The Sound Blaster X-Fi Go! makes for a nice upgrade to any notebook that is lacking high quality audio, and the device's USB connectivity makes sure no user is left out.
Even desktop users could benefit from the extremely portable X-Fi Go! as it could open the possibility of sharing the USB device to secondary PCs as needed (think LAN party) without having to buy multiple PCI sound cards.
All the included software works as intended and those who go missing the Creative suite present on their desktop systems will be happy to know that most of the tools available to desktop X-Fi products are included with the X-Fi Go!. Installation is as easy as plugging the unit into your computer but be prepared to spend some time going through the installation process. This unfortunately seems to be inherent to all Creative sound cards released over the last few years. The X-Fi Go! is fully compatible with Windows XP and Vista operating systems.
The included headphones/mic are a nice touch but if you really want to get the most out of the sound card, a higher quality pair of headphones or external speaker system are in order. I also appreciate the inclusion of the USB extension cable, which eliminates the somewhat flimsy connection I had when using the card with my notebook and also negates any potential clearance issues with other nearby ports.
The X-Fi Go! is only capable of 2.1 connectivity, so if you require true surround sound, this card isn’t for you. As of writing, Creative lists the X-Fi Go for $49.99 on their website, which is about middle of the pack for a high-end sound card. For only $10 extra the X-Fi Surround also from Creative adds 5.1 output and extra connectivity but the unit is much bulkier as well.
There are a few other alternatives on the market that also offer more features at an added price, but again, if 2-channel output suits you well and you will enjoy the plug and play convenience of the Go! then don't look further.