I’ll be honest, the last time I’d heard of Hercules was back when they were still making kick-ass ATI Radeon “3D Prophet” graphics cards back in the early 2000s, so I was pleasantly surprised, and a tad bit disappointed, to see a pair of portable speakers from them up for review. The first thing anybody will notice is the diamond design of the speakers, hence the name. Even the official product description goes on to say “an outstanding design, honed to appeal to female audiences.” While there’s no mistaking who the product is intended for, I decided to review it anyways because sound (in music, movies and games!) knows no boundaries.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the XPS Diamond are “controlled” number of wires. Being a portable set of desktop speakers meant that there was one wire going from the left speaker to the right one, and around the middle there’s another pass-through cable that ends up in a USB and thus plugs into your computer. And then there’s the other wire that extends from the USB wire, which is for the remote control. The remote control itself just has 3 buttons (volume up/ down/ mute), they’re big and very easy to reach. Some would argue that portable speakers aren’t exactly one’s that need a remote control, but when it comes to playing games, and your keyboard doesn’t have the volume shortcut keys, the remote comes in mighty handy. In hindsight, I would’ve preferred an in-line remote control which was lying within the USB wire, just to save some space.
Being based on the USB 2.0 standard, the XPS Diamond were a simple plug & play affair. Soon after that I decided to go and play some Team Fortress 2. Before I could do that, however, I noticed that there are no orientation marks on the speakers themselves, so I had no way of knowing which side was left and which was right. In the end I just decided to play the game and fix the speakers once I heard which the direction the gun fire would be coming from. Two minutes into my first match (and after 2 deaths) I knew left from right.