PC speakers typically prove the maxim “you get what you pay for.” The trade-off for saving a few sawbucks is often shoddy construction, generic design, and subpar sound. AmazonBasics USB-Powered Computer Speakers with Dynamic Sound dispel that idea. Combining great audio, a sturdy build, and a contemporary look, this system is a steal.
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best budget computer speakers. Go there for reviews of competing models and how we tested them.
Like the AmazonBasics AC Powered Computer Speakers we reviewed awhile back, these USB-powered speakers are shockingly sturdy for their budget price. Each one weighs just under 1.5 pounds and is constructed of metal, with a metal grille covering the driver. Despite being a compact 3.9 x 2.6 x 2.8 inches, they have a heft that reassures you they can be moved between computers without having to handle them with kid gloves.
These are also the most stylish speakers I’ve seen carrying the AmazonBasics brand. Glowing blue LED accent lights below each one’s bottom radiator complement the lampshade shape and modern finish, giving them a sleek look far different from the boxy utilitarian design you usually get at this price point.
The speakers are hardwired together with enough cable length to set them on either side of a single-monitor desktop setup. Some Amazon reviewers have complained that they don’t stretch long enough to bookend dual monitors. A separate cord extending from the left speaker features an in-line volume control and splits into USB and 3.5mm audio inputs.
There’s no power switch for the system. The speakers power on as soon as you plug them into your computer’s USB port. That can be an issue, as there’s no way to turn off the accent lights without disconnecting the speakers, making them less than ideal for bedrooms or anywhere else you don’t want constant illumination.
Each speaker puts out 1.2 watts, for a combined 2.4 watts of RMS power. They have good volume: With the in-line volume all the way up, I kept the computer volume at the halfway mark and that was just right, but I could push it to its limit without any distortion.
The speakers have a warm, well-rounded sound I’d never expect for the price. The bass response is full without being boomy, and highs are crisp and clear. Virtually all the audio coming out of my laptop—music, films, video games—sounded significantly improved through these external speakers, versus the computer’s built-in ones.
Normally, cheap PC speakers are a temptation best resisted. But AmazonBasics’ USB-Powered Computer Speakers offer legitimate value. Their balanced sound is a certain upgrade over most computers’ built-in speakers, and their smart looks and quality construction won’t leave you feeling ashamed of being a skinflint. You can purchase these with pride.
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