are easy to handle and, because they can be physically compressed (watch the video), they felt safe to carry around with some amount of recklessness.
They look cool. They are an interesting semi-conical shape... a conical rhombus, perhaps? The light at their base glows blue or red to indicate power levels, an understated effect that allows these speakers to look nice without looking ridiculous.
What We Didn't Like
Do people all around me need to hear what's on my DS, PSP, iPhone, iPad or laptop? As I used the Ferox speakers, I struggled to figure out why omni-directional speakers are preferable to ones that send the sound just in my direction. The audio quality from the Ferox is good for something plugged into a headphone jack; I just don't know why everyone around me needs to hear them. The only uses I could think of were for employing my iPhone as a middle-of-the-room stereo (a valid use) or for emitting the sounds of some tabletop-style iPad game to everyone around a table (is there a game that merits this?). If people want this option, it's not a negative. But do bear in mind that omni-directional sound could be as much a bother as a blessing.
The Bottom Line
As a speaker set to use solo while watching a movie on my iPad, the Ferox are ideal. As gaming speakers for portable gaming, they're quite nice. They're compact and cool. But they might also be audio overkill, if you don't need everyone around you listening.
The Razer Ferox speakers are designed and manufactured by Razer for any piece of electronics with a headphone jack. Released in January with a suggested retail price of $60. A unit was sent to us by the manufacturer for reviewing purposes. Tested the speakers on PC, iPhone and iPad, with positive results for the person sitting in front of them. (I was never so embarrassed about all the grunting in Infinity Blade. Sorry, people sitting across from me!)