Computer speakers have evolved from what they used to be.
Now, there are a ton of amazing options when looking for the best computer speakers. Whether you want to blast your tunes in your office on your desktop or in a hotel room on your laptop, there are plenty of computer speakers to choose from for all situations.
When you are ready to take off the Bluetooth headphones and turn up the volume on the speakers, you want to read these reviews first.
Lucky for you, we have written this guide on the best computer speakers on the market today:
Logitech Speaker System Z323
The Logitech Speaker System Z323 is a long-serving option for anyone seeking a solid set of desktop speakers that offer a little something extra. The speaker industry is a complex and quickly changing marketplace full of exorbitant prices, exotic brands, and flashy gimmicks. With that backdrop established, let’s be clear: the Logitech Z323 is none of that.
What the Logitech Z323 offers is a dependable and solid upgrade from a stock set of desktop PC speakers. Some might view the lack of gimmicks as a downside, but it is actually far from that. For anyone seeking a strong-sounding but affordable set of desktop speakers, the Z323 is actually a fantastic choice.
The Logitech Z323 offers a stereo speaker setup with a substantial powered subwoofer. With a total output of 30 watts, it is certainly not going to replace the local club’s PA system, but it is more than loud enough for any typical use.
What sets this setup apart from more low-end PC speakers is the powered subwoofer. By home theater setups this is a relatively modest six-inch downward facing driver. However, for anyone simply looking to add some additional bass and richness to a moderately priced PC setup, the power provided by this subwoofer is more than enough.
Despite the fairly mid-range specifications, the Logitech Z323 has a lot going for it. Primarily, the price is highly favorable, with a set commonly selling for well under $50USD. Beyond that, the styling is a highlight of the Z323. It is modern without seeming dated. “Restrained by chic” would be an apt moniker to apply.
There are also numerous convenience features that make this an excellent set of speakers to live with on a daily basis. Chief among these niceties are convenient front-mounted volume controls, as well as an oft-overlooked headphone jack.
- Cost (Under $50.)
- Understated Yet Handsome Styling
- Backed by the Logitech Brand
- The Upper-Range Can Sound Somewhat Thin
- Bass-Level Controls Are Difficult to Access
- The Powered Subwoofer Can Be In The Way
Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
The Edifier R2000DB Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers are an interesting proposition that could best be described as “a good option for many, but not the best option for all.” While they provide an admirable level of sound quality, they also exhibited some quirks in our testing that make them fall slightly sort of a wholehearted recommendation.
The first thing that anyone is likely to notice about the Edifier R2000DB’s is their styling. This cannot be honestly listed as a pro or a con, but rather a consideration. Within our office, many people applauded the somewhat avant-garde angular styling of the R2000DB.
On the other hand, numerous people on our staff thought that the hard edges and irregular shapes were trying slightly too hard and might appear dated within a relatively short time. Of course, this does not impact their functionality, but it was definitely a point of contention among some.
The headlining feature of the R2000DB’s is the Bluetooth functionality. This is arguably a must-half feature that a shocking number of bookshelf speakers lack. The R2000DB makes Bluetooth pairing a simple and straightforward process. A few reviewers have noted that the speakers are slightly slow to pair with older devices, but this appears to be an issue primarily with legacy hardware.
The sound quality is another highlight of this set’s features. Despite their compact size, they manage to provide a rich and well-balanced sound stage which does an admirable job of filling even a large room.
While the sound quality is good, and the replication of most audio is certainly accurate, it should be noted that the sound-mixing of these speakers is most akin to that of studio monitors. Thus, some tracks do have a tendency to feel somewhat sterile or cold. Luckily, this is quickly rectified with slight equalizer adjustment on the source device.
- Styling (if you like it)
- Volume Level
- Styling (if you don’t like it)
- Some Might Find the Sound “Cold”
- Price ($250)
Creative Pebble 2.0 USB-Powered Desktop Speakers
The Creative Pebble 2.0 USB-Powered speakers occupy and interesting but useful place in the pantheon of desktop speakers. Traditionally, speakers fall into one of two categories: “stationary” or “travel.” The Creative Pebble 2.0 bucks this trend and somehow manages to be neither. And both.
In the “stationary” corner is the Creative Pebble 2.0’s size. While not massive, these are fairly sizeable speakers which might not be ideal for fitment in a laptop bag or backpack. That being said, at 4.4” in diameter, they are certainly not massive either. Let’s call them easy-to-move but not-quite-portable.
In the “travel” corner of the Pebble’s feature list is their USB power source. Unlike a traditional speaker set, the Creative Pebble 2.0 does not need an auxiliary power source. Rather, they simply plug into any USB outlet. This makes them extremely easy to place anywhere that desk or outlet real estate is at a premium.
Their sound quality is surprisingly good, so long as you set your expectations at a reasonable level. While they will not give any high-dollar audiophile gear a cause of concern, they nonetheless provide a respectable and full sound given their compact dimensions.
The styling is another key positive on these speakers. There isn’t another way to put it: these things are cute. The circular design manages to be both adorable and mature at the same time. There is little negative to be said about the way the Creative Pebble looks.
Perhaps the only downside to this set is that there is a slight distortion in sound quality at maximum volume. However, at any reasonable level, these sound great – especially given the diminutive price tag of under $16USD.
- Attractive Yet Adorable Design
- Sound Quality
- Speaker Cone is Left Exposed/Vulnerable to Damage
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP 2.1 Speaker Sound System
The Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP 2.1 is an interesting system that is difficult to place into a single category. On the one hand, it punches above its weight. However, the ergonomics and sound balance left some wanting more.
The CA-3602FFP is a fairly traditional layout but with a twist. The basic system consists of two mid- and high-range drivers that sit on your desk, as well as a powered subwoofer. However, the system also features a “control pod” which serves as a separate volume control and headphone output.
At first, this control pod seems like an admirable idea, allowing you to place your volume control and headphone jack wherever it is most convenient. However, upon further use, its purpose becomes less clear. Had they simply placed these features on one of the speakers, there would have been one less object to clutter your desk, and one less wire to organize. This “control pod” might be a pro to some, but others simply found it to be an inconvenience.
Another positive yet potential drawback is the subwoofer used by the CA-3602FFP. There is only one way to put this: it is huge. While this system certainly does not disappoint regarding the bass level it can achieve, the subwoofer also runs the risk of overwhelming the comparatively small desk speakers. The size of the subwoofer pertains to more than just sound quality. Its physical dimensions also mean that it may be difficult to fit under some desks. That being said, if bass is a priority, this is a great option.
Overall, the CA-3602FFP provides good sound quality at a great price, with prices typically coming in at well under $40USD. Despite the quality of the sound, some of the quirks of the system make it less than ideal for some.
- Bass Level
- Size of the Subwoofer
- “Control Pod” is an Odd Choice
Edifier R980T 4″ Active Bookshelf Speakers
You would be forgiven for thinking that the Edifer R980T is simply a rebadged version of Edifer’s venerable R2000DB. While they share a brand and similar styling, the R980T is a completely different category of speaker.
Edifer markets the R980T as a powered computer speaker, but it is unlikely for this to be the most common use for them. In fact, a quick look at the inputs of this system will tell you clearly that this was never designed to be a PC speaker.
The primary input is a stereo RCA input; this is a much more common home-stereo or Hi-Fi arrangement. Even overlooking this discrepancy, the form factor of the R980T would make it a poor choice for a computer speaker, as it is a relatively bulky book-shelf style speaker. Unless you had a truly massive desk or were willing to run extremely long cables, it is unlikely that these speakers would find a welcome place next to your monitor.
Overlooking the marketing and instead evaluating the speakers on their merits, the Edifer R980T’s do not disappoint. For a studio monitor powered bookshelf speaker, these are an extremely affordable option at under $70USD. While they are far from the loudest or richest speakers ever produced, they nonetheless provide admirable and rich audio quality for the price.
Sound quality aside, inspecting the speakers themselves does make the cost seem somewhat more apparent. While they do not feel poorly built, it is clear that the materials were chosen with cost in mind. This is not a concern of durability, as they will likely provide years of rugged and dependable use, but rather they simply do not exude a “premium” feel.
- Sound Quality
- Price Point
- Compact for the Style
- Somewhat Cheap Appearance
- Poorly Marketed
TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Computer Speaker
The TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Speaker is an excellent albeit somewhat confusing product. In recent years, the “sound bar” form factor of speaker has become increasingly popular.
These “sound bars” typically take one of two forms: either a standalone surround-sound emulating home-theater setup or a supplemental center-channel speaker for an existing setup. You would be forgiven for thinking the TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 was another entrant into the sound bar game. However, it is actually a wholly independent and unique product.
The TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 tries to be everything and nothing all at once. TaoTronics markets it as a portable Bluetooth speaker to be used with cell phones over Bluetooth. While it functions reasonably well at this task, there are two issues. First is simply the physical size of it. At over 16” long, this is not a small speaker. Moveable? Yes. Portable? Eh.
The other issue is battery life. The TaoTronics does feature a lithium-ion battery to allow on-the-go listening, but one can only expect about 5 hours of playback time.
Given the size and battery limitations, there are other portable Bluetooth speakers which may be a better choice for those that emphasize portability. However, one factor that the TaoTronics does not compromise is sound quality.
It is truly impressive that such an impressive sound quality could be produced by a speaker of this size. The bass is full, the mids are clean, and the highs are crisp. It’s an impressive showing.
In total, this is a fantastic speaker at a great price that simply lacks a defined purpose. As a bedroom or kitchen speaker to sync music to, this is a fantastic and compact option. But as a portable unit, there are better options available.
- Sound Quality
- Ease of Connectivity
- Not Truly Portable
- Battery Life
Kanto 2 Channel Powered PC Gaming Desktop Speakers
These Kanto 2 Channel speakers are an interesting breed. There are numerous power bookshelf speakers on the market that masquerade as PC speakers but which lack the connectivity or ergonomics to full off the task. Among this sea of not-quite-successes, the Kantos might manage to pull out a victory.
Let’s start with the most undisputed aspect of the Kanto YU2, the sound quality. It is exceptional. No ifs, ands, or buts. For a speaker of this size, there are few other options that provide the level of fullness and volume. Even at extremely high listening levels, I struggled to detect even a hint of distortion. They make an impressive showing.
Another unique feature to the Kanto YU2’s is the built-in Digital-to-Analog converter, or DAC. This allows the YU2 to interface with a MAC or PC through a USB cable, rather than a traditional RCA or 3.5mm headphone input. The advantage of this is two-fold. First, it means that the conversion and amplification of the signal are inherently tuned for these speakers, rendering a more consistent level of audio quality. Second, because the audio signal is decoded after it is already received by the speaker, there is a significantly reduced risk of interference or noise being introduced in the signal.
It is difficult to find too many drawbacks to the Kanto YU2. They are certainly not the cheapest option available, retailing at around $250USD. Also, the exclusion of Bluetooth functionality is a somewhat surprising oversight. Admittedly, these are not primarily meant as Bluetooth speakers, and Bluetooth could also be added using an inexpensive module. However, given the price and quality which is evident throughout the rest of the package, the exclusion is somewhat surprising.
Lastly, speaker grills would have been a welcome addition. While many prefer the exposed-driver look, having the option of a more reserved style (and protecting the drivers themselves) would have been nice. Overall, though, if you can look past a few minor missteps, the Kanto YU2 is a formidable package.
- The Sound Quality is Class-Leading
- Built-in DAC
- Fun Styling
- Lack of Bluetooth
- No Available Grills
Logitech 3.5mm Jack Compact Laptop Speakers, Black (Z130)
It is always somewhat challenging to criticize a product that is not bad but simply no longer within its proper context. This challenge is what faces anyone reviewing the Logitech Z130. Let’s start with what the Logitech Z130 is marketed as, so we can address what it is not.
Logitech chooses to market the Z130 as a portable set of speakers designed for on-the-go use with laptops. Frankly, the Z130 is not suited for any of that. The primary issue with this claim is the power source of the Z130. Being neither battery nor USB powered, these speakers are simply not a practical solution for portable use. Being a powered speaker set, the Z130 requires an external power adapter. The last thing any intrepid traveler wants is to be forced to carry another wall-wart style power adapter.
The other issue with claiming the Logitech Z130’s as laptop speakers is that they simply are not that small. They do not fold. They are not particularly compact. The shape would not even fit that well in a bag.
Having said all of this, the Z130’s are not bad speakers. They are simply the victims of poor marketing. What the Logitech Z130’s actually are is a perfectly acceptable set of affordable powered speakers which would be an excellent way to improve the sound quality of a desktop PC.
In various forms, this same speaker has been produced by Logitech for over 12 years, and there is a reason for that. They sound surprisingly good, they have an attractive design, and they are some of the most durable speakers on the market. For the extremely low price point of under $15USD, they provide a surprisingly loud and tonally neutral sound stage. More importantly, the construction clearly communicates that these speakers will not be fazed by the occasional and inadvertent drop off of a desk.
The marketing is actually a shame, as there is nothing wrong with the Z130. But a fish simply cannot climb a tree.
- Sound Quality
- Extremely Robust Construction
- Not Portable
- Poorly Marketed
Pyle PBKSP22 Desktop Bookshelf Speakers Pair
The Pyle PBKSP22 is an ideal choice for a consumer that has one priority in mind: volume. One stray twist of the rear-mounted volume dial will quickly leave any uninformed passerby wondering how such a loud noise can come from such a compact package.
That is certainly not to say that the Pyle PBKSP22 is lacking in features or other admirable qualities. However, there are few other speakers of this size that packs the punch of the PBKSP22. It is a fairly accepted reality that speaker manufacturers are often less than honest about the true output of their speakers. After all, what is fifty watts between friends? With that backdrop established, it pleases me to state that the Pyle PBKSP22 delivers every single one of the 300 watts RMS that it promises.
At the very top end of the volume range, which falls well beyond “permanent hearing damage” levels, there is a slightly detectable distortion. But this should be readily ignored given the other acrobatic feats that this set of speakers pulls off.
Beyond sheer volume, there is a lot to like about the Pyle PBKSP22. Spin the amp-unit around, and you will be greeted by a refreshingly complete set of inputs and controls. In addition to the standard 3.5mm input, the PBKSP22 also features a stereo RCA input as well as a USB jack, allowing this system to function well as either a PC speaker or as a standalone HiFi solution.
Beyond the inputs, there is also a full complement of controls. Rather than skimp and provide only a volume knob, Pyle went the extra distance and included a separate treble and bass control as well. Given the prodigious volume of these speakers, the option to fine-tune is a welcome addition.
There are only two drawbacks to be found with the PBKSP22. First, the lack of Bluetooth is a somewhat unfortunate oversight which unfortunately limits the functionality of the set. Second, the build quality is solid but not the most refined. On the unit I reviewed, there was already slight fraying on the edge of the speaker grills. That said, this will not affect the functionality, nor is it unacceptable at this price point.
- More Volume
- Fully-Featured Inputs and Controls
- No Bluetooth
- Questionable Build Quality
Audioengine A2+ Wireless 60W Powered Desktop Speakers
The Audioengine A2+ occupies an interesting place on the power speaker market. At first glance, most would assume that the A2+ is simply another set of power bookshelf speakers. However, closer inspection will reveal the A2+ as something much more – but also much less.
I say much less due to the size of the A2+. They are significantly smaller than they first appear, especially when you see them in photos. Compared to a standard set of bookshelf speakers, the Audioengine A2+ is roughly half the size in every dimension. These lilliputian dimensions make them an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys the classic aesthetic of bookshelf speakers like the venerable Baby Advents but lacks the desk space to house them.
That is, of course, assuming that the A2+ can hold their own in terms of sound quality. In this regard, they do not disappoint. While you are not likely to mistake them for full studio towers, the Audioengine A2+ provides a warm and surprisingly bass-heavy tone while maintaining high levels of clarity even at high volume levels. The only notable limitation in regards to sound quality was that in some bass-heavy testing, the A2+ was betrayed by lack of weight – they actually started rattle around the desk. This limited issue aside, they provided consistently admirable sound.
Another nice feature is the built-in DAC, allowing digital audio to be fed directly to the speakers without risk of distortion or noise. Of course, they also provide a standard array of analog inputs, should you desire.
One oddity of the A2+ line involves Bluetooth functionality. The A2+ features an optional Bluetooth receiver, but not all models have it. Strangely, at the time of testing, there was no price difference between the Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth models. Thus, make sure you are spending your $270USD on the more highly equipped model.
One other small criticism of the A2+ is the bridging cable which connects the powered right speaker to the passive left speaker. The two speakers are linked through standard banana plugs using a provided piece of cheap-feeling speaker cable. Which this is a functional and easily replaceable solution, this method of connecting the speakers did not live up to the premium feel imbued throughout the rest of the package.
These minor oversights aside, the Audioengine A2+ is a feature-packed and beautiful option for anyone looking to get into high-end audio without breaking the bank or taking up too much valuable real estate.
- Exceptional Sound Quality
- Built-in DAC
- Classy Styling
- Bluetooth Availability is Confusing
- Bridging Cable Felt Cheap
Bose Companion 20 Multimedia Speaker System
Whenever I am given the opportunity to review a Bose product, I am always left with the same feeling. On the one hand, they have made quality audio equipment for more years than I’ve been alive. On the other hand, that legacy is often blurred with resting on their laurels.
This is certainly not to say that the Bose Companion 20 is a bad speaker system. In fact, as compact desktop setups go, it is one of the best. However, the same basic design dates back almost fifteen years. While the sound quality is still excellent, the visual motif and overall tactile experience feel lacking given the premium price being commanded.
Though the sound reproduction is objectively good from a technical perspective, some of the levels can sometimes feel disproportionate. This is likely due to Bose’s proprietary “TrueSpace stereo digital processing.” This is effectively an equalizer built into the Companion 20’s amplifier circuitry. The positive of this is that the majority of the time this is an effective party trick and does allow the speakers to sound larger than they are. Despite that, during some tests, the highs and bass tones felt unnaturally emphasized while the mid-range became almost muted. The system seemed to particularly struggle with quiet vocal tracks.
The Companion 20 features an externally mounted “control pod” that houses the volume controls and headphone jack in a separate wired unit. Though this seems like a solid idea in concept, in practice it more often felt in the way and unnecessary. This is, of course, not a functional concern, but is nonetheless something to note.
In total, the Companion 20 is an elegant if a somewhat boring set of desktop speakers that provide admirable sound quality the majority of the time. Anyone who fondly recalls the tonal quality of the famous “Wave Radios” by Bose will no doubt enjoy the sound quality of the Companion 20. But despite this technical adequacy, one is left wondering if the $240USD price tag is warranted for such an aging product.
- Elegant Design
- Sound Quality is Excellent Most of the Time
- Some Find the Design Boring
- Digital Mixing Struggles with Some Tracks
Creative Labs 51MF1610AA002 GigaWorks T20 Series
The name of these speakers – let’s just call them the T20’s – is vast. Once you dive into the feature list of these powered desktop speakers, you will realize that the feature list is as well.
Starting with the styling, the Creative Labs T20’s styling is an unqualified success in my book. It is true that exposed drivers are an acquired taste by some, but few can argue that the textured woven cones paired with the striking orange surrounds are a sophisticated but funky look.
The design is clearly meant to evoke images of 1970’s studio monitors blasting away organ-filled power ballads. To this end, they succeed. These speakers would not only blend into an urban loft or mid-mod bachelor pad, but they would also become a focal point.
This is not to imply that the T20’s are style over substance. In fact, the included feature list will likely cause you to do a double-take at the surprisingly affordable $65USD cost. For example, the Creative Labs T20’s put the volume, treble, and bass control directly on the front of the speaker where it is in easy reach. Once you have lived with this easy solution, you are left wondering why any speaker company would be so daft as to put the controls on the back.
Arguably the only complaint with these front-mounted controls is that there is no size differential between the knobs, so it is easy to accidentally paw at the wrong knob. That said, anyone living with these speakers on a daily basis will quickly develop the needed muscle memory to make this a non-issue.
Another notable inclusion on the Creative Labs T20 is the front-mounted Line-In, immediately adjacent to the headphone jack. This allows them to serve double duty as PC speakers and as an iPod/Phone jukebox without the need to cord-wrangling, an excellent multitasking scenario for small spaces or dorm rooms. To this end, it should be noted that Bluetooth is not included as standard with the T20, but is only a $10 extra. This would be a smart upfront cost to incur to ensure versatility later.
As for the sound quality, this is a continued point of praise. While there is nothing outstanding or noteworthy about the T20’s sound quality, they consistently deliver a clean and well-balanced sound with no notable distortion. The sound quality mimics the studio monitors that these were styled on: it can at times be somewhat cold or sterile, but the replication is always accurate.
While the Creative Labs T20 are not the cheapest powered speakers on the market, they may just be the best value. For anyone looking for a solid and stylish performer with such much-appreciated features, these are a great choice.
- Ease of Use
- Front Inputs
- Sound Can be Slightly Cold
- Bluetooth is an Additional Cost Option
Logitech X-140 2.0 Speakers
Reviewing the Logitech X-140 is like reviewing your dog. It is an old standby, a loyal friend, and you frankly feel bad saying anything negative about it. Logitech is one of the oldest players in the powered computer speaker market, and for decades they were also one of the best. It is not as if they have fallen from grace, as that would be a wholly too dramatic assertion. Rather, you are left wondering if their innovation needs to keep up with their legacy.
The Logitech X-140 is a premium product and as such carries a premium price tag. At the time of reviewing, most vendors were selling the X-140 for around $200USD. For this price, you receive what you have come to expect from Logitech; that is a solid set of speakers with all the features you need but little else. And therein lies the primary issue. For anyone willing to shell out a pair of benjamins for a set of powered desktop speakers, it is not unfair for them to expect more.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. Arguably, the Logitech X-140 excels at the most important task. The sound quality is excellent and surprisingly full for a speaker of this size. This depth is due to the dual drivers found in each speaker. Peaking through the semi-transparent grill will reveal not just the 3” composite driver that most speakers have, but also a second 3” dedicated bass driver. This secondary speaker, along with some clever porting, allow the X-140 to produce almost subwoofer levels of bass. An impressive trick, for sure.
For all the focus on the low-end of the frequency spectrum, the X-140 does fall somewhat flat on the top end. While high frequencies are adequate, they sometimes sounded muddy. This was exacerbated with any track that required simultaneous mid-range heavy reproduction. Quite simply, it was easy to overwhelm the composite driver.
Logitech was also thoughtful in the design of the X-140. It features front-mounted controls for all aspects of the sound, as well as a front-mounted Line-In for plugging in a secondary audio device. These are both features that are all too commonly overlooked by designers.
In reflection, there is nothing specifically inadequate about the X-140. But, for the price, the standard lies closer to exceptional. Most customers would be better served by a lower-end model by Logitech, which would deliver 95% of the sound quality for 20% of the price.
- Design is Clean, if Somewhat Boring
- Excellent Bass
- Muddy Highs
Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System
The Creative A250 is an intriguing set of speakers because it leaves one asking what niche it is attempting to fill. The user experience of the A250 is excellent, and the sound quality is noteworthy given the price-point. However, the combination of a truly massive subwoofer paired with two juvenile-styled speakers left a lot of questions as to Creative’s intent.
Starting with the desk speakers, the sound quality is surprisingly clear. Despite only having a single composite driver, creative porting and amplification lead to impressively large sound dynamics. The issue with these speakers was not with the sound. Rather, the main complaint was the styling.
The speaker styling of the A250 could most aptly be described as “1990’s Cartoon.” Truthfully, they are somewhat cute. But for someone looking for a modern or professional looking set of speakers, they may not be the best choice.
The next odd choice which Creative made with the A250 is the size of the subwoofer. If their goal was to give the local IMAX a run for its money, then they may just have succeeded. Especially for a budget-oriented and small speaker set, the subwoofer seems excessive. While it unquestionably delivered all the thundering low frequencies you could ever want, the physical size made placement a concern. Further, turning up the bass quickly allowed the subwoofer to overwhelm the rest of the system. Thus, the subwoofer is only a logical pairing if you restrain it significantly.
The best audience for the A250 is the gamer community. In this context, the playful styling and bass-forward acoustics make a lot more sense. Further, the subwoofer would look right at home next to an RGB-decked gaming tower.
The Creative A250 is actually an excellent system, especially for its price of only around $50USD. However, some of the choices made lead this to be an excellent niche product, rather than a player for the mainstream.
- Incredible Bass
- Affordable Price
- Styling is Polarizing
- Subwoofer Placement May Be A Challenge
AmazonBasics AC Powered PC Multimedia External Speakers
Perhaps the most accurate thing that can be said about the AmazonBasics speakers is that the name is accurate: they are a basic but impressively functional product. It is important to say this upfront because they are a product that demands to be reviewed within its context.
The AmazonBasics speakers retail for around $25USD, making them a decidedly budget-focused product. This is not to imply that they fall short in any meaningful way. They look reasonably handsome, they sound fairly good, and there are no glaring omissions to the feature list.
The sound quality was not what one would expect from looking at the speakers. Generally, speakers that feature dual composite drivers tend towards being bass or mid-range forward. However, the AmazonBasics speakers actually prioritized high-level reproduction. The bass and midrange were perfectly adequate and sound production was overall very clear. However, many high pitched tracks forced the speakers to muddy some of the lower-end frequencies. If you are a passionate flute or mandolin listener, these may not be the best choice.
The overall feel and appearance of the AmazonBasics speakers are not bad, but they are about what you would expect. The molded plastic case combined with the notable lack of speaker grills made the speakers look somewhat cheap. Further, the choice of hardwired cables instead of jacks on the rear of the speakers was likely a choice made for cost-reasons rather than functional considerations. Again, though, it is difficult to view this as an insult to the speakers. They feel cheap because they are cheap.
A surprising but welcome addition to the AmazonBasics speakers is the front-mounted Line-In port. This is an extremely useful feature that all-too-often even expensive brands forego. The ability to quickly plug in an external music player without moving any cords is a nice touch that definitely ups the versatility of these speakers.
Overall, there is nothing bad to say about the AmazonBasics speakers. They are not likely to win any sound or design awards, but they deliver exactly what they promise: a surprisingly capable set of speakers at an utterly affordable price.
- Front Mounted Line-In
- Very Nice High-End Sound Reproduction
- Construction Felt Somewhat Cheap
- Slightly Muddy Low-End Sound
Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200
The Logitech Z200 occupies a fascinating place in the powered speaker market. Logitech is unquestionably one of the flagship companies in the computer speaker game, and many of their products reflect this status in the price. When shopping for powered computer speakers, one can drop $300USD on a set of Logitech speakers with staggering ease. But the Z200 occupies the opposite end of this spectrum. The Logitech Z200 costs under $20.
What, then, is sacrificed when a high-end maker takes a crack at a low-end product? Shockingly little, it turns out. From an audio perspective, the Z200 punches firmly above its weight class. So long as your expectations are set in-line with a single set of 3” drivers, you will be thoroughly impressed by the expansive sound stage produced by these diminutive speakers.
Further, the Z200 provides an impressively complete set of features for a speaker set at this price point. Users are given easy access to tone controls, volume, a headphone jack, and a much-appreciated front-input for additional devices. The ergonomics of the tone control leave something to be desired, given their awkward side-mounted placement. However, they are still perfectly functional and do not significantly deter from the overall experience.
If one nod to cost-cutting was made by Logitech, it would be in the styling and materials department. While they do not feel flimsy, the Z200’s do feel surprisingly light and budget-oriented. Beyond this, the lack of speaker-grills is a cost-cutting measure that some may not mind, but some might view it as a poor choice.
The Z200 is an impressive package for the cost. While no one will likely be impressed by the sight of them on your desk, Logitech invested their limited dollars where it counts. The sound quality of these speakers surpasses that of products that are multitudes more expensive. And for $20, can you really ask for more?
- Excellent Sound Quality
- The Cheapest Way to Enter the Logitech Game
- Construction Feels Somewhat Cheap
- Some Controls are Awkward to Use
Creative Inspire T12 2.0
For some time, Creative has been one of the most impressive newcomers to the powered desktop speaker world. Their T20 speaker system continues to be one of the most impressive packages on the market for its given price range. On the heels of the T20’s excellence, it was with significant excitement that we reviewed the T12. Our conclusion? It is still a good product, but a lot of the magic is gone.
It bears explaining that the T12 is a direct response to the success of the T20. Whereas the T20 is a mid-priced set featuring dual driven speakers in each unit, the T12 retains the same case but reduces the speaker number by half. Unfortunately, this impacts the style and the substance of the T12.
Much of the styling of the T20 was derived from the gorgeous display of the exposed drivers. The sound quality too was stunning because of this sound-forward philosophy. And it is in that context that the T12 seems somewhat underwhelming.
Perhaps this is unfair, because the Creative T12 is still an excellent set of speakers, and costs almost half of what the T20 demands ($40USD vs $65USD.) Sound quality is still excellent if somewhat less full, and the styling and build quality are still excellent. If $40USD is the maximum you can budget, the T12 is a fantastic choice. But if you can spring for the extra $25USD, go with the T20.
- Good Sound Quality
- Great Value
- Front-Mounted Line-in
- Sound is Less Full Than The Slightly More Expensive T20
- The Included 3.5mm Cord is Somewhat Short
In conclusion, you have plenty of great options when it comes to choosing the best computer speakers online. But sticking to the tried and true brands will usually serve you well.
There are a lot of amazing companies out there like Logitech, Bose & Pyle who are creating the next generation of computer speakers.