Let’s face it: No matter what kind of laptop or desktop you have, the audio quality is going to be sub-par compared to external computer speakers. You can’t get the full range of dynamic frequencies when you are pushing music through tiny built-in speakers. If you truly care about the quality of your audio, you should upgrade to a pair of speakers from our top ten list.
Computer speakers are a great way to listen to your favorite songs, play games or watch movies and videos. This computer speakers review compared the best two speaker systems -- also called 2.0 computer speakers -- that are priced around $100. These speakers sit on your desk or workstation alongside your monitor or laptop.
We used a wide variety of music to test the frequency response (lows, mids highs) of all of the speakers. We used music from artists like Radiohead and Led Zeppelin to test how well the speakers registered mid-range and highs, and groups like Blackalicious, Aesop Rock, Skrillix, Rage Against the Machine and others helped us test the amount of low-end each pair of desktop speakers could handle.
From our rigorous testing process, we discovered that the Logitech Z600 offered great audio quality and the best connection versatility. The Cerwin-Vega XD3 produce pro-level audio quality, but fall just short of our top spot. Finally, the Bose Companion 2 Series III pair of speakers outshined many other laptop speakers to earn third place on our lineup. For more information on this topic, check out our articles about computer speakers.
It can be difficult to determine what will be a good set of computer speakers, especially those in the 2.0 category. The following is the set of criteria we used to review each speaker system.
The sound quality is by far the most important aspect when looking for a new pair of desktop speakers. The best computer speakers offer crystal clear audio quality that doesn’t distort when you turn the volume up.
Be wary of manufacturers’ computer speaker specifications. There is no standard set to which these companies rate categories such as frequency response, sensitivity or power output. The best thing to do is simply listen to your speakers. That’s why we tested each of these speakers, so you know which ones actually sound the best, not just which ones look good on paper.
Most of the speakers we reviewed connect to your computer via a 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) input jack or USB port. However, we did test a couple of computer speakers that have Bluetooth capabilities. Bluetooth is a wonderfully convenient way to connect your computer or mobile device to your speakers. We recommend looking into speakers that offer Bluetooth capabilities.
The laptop speakers we reviewed come in all shapes and sizes. Some are aesthetically pleasing while others look plain and boring. We made sure you know the size and weight of each speaker so you can find the right speakers for your desktop.
Help & Support
It’s always nice to know which companies are going to be there for you if something happens to your computer speakers. We looked at the tech support options available from the manufacturer, including the length of the warranty and direct contact options such as email, phone or live chat.
Ultimately, 2.0 computer speakers can be a fantastic way to hear great sound from your computer or notebook at a desk or workstation. With the multimedia options available for our desks today, it's worth investing a little in a good set of speakers that will perform well with a variety of media.
TopTenREVIEWS no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in October 2014.
|Logitech Z600||Cerwin-Vega XD3||Bose Companion 2||JBL Jembe||Hercules XPS||Creative GigaWorks||Pioneer S-MM201||Pioneer S-MM251||Cyber Acoustic||Insignia 2.0|
|Sound Quality Score||95||100||90||80||80||75||65||65||60||60|
|Low Frequency Response (Hz)||80||102||Not Available||80||80||50||Not Available||Not Available||150||150|
|High Frequency Response (Hz)||18||24.3||Not Available||20||20||20||Not Available||Not Available||20||20|
|Impedance (ohms)||10k||8||Not Available||>5k||4||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Sensitivity||>88dB||N/A||Not Available||>80dB||80dB||>80dB||Not Available||Not Available||5dB||5dB|
|Output Power (watts)||13||15 (per channel)||Not Available||20||24||28||1.5||1.5||Not Available||Not Available|
|Help & Support|
|Warranty||2 years||3 years||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year||3 months||3 months||1 year||1 year|