This review is part of the 1 Pound Challenge - can you find a decent gadget in a pound shop?
The microphone built into a laptop can often be a compromise – providing a basic facility, whilst keeping it as small as possible. Those of you with computer repair training will know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve got a desktop then you may not even have a microphone.
So, can one for just £1 do the job?
The Signalex Computer Microphone, available from Poundland, doesn’t get off to a good start – get it out of the green and white packaging and you have a drab looking black microphone made of very cheap plastic. In fact the plastic wasn’t quite cut properly on mine so there was a sharp “shard” sticking out of the very top. Although it boasts that it “pivots on base” this simply means that it tilts forward. Because the base isn’t very heavy you don’t have to tilt it very far before it starts to fall over.
At full height it stands at 21cm tall and has a 1.5m captive audio cable on it. Near the top of the microphone is an “on/off” slider which cuts the sound off when in the “off” position. This switch is of very low quality and, very stiff, I couldn’t tell which position it was in most of the time.
All of this sounds bad which, to be honest, it is. Until you use it.
Here are recordings I made with an in-build laptop microphone and then with the Signalex (click on either to play)…
[review]Poor quality plastic, falls over easily just generally looks and feels awful. But it’s a vast improvement of built-in microphones and, hence, well worth a pound. Recommended![/review]