Computer Speakers: Ratings of Sources
Total of 20 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Best Computer Speakers
by Editors of CNET
Our AssessmentCNET lists its top choices in PC speakers on this page. All get a rating and are compared to similar models. The Audioengine 5 and Audioengine 2 both get an "excellent" score of 4 out of 5 stars, but only the expensive Audioengine 5 gets an Editors' Choice award. Other speakers from Harman Kardon, Bowers & Wilkins, Creative and Logitech also make the list with 3.5-star -- "very good" -- ratings.
Best Portable Laptop Speakers
by Justin Yu
Our AssessmentHere, CNET editors list their favorite laptop speakers, with star ratings and links to full reviews. Some of the speakers get higher ratings than others, but the full reviews do a good job explaining why they're on the list -- for instance, that they travel particularly well.
How to Buy PC Speakers
by Tim Gideon
Our AssessmentPCMag.com editors list their favorite PC speakers in this buyer's guide, though reviews for other models are available elsewhere on the site. Ratings make it easier to compare speakers, and reviewers give useful pros, cons and bottom-line assessments. Editors' Choice awards go to the "magnificent"-sounding Antec Sounscience Rockus 3D 2.1, "reasonably priced" Logitech Z623 and the oddly shaped but now "iconic" Harman Kardon SoundSticks III.
Bringing Home the Bass: 2.1-Channel Speaker Roundup
by Don Woligroski
Our AssessmentIn this painstakingly designed shootout, TomsHardware.com compares five 2.1-channel speaker systems, playing both songs and games. Tester Don Woligroski gives his personal opinions on how the speakers sound and their ease of use, but he also measures their frequency response (to see how faithfully they reproduce sound and whether the bass is overwhelming). Woligroski can't pick a winner between the similarly priced Klipsch Promedia 2.1 and Logitech Z623.
Premium Two-Channel PC Speaker Roundup
by Don Woligroski
Our AssessmentHere, Don Woligroski of TomsHardware.com subjects four basic two-channel speaker systems to the same rigorous testing as in his 2.1-channel shootout. The M-Audio AV 40 beats both the Creative GigaWorks T40 Series II and the pricey Bowers & Wilkins MM-1. Woligroski also likes the budget-priced model he tests from Altec Lansing, but it has been discontinued.
by Editors of MaximumPC magazine
Our AssessmentThis high-adrenaline and often irreverent computer magazine periodically publishes single-product reviews. Ratings, along with pluses and minuses, make it possible to compare systems. A Kick Ass award goes to Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 for "exquisite," "pristine" and "magnificent" sound quality, including well-integrated bass. Speakers from Audioengine, Axiom, Focal, Klipsch and Logitech rate nearly as high, but testers aren't shy about downgrading speakers they don't like.
by Editors of TechTree.com
Our AssessmentThis website, based in India, provides a rating and pros and cons for each speaker system, as well as some comparisons to competitors, though not all are sold in the U.S. Reviews are clear, critical and thorough. No speakers get a perfect score, but speakers from Bose, Creative, Cyber Acoustics and Logitech all get high ratings.
by Editors of Macworld
Our AssessmentMacworld's reviews mostly cover iPod speaker systems, but there are still plenty of computer speakers reviewed here. Each model is rated from 1 to 5. The expensive Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 is highly praised by reviewer Christopher Breen for balance and detail at close listening, though the less expensive M-Audio AV 40 is "remarkably balanced and accurate overall." Speakers from Blue Sky, Audioengine and Focal also get high marks.
by Editors of PC World (Australia) Good Gear Guide
Our AssessmentReviews at this Australian site are drawn from PC Advisor (U.K.) as well as PC World (Australia), all owned by the same parent company. Ratings and an occasional Best Buy award make it easy to compare models. Andrew Harrison gives the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 an unusually high rating for rich audio and quality design. A more affordable option with more powerful bass output is Creative's GigaWorks T3, which received a Best Buy award.
by Laldinfela Pachuau
Our AssessmentYou'll find 5.1 and 2.1 speaker system reviews on this technology news and reviews site from India. Laldinfela Pachuau gives the Creative GigaWorks T3 2.1 system a high rating for clear sound and impressive bass in a small package.
Speakers and Headphones
by Mark Casey and Lisa Johnston
Our AssessmentThere are no Editors Choice designations here, but each product gets a rating, pros and cons list, and assessment of features and performance. Speakers from Logitech get the highest ratings. A portable choice that Lisa Johnston recommends is Logitech's unusual Speaker Lapdesk N700 with USB-attachable integrated speakers, which are surprisingly loud and clear. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
by Editors of TrustedReviews.com
Our AssessmentThough this British review site is generous with Editor's Choice and Recommended awards, reviews are fairly detailed and hands-on. Creative's GigaWorks T3 system is recommended for clear, detailed sound across the ranges at a reasonable price. At a higher price, reviews say nothing can beat the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1s with their rich detail. Reviewer Hugo Jobling says that they are meant for audiophile-quality music listening rather than action films.
Rock the Desktop
by Kevin Sintumuang
Our AssessmentKevin Sintumuang recommends five computer speaker systems, priced from $170 to $500. He briefly describes how each one sounds, its special features and what it's good for -- "for big bass," "for room-filling sound," etc. His personal favorite is the dated-looking but warm-sounding Audyssey Lower East Side.
PC Speaker Reviews
by Editors of DigitalTrends.com
Our AssessmentEditors here test PC speakers and issue numeric scores. Among current PC speakers, the Logitech Z523 wins the Editors' Choice award, followed closely by the Audioengine 2 and Joey Roth Ceramic Speakers. A large number of discontinued speakers remain listed, which bogs down navigation.
GOTY 2010 -- Portable Speakers
by Ashish Koshy
Our AssessmentThis Indian site features individual reviews as well as a number of roundups, including yearly awards. For 2010, Ashish Koshy names the Logitech Lapdesk N700 Gadget of the Year in the portable speaker category. The Lapdesk includes a built-in cooling fan that's not so loud that it interferes with the speakers, Koshy says.
by Editors of Pocket-Lint.com
Our AssessmentReviews at this U.K.-based website include a rating, pros and cons, and a verdict but aren't very detailed, and no comparisons are made. Additionally, not all of the speakers covered are available in the U.S.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com lets users post reviews of computer speakers that they own. Some speakers get hundreds of reviews, and it's easy to spot top choices. Many score similarly, though, and separating out the very best can be challenging. On the other hand, losers do tend to stick out. User-review sites such as Amazon.com are particularly useful in identifying cheap computer speakers that perform well, which aren't always covered in professional reviews.
by Contributors to Newegg.com
Our AssessmentNewegg.com is another retailer site that allows owners to write reviews. Posters here tend to have more technical savvy than at Amazon.com because the site caters to computer and electronics enthusiasts. In addition, reviewers are required to include information on their level of technical knowledge and how long they've owned/used a product. There are fewer models reviewed here, though.
Computer Speaker Set Reviews
by Editors of Which? magazine
Our AssessmentThis British publication, similar to ConsumerReports.org, thoroughly tests 10 computer speaker systems (including several popular U.S. models) and picks four Best Buys. A panel of experienced testers rates the speakers' ease of use, versatility and sound quality while playing music (pop, jazz and classical), movie soundtracks, spoken word and computer games. The only problem is that this review is old: Two of the Best Buys have been discontinued.
Best Laptop Speakers: Five to Buy
by Matthew Hanson
Our AssessmentThis reputable British tech review site recommends five portable speakers to boost your laptop's sound. Each gets a brief description, but no testing is mentioned. TechRadar.com does test and rate PC speakers in single-product reviews, but most of the models aren't available in the U.S.