REVIEWS / PC Speaker Reviews
2.0, 2.1, 3.1...
We test our speakers with practical considerations in mind: listening to music and gaming. Playing DVDs isn't off the agenda with 2.1 speakers, but you'll get better results from 5.1 speakers.
The quality of the audio is paramount: treble, mid-range and bass sounds all need to sound clear without producing a flat sound and any feedback should be minimal. We also look at the design, settings and connectivity options.
What to look for
But to judge by the number of audio files that are shared over the Internet every day, listening to music is one of our favourite things to do on our computers. To take the leap and set yourself up with some 2.1 speakers that are actually worth listening to, all you'll need is a computer with a sound card which has a stereo mini-jack output. That's the bare minimum you'll find on absolutely every laptop or desktop computer these days.
Manufacturers are always keen to tell you just how powerful their speakers are, but be careful, because drowning in Watts doesn't necessarily make for a great listening experience. They often use different methods to produce these numbers, so it can often be tricky to make a realistic comparison between the figures.
It's also worth pointing out that the quality has greatly improved over the last few years, so it's now possible to find good speakers that match any budget.