ASUS Xonar U5 Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅22-10-14

The Xonar U5 comes in a touch underwhelming with the listening experience at anything other than 24-bit/192KHz is next to abysmal. The U5 does offer great expandability and features for those with fairly restricted options from their laptop/notebook though it is priced too close to the U7, considering the U7 is only a little more expensive at (currently) £68-£75. The primary competitor to this product I could imagine would be the ALC1150, which is considered to be the best thing since sliced bread in regards to integrated audio solutions. Laptop users are considered to be a dying breed, those who want to game on a laptop will generally get a premium gaming laptop, the likes of which tend have a premium audio solution, such as the ALC1150, already in use. So in conclusion, it becomes difficult to understand who the Xonar U5 is specfically aimed at, regardless of the useful and neat 'gaming' appeal. Desktops are better off with a discrete solution, while for £65, mobile/laptop gamers could be better off considering the competition from Creative or even the U7 itself, whichever may better suit their needs.

Regardless, the Xonar U5 is a good product and offers a lot of situational expandability that may be more suited to those who live on their entry/midrange laptop at home and want to get more out of it in regards to their audio fidelity. These same people may want to invest in a static desktop PC which will suit their needs better than clamouring to the past luxury appeal that laptops stigmatised half a decade ago. The thought of having so many cables protruding from a little box that is connected to a laptop and a 5.1 speaker system that is used inconjunction with a TV, creates a trip hazard for my brain, let alone for the people actually in the same room as such a setup. Though in fairness, with a little effort it is a setup that could work fine for some and the U7 will be the device you will want to use with it, failing that, the U5 will be ok for that too.

The Xonar U5 offers a simple solution for clear, high fidelity audio that is supported by powerful, easy to use software. Offering a suitable improvement to the sound quality of your games and media from your notebook or laptop.

+ Light and compact
+ Plug and Play
+ Easy to use Sonic Studio software which includes 'Clear Voice' and 'Virtual Surround'
+ 5.1 surround, headphone amp

- Price (Too close to the U7)
- Can be bettered by premium integrated solutions

Click here for an explanation of our awards at Thanks to ASUS for providing today’s review sample.

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