I’m really interested in finding out if Edifier have managed to deliver a decent speaker system for under £100. So, let’s get into my review of the R1280T and do just that.
At around £99 / $99 this speaker system lands slap bang in the middle of the budget bracket. I find the R1280T interesting, because £99 / $99 doesn’t buy you a lot these days. And, when we’re talking about a speaker system, it gets you even less.
So, let’s get into the review and find out if you’ll get any ‘bang for your buck’.
Edifier R1280T Review
I didn’t know if I should mention this or not, but when these first arrived, they arrived damaged. I’ve reviewed coming up to 50 things from Edifier and this was the first time that had happened. I was rather shocked! The 3rd pin had sheared away from the plug.
I fired off a a quick email and a new set was dispatched immediately, the fresh pair of speakers arrived in pristine condition. I’m putting it down to a freak occurrence and I fully expect no further issues if you go ahead and order these speakers.
Once I’d opened up the box, I noticed that they are the spitting image of the Edifier P12’s that I’d reviewed just a few months earlier. Which, is no bad thing.
They’re also quite a bit heavier because unlike the P12’s, the R1280T is a powered speaker system, which gives an advantage over the former, they’re pretty much a ‘plug and play’ system.
There is unfortunatley, quite a lot of single use plastic used. It really doesn’t need it all. The cables come in a plastic bag and then within that plastic bag the remote control is in another plastic bag, which then has a plastic protector stuck to it.
Either use one plastic bag or a paper protector sticker, you don’t need 3 layers of plastic protection. It’s a waste of resources and money.
Overall my first impressions are ok, I was just feeling a little let down by the amount of single use plastic Edifier have used in packaging this up. Let’s hope the proof is in the pudding, as they say. How’s the sound quality?
Right off the bat, I’m going to say it. These speakers are pretty much the best (that I’ve reviewed at least) you can get for basic music consumption at this price point. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few flaws in the sound profile, which you can’t really grumble at when they’re less than £100.
The R1280T have a max output of 42W, which is plenty of power for a bookshelf speaker system. They’re perfect for sitting either end of a shelf or either side of a TV.
For the sound test I decided I’d listen to an album called ‘Ghetto Cowboy’ by Yelawolf. This album will make a good test for the speakers as it’s a rock, rap and country cross over.
After the intro, we’re straight in with a track called ‘Unnatural Born Killer’. It’s got a pretty heavy bass line paired with a stunning electric synth guitar rift. I can also hear some pretty complex drum beats behind the synth.
The bass, in it’s neutral state sounds a bit too artificially boosted for my liking. But, if you utilise the tuning knobs on the side of the powered speaker you can get the sound profile to be pretty much perfect. I nudged the bass down by a dB or two and the sound improvement was instantly better.
Moving onto the mid-range frequencies then, I don’t have much to say here apart from wow! The synthesised guitar rift I mentioned up above gave me goosebumps. Vocals sound fantastic too, not quite like being there in person but close enough. The mid are really quite accurate and offer great detail.
The tweeters covering the high frequencies sound brilliant too. I often crank the high range up a bit, because I do like the high hats and snares to really pop when I’m listening to music. I did the same here as the neutral tuning sounded a bit weak for my taste. But, I suspect in it’s normal position, it’s fine.
Cranking these speakers up to 11, I didn’t get much in the way of distortion but keep it below 8 or 9 for the sweet spot.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the sound quality. It’s important to note however, that there isn’t really anything that’d tick the box for the audiophiles reading this review. The R1280T’s have boosted bass, are easy on the ears and are a fairly basic system.
Having said that, don’t let that take away from the fact that these are under £100 / $100, where else can you get the same sound quality for the price? I certainly haven’t reviewed anything that can outmatch these, yet.
Let’s move on and take a look at the build quality, will it be consistent with Edifiers reputation? We’ll find out.
Build Quality & Features
These look fantastic, they’re offered in either white, wood grain or black. I really like the modern retro look of the wooden enclosure. I think they’ll look good in any setting to be honest.
At the front of the speaker is the dust cover, which is functional aswell as looking the part. Underneath the dust cover hides the 4 inch bass driver, bass port and tweeter. I like the ‘naked’ look too, it looks utilitarian.
On the side of the active speaker you’ll find the control knobs which give great tactile feedback and accurate sound adjustment.
At the back you’ll find ports for connectivity, I really like that there are dual RCA inputs. This allows you to switch between TV / PC etc. Perfect for a games room / man cave where you have multiple devices set-up and you wish to change between them.
The enclosure itself is solid and really well put together. There are no gaps in the panels and the wood grain finish is smooth. My scratch test did leave an ever so slight mark in the finish, but nothing that you can see with the naked eye at more than half a meter.
All of the bundled accessories and cables apart from one are well built. Yep, you guessed it, the remote control. It’s quite possibly the worst remote control I’ve ever used.
It only works if you are pointing it directly towards the left speaker, you have to point it from exactly opposite the IR receive or it doesn’t respond at all. It’s what I describe as being ‘an off the shelf’ remote control, and does let the overall build quality down slightly.
How Much & Where To Buy
You’ll find these available almost everywhere that stocks speaker systems. The cheapest deal I’ve found that’s available in both the UK and the US is on Amazon. You can hit the button below to go over to Amazon and check the lastest price. You can also often find them for sale on eBay.
Edifier R1280T Review Verdict
If you’re after a 2.0 speaker system that’ll look great in any setup, has great sound and a low price, these are for you. They are a vast upgrade for people who use basic PC speakers.
Score: 8.5 / 10
The score reflects the poor quality remote control and the amount of plastic. If those two issues were fixed, they’d get the perfect 10.
I’d say that they do have a few flaws but you must remember the feature set far outweighs the price. I’d be happy to have them in my set-up at home and you should be too. I don’t think you’ll find a speaker as good for under £100 / $100 easily and if you do, please let me know!
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The Edifier R1280T were sent to us in exchange for an honest review.