As smart televisions and laptops get smaller, lighter and thinner, the one sacrifice we’ve all had to endure has been with their overall audio performance. Small speakers just don’t cut it in the audio department, and if you are at all interested in audio and how it performs on your TV or laptop, it is very likely that you’re not going to settle for the speakers that are built into them.
It’s likely you’ll be looking for an external speaker to beef up your audio experience. Lucky for you there are plenty of desktop speakers out there, all fighting for the attention of your earholes, but there are very few that achieve the demands for both sound quality and looks. The original Pebble from Creative Labs was a great looking pair of speakers that sit pretty against any fancy-looking laptop or neon-glowing gaming desktop, yet that hasn’t stopped them from improving on this model with the new Pebble V2.
The Creative Labs Pebble V2 carries over the same award-winning 2.0 desktop speakers aesthetic, with its slick minimalistic design, adds USB-C connectivity for higher power output and the V2 also now packs a built-in gain switch to help amplify the audio up to 16W, which is double the power of the original Pebble speakers.
Out of the box, everything you need is already connected to the two tiny Pebble speakers that measure just 11.6 x 12.2 x 11.5 cm (4.5 x 4.8 x 4.5 inches). The business end all happens on the right speaker. There are power indication and a dial to control the volume on the front of the speaker, whilst on the back, there are three cables that exit out from the rear of the right speaker. One 1.34m (4.4 ft) single cable connects to the left speaker, whilst two 1.2m (4 ft) cables connect your computer’s 3.5mm headphone jack for audio and a USB-C port to power the speakers.
With USB-C becoming the standard on newer laptops, desktop computers, tablets and smartphones, this standard of connection is great for you. If your desktop or laptop has only USB-A ports, however, Creative has provided a USB-C to USB-A adapter for you. Simply connect the cable to an available USB port and a little blue light illuminates from the right speaker.
Because the audio on the Pebble V2 is only transferred over its 3.5mm headphone jack, I was faced with a dilemma of what hardware I was able to connect them to. With both iPhone and iPad removing their 3.5mm ports, I had to turn to my Apple MacBook Pro as the audio and power source for these Pebble V2s. Its ample cable length allowed me to position and connect them up with ease. I would have probably liked less audio and power cable length, but that’s just me being a bit of a cable tiny snob.
Firing up Spotify on the MacBook I went through my usual test playlist of music tracks on the Pebble V2 speakers. My first reaction to the audio quality was good. I was not blown away but its limited bass response, but at low volumes, the speakers sounded good and compared to the MacBook’s own speakers, it was a big improvement for sure.
You do have to compare them more against built-in audio speakers on a TV or laptop. When you compare it to these thin pieces of technology, the Pebble V2 shines in this regard. They will certainly not give you room-shaking bass, and it will be hard to find a speaker in this price range that ever will without a sub attached to it. If you are after more bass, you can opt for the Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 bundle, which includes a separate subwoofer that will handle all the bass tasks of your audio.
The Pebble certainly excels more with a certain type of music than others. With its strength resting in the high treble range, vocals, strings and tracks that hit the treble a lot resonate clear and crisp. This is also helped by its 2” full-range drivers that are angled directly towards your ears at a 45-degree angle. By moving the Pebble speakers close to you, to allow the drivers to point directly at you does help enhance their clarity, however, if your desktop space doesn’t allow for this, then you might have to reconsider purchasing these.
When it comes to price though, the Creative Pebble V2 is a pretty good deal. Any negative points or lack of bass soon diminish when you think about its £22.99 ($29.99) recommended retail price, and better still at its current promotional price of £17.99, available this time of writing as part of an Amazon UK Lightning Deal. If you are looking for a small, discrete pair of speakers that don’t break the bank, yet look pretty great alongside your laptop or desktop, give the Pebble V2 a listen.