Picture the scene: you arrive at the client’s meeting room with your showreel on your massive 17-inch PowerBook, and the computer impresses the crowd as you launch into your pitch. But there’s a problem: the people at the back can’t hear. You could drag around your SoundSticks, but the sub-woofer is a bit bulky. Perhaps the answer lies in the OmniVox, a tiny yet weighty puck of metal that transforms the conference table into a giant speaker. You may have seen those novelty speakers that you can stick to panes of glass or desks to make them act as speakers. This is similar in some ways, but much beefier, much louder, and much less of a novelty. It’s possible to use the OmniVox without people realising that there are no visible speakers, though there’s an odd but not distracting vibration felt by anyone touching the table. The sound quality is perfectly acceptable, and it goes fairly loud. If you keep turning the sound up, the OmniVox sound will eventually distort – but up to that point, it’s remarkably clear, considering it’s playing through a desk. There’s one potential drawback, though. The weight of the Omnivox and its adaptors and cables that are handily held in a plastic carry-case come to over 1.5kg. While the case is attractive and convenient, it’s getting towards iBook-sized, and only half a kilo off the weight of the iBook itself. This may be fine for road warriors, so long as they actually travel by car. Lugging this on the bus might bet a bit tiresome.


While in many ways this is an elegant solution, a decent pair of battery-powered speakers would give it a run for its money, and leave you enough to buy an iPod with the change. Fascinating technology this may be, but on the value-for-money stakes, it loses out to old-school solutions.

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