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Think big. Think small. The Olasonic TW-S7 doesn't just look like an egg from outer space. It arrives in an egg carton. A man's hand cradles it like a small bird. Self-powered, it contains a class D module to power the 60mm main driver with dispersion lens and the flat rear-firing radiator. The pair connects by 90cm 3.5mm terminated single wire to a tail hardwired to one egg which also sports the 90cm USB lead. Setup is easy as pie. Place on the silicone pads on either side of your laptop or screen, plug USB cable into the PC or Mac, connect the eggs and presto. Available in black or white, power draw is said to be below 2.5 watts* so use won't accelerate battery drain with a laptop that's run without wall AC.

* "In fact power consumption is probably less than 1 watt. 2.5 watts are the maximum power draw allowed on the USB bus. That's where this figure is from. If the speakers actually drew 2.5 watts, they could only run for 15 minutes on a notebook with a 1WH battery. In fact they will usually run for hours depending on PC background power settings."

The two halves of the thin-walled ovoid enclosures meet behind an attractively chromed band which runs the circumference of the eggs across their sides. As the drawing shows, the flat-panel passive radiator made from expanded urethane centers behind the mini widebander. This augments bass response in lieu of a port. The egg shape itself randomizes captive standing waves and is inherently strong to actually benefit from low-mass plastic injection molding. An internal 'charger' accumulates power from the USB bus. This is said to deliver up to 10-watt peaks on demand which otherwise would exceed the setup's power draw. Claimed response is 60 to 20.000Hz. Weight is 950g. No drivers are required to be up and running. Volume is controlled from core player software like iTunes and Windows Media Player or popular interface replacements like PureMusic and JRiver. It really couldn't be simpler. If you can find a spare USB port, plug in and go!
Rear-firing passive radiator

As UltraLink's $149,- UFi UCube reminds us—here the designers went with classy Apple aluminum but square to house their 3-inch USB-powered flat-diaphragm driver—the concept of a better-sounding compact and fashionably attractive miniature computer speaker keeps many companies up at night (and probably many more dreaming of the big time).

Success here should welcome a happy relationship with Apple and other massive distribution centers for obvious reasons. Playing this particular game is about very large numbers. That leaves out all the usual suspects of the high-end scene. Real success might near be reliant also on serious corporate resources where true engineering goes hand in hand with cheap manufacture from large-scale operations. Only this can hit the low target price whilst actually offering something demonstrably better. On that score the Olasonic genetics would seem particularly blessed**.

** The Olasonic speakers are manufactured in mainland China by Dai Hwa Industrial Co. Ltd, a major OEM supplier to Sony and others. Dai Hwa is based in Taiwan but has factories throughout Taiwan, Shenzen, Guangzhou and mainland China. Dai Hwa specializes in speakers. Their house brand is called Awesome.

On the most basic audiophile level the TW-S7's low price would make it a success if it blew away what's preinstalled in the laptops and computer screens it was designed to replace. Cynics naturally would wonder immediately. Just how hard could that be?