The Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II PC speaker set is aimed at those want a simple stereo set-up for listening to music and other day-to-day audio functions, rather than a complicated 7.1 kit for gaming surround sound. Priced at around £65, the T20s aren't exactly cheap, but do they offer the performance to justify the price tag?
Creative has certainly got the design of these speakers bang on. We love the curvaceous look and the sleek, glossy black front panels. The speakers come with cloth front grilles, but, as these are detachable, you don't have to use them and there's a certain charm to the look of the set when the grilles are left off.
Setting up the T20s is straightforward. It's just a matter of hooking up the power supply, connecting a single lead from the right speaker to the left one and then linking your sound card's audio out to the mini jack input on the rear of the right speaker's casing. All the necessarily leads are provided in the box.
The controls are all housed on the front of the right speaker, with the volume control doubling as the on/off switch. When the speakers are on, this control is circled by a cool-looking blue light that manages not to be too distracting when placed beside your monitor. Next to the volume control is another pair of dials for controlling bass and treble levels, and, under these, are a headphone output socket and an auxiliary input for hooking up external devices such as MP3 players.
Of course, it's the sound quality that really counts and, on this front, we've got no complaints. Despite their relatively small size, the speakers pack a potent sonic punch. They feature integrated woofers, with Creative's BasXPort technology, so it's not surprising that they manage to cook up a very healthy helping of bottom end, but the high-frequency drivers also kick out lively amounts of treble too. If you wanted to be picky, you could say that the mid-range frequencies don't have as much presence as they could, but, even on this front, the speakers still sound better than most other similarly sized stereo PC set-ups that we've used.
Rather than using a built-in transformer, the T20s come with an external power pack. This, in itself, is not ideal, but it's made worse by the fact that the power cable that connects the transformer to the speakers is rather short. The result is that it's not quite long enough to thread up through the cable hole at the back of a normal office desk and into the back of the speaker. Instead, we had to sit the transformer on the desk, rather than the floor.
Similarly, the lead that connects the right speaker to the left one is on the short side. It will stretch across most desks but, if you keep your speakers on a shelf behind your PC, you may need to invest in an extension cable.
Finally, the speakers are relatively expensive for what is, after all, just a simple stereo set-up.
The Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II is expensive for a set of simple stereo PC speakers, but we think that the great-looking design, together with the warm and rich audio performance, go a long way towards justifying the price tag. As a result, we'd heartily recommend them to anyone looking to upgrade their PC's speaker system.
Edited by Charles Kloet