Snowflake, a portable USB microphone

Snowflake_takealook_4_2One thing I’ve noticed recently is that netbook microphones are lacking. When we first did a Skype chat on the Acer Aspire One, I had to crank the input up before James could hear me. Then we did a Skype call on the MSI Wind and sure enough, the volume was lacking. Earlier this week James called me on the Lenovo S10 and guess what… I had to punch up my speakers. I’m not sure if it’s the microphone placement, the same general sound card components or a combination of both, but there’s an opportunity for improvement.Enter Blue and their portable Snowflake USB microphone. Now the Snowflake isn’t specific to netbooks by any means, but I’m betting it’s a solid alternative to the marginal input these small notebooks get natively. It retails for $69, which is about the top end I’d spend for a plug-in mic and it’s certainly small enough to tote along with any notebook. It also stands on its own or it can be clipped to a computer. The USB device works with both Mac and PC; there’s no additional drivers needed. I’ve got a request for loaner review unit to see if it does make the Skype experience better on a netbook. Plan B would be to simply use a USB webcam with integrated microphone, but the webcams with most netbooks is more than passable. Let’s see if the Snowflake melts that poor-quality sound away!

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