Today we’re looking at three of the best value digital pianos on the market to find out what makes them different, and decide if one stands out from the rest. We have the Yamaha P45, the Korg B2, and the Casio CDP-S100. They all look very similar and sell in Australia for under $700, so how are they different from each other? We’re going to be focusing on three key areas: sound, feel and features.
The sound of the onboard speakers is an important consideration, but we’d suggest you compare these in person. In our testing, Korg and Yamaha’s speakers sounded fuller and more lifelike than the Casio. All three of these pianos include a range of instrument sounds to play with, but focus primarily on acoustic piano. A particular standout was the Korg B2’s Italian Grand which sounds both warm and dynamic, suitable for a range of styles from pop to classical. Be sure to watch our video comparison to hear how these pianos sound and decide for yourself which one you prefer.
Another thing to consider is the way the keys feel. They all strive to feel just like an acoustic piano, but they all feel a bit different from one another. It’s difficult to convey this difference so best to audition these in person if possible. Suffice to say they all have a nicely weighted action which admirably compares to an acoustic piano, albeit with subtle differences. The Casio and the Korg held their own here and we had a hard time trying to spilt them. This will likely come down to personal preference.
Even though these pianos exist with the primary intention of getting you playing the piano as quickly and painlessly as possible, they have a few extra tricks up their sleeves to assist with practise, or performance and hopefully, help improve your playing. A common feature on all three digital pianos is a headphone output which mutes the speakers, letting you practise in silence. This is, of course, a noteworthy benefit over a real acoustic piano which will be appreciated by nearby family members and pets (and even neighbours). All three digital pianos also feature a USB connector which lets you connect to a computer for use with tuition software, or to use the piano as a MIDI controller for the enormous range of software instruments out there. In the case of the Casio and Korg pianos, this USB connection also handles audio allowing you to playback music from your smartphone through the pianos’ speakers which is great for learning songs or jamming along with backing tracks.
This facility to send and receive both audio and MIDI over USB proved especially interesting when paired with an iPad. The Korg B2, for example, includes a 3-month subscription to Skoove, on online piano tuition program. When running Skoove on an iPad, the USB connection tells the Skoove app exactly what you’re playing (and how well you’re playing), and the audio from the Skoove app, letting you know how songs should be played and how they should sound, can be heard through the piano’s built-in speakers. It all works remarkably well over just a USB connection.
The Korg B2 also nudges ahead of the competition when it comes to the included sustain pedal. The Yamaha and Casio pianos include a square plastic single pedal which gets the job done, however, the Korg B2 includes a much more substantial pedal that more closely mimics the feel and behaviour of an acoustic piano damper pedal. The Korg pedal connects via a proprietary DINN socket which also accepts a triple pedal, making for a nice upgrade path for more advanced playing, and unique to Korg at this price point.
In summary, the Korg and Yamaha pianos were clear winners in the sound department, while the Casio and Korg have more to offer than the Yamaha in the way of features. Taking all that into account, the Korg B2 edges in front of them all, making it our top choice entry-level digital piano. As always we recommend you try them all out for yourself to see and feel which one is best for you!
What We Liked:
Yamaha P45 – Great mix of piano and other sounds with good sounding speakers, sturdy build quality.
Korg B2 – Excellent Italian Grand piano and additional sounds. Speakers sound is excellent, USB Audio/MIDI connectivity with iPad and Skoove subscription. Includes substantial pedal. Nice minimal design, comes in 2 different colour variants: black or white.
Casio CDPS-100 – Affordable, slim design, USB Audio/MIDI connectivity, the keyboard feels good.