Unless you're prepared to lay out a significant chunk of change for a higher-end laptop with a brand-name sound card, chances are your mobile computing solution has the hardware to play sounds and music, but offers nothing particularly interesting: no equalizations options, no digital signal processing, and no surround sound. To put it in another context: you'll have no problem playing the audio on your presentation, but won't be able to make the DVD you're watching truly immersive.
Solving the problem can be as simple as adding an external USB sound card, but the key is for that extra piece of equipment to both feature-rich and lightweight so it's easy to carry. Enter the ASUS Xonar U1 Audio Station, a USB sound module that weighs about two pounds and supports a whole group of digital processing features. Could it be the external sound card you need? Let's find out.