The Blue Tiki microphone is packed in a recyclable plastic box together with a USB cable. The packaging has a black part that can serve as a carrying case for the mic set. The Tiki is designed to be plugged into a USB side port and used as is. The included cable extender comes in handy in less than optimal situations (such as USB ports located at the back of desktops), so you can still get some quality sound. Concerning port fit, the Blue Tiki fits on the tight side. It’s advisable that you use it where you’re less likely to bump into it; otherwise, you might have to say goodbye to both the mic and your USB port.
The microphone’s plug-and-play feature makes it easy to get the mic up and running on Windows. There is, however, the occasion that Windows will read the Tiki as a speaker, so make sure you change your settings to microphone, especially when using Skype. The mic also has two built-in recording modes that you can toggle between by using a button located at the end of the mic stick. The default mode is “intelligent speech,” which is ideal for use on Skype or other web phone systems. The mode automatically detects when you are speaking, and mutes itself during periods of prolonged silence. As a result, the mode yields a decent sound quality even when you’re situated a bit far from the mic and keeps ambient sound minimal. “Natural” mode gives you a clearer and more open-sounding recording, but it doesn’t boost your voice in the same way the “intelligent” mode does. Fiddling with the mode a bit is required to get used to the way it records; getting too close or speaking too loudly produces clicks and pops.
Overall, the Blue Tiki is a reasonably priced and decent performing microphone best suited for those who plan for casual use. It can handle some podcast recording and Skype calls. It doesn’t yield the most professional sound, but it will do in a pinch. The Blue Tiki originally retails for $79 but can be bought at PC World for about $48.