The old saying “you get what you pay for” is especially true in the world of computer speakers. Cheaper speakers tend to use lower-end materials and often sound weak or muddy. Good materials are critical to good sound, so it’s often wiser to save up for the more expensive pair of speakers than to go for a budget option. Creative’s new Pebble speakers are looking to become the exception to the rule, delivering a sophisticated, crystal clear sound at a fraction of the price.
The Creative Labs Pebble system is available for just $25. Not only do they sound great, but are insanely small as well. It’s a pretty rare combination, which helps the Pebble system stand out.
Creative says the minimalist design of the Pebble was inspired by a Japanese rock garden. Pretentious as that may be, there’s no denying that these small speakers are absolutely elegant in their design. Measuring just 4.5 x 4.4 x 4.6 inches, there’s zero wasted space here, and the minimalist form factor makes the Pebble ideal for those looking for a pair of speakers to use with their laptop. Even for desktop users, these little eggs are perfect if your desk is small or otherwise cluttered. As a nice bonus, the Pebble speakers don’t slide around, either, thanks to a round rubber foot on each speaker.
The Pebble is powered by a USB connection, and connects to your computer through a traditional 3.5mm output. I like the USB power, as it can be tough sometimes to find an additional outlet space. The downside, however, is that two connections means two wires, and that can clutter up your workspace. I would have loved to have seen some Bluetooth connectivity, especially so I could connect the Pebble to my phone. However, I understand that this probably isn’t feasible at this price point.
Not only is it the best computer speaker system in this price range, it’s powerful and dynamic enough to compete with speakers in price ranges several notches higher, too.
My only other issues with the Pebble speakers is that there’s no mute button, and worse, no headphone output. If you want to use headphones with the Pebble, you’ll have to either plug them in to a separate USB port (assuming of course that you have USB headphones) or unplug the Pebble and plug in your traditional 3.5mm headphones. This is a bit of a pain, and could’ve easily been solved with the inclusion of a headphone output. Hopefully Creative will address this with future models, but for now, I’ll just grit my teeth and unplug the speakers.
Don’t let the small stature of the Pebble fool you – it’s more than capable of producing some big sounds. Stats-wise, the Pebble has two inch full range drivers angled at 45 degrees. The angling allows sound from the Pebble to directly hit your ears, providing a richer, immersive listening experience. While it lacks the rich, deep bass a more powerful and expensive set of speakers provides, it nevertheless delivers an impressive and lush soundscape.
I played tons of different genres through the Pebble, from rock, to country, to hip hop, and metal, and they all had tons of depth and detail. The Pebble speakers also sounded good with video games too. While I ultimately prefer to use headphones to get that true immersive experience, I could nevertheless accurately make out locations of distant enemies and revel in the satisfying squelch of a fragged opponent.
But what really stuck out most to me using the Pebble was the sheer value I was getting for the dollar. Unless you’re an audiophile, chances are you’re not going to notice the difference between the Pebble and speakers even twice as expensive, which is a pretty substantial recommendation.
More than meets the eye
The Pebble speakers are an absolute steal at this price point, providing near unbeatable value. Not only is it the best computer speaker system in this price range, it’s powerful and dynamic enough to compete with speakers in price ranges several notches higher, too. Unless you are willing to shell out more than 100 dollars for computer speakers, there’s not going to be another set that offers a noticeable upgrade in sound quality.
With the Pebble speakers, you’re getting far, far more than what you pay for, enough so that I’d be willing to shell out quite a few extra bucks for them - but let’s not tell Creative that.