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Having recently lost a colleague from my department, I was faced with the prospect of having an office all to myself. Whilst some would consider this a luxury, I actually like the companionship that another person brings and wasn't looking forward to the prospect of having a silent office with me as the only occupant. As a result, I decided in my wisdom to bring some CDs into work in order that I might play them softly in the background whilst I was working and, as the quality of sound from my company laptop is not great, I decided over the weekend to buy a pair of speakers to take into work. I wasn't looking for anything too expensive, only speakers that would look discreet on my desk and so when I spotted these HP Multimedia speakers in my local Argos I thought they looked ideal.
The speakers themselves are predominantly black in colour with a shiny black front and matt black body with the HP logo being the only indication of the branding of the speakers. As everything on my desk is HP I was initially drawn to the fact that all the electricals on my desk would match and I am certainly not disappointed now that they are set up. The size of these particular speakers is great. I wanted something that would produce sufficient sound and yet sit discreetly behind my rather large monitor and these certainly do just that. The rectangular speakers are each just over 10cm tall with a width of around 6cm and a depth of 8cm making them quite petite and certainly small enough so as not to take up too much room on my already crowded desk.
In terms of technical details these speakers are 1 watt each and are powered via USB. They are 0.5kg in weight and have a frequency response of 150hz - 20khz with full range drivers. Unfortunately these terms do not mean a lot to me, and as long as they played my music crisply and at a sufficient volume I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.
Once removed from the box, I did take the time to read the instructions which came with these speakers as I am not particularly good at setting up electrical things. One speaker has three wires which come out of the back of it and HP recommend that you position the speakers on a flat surface before plugging them in. I made sure that I had a speaker at either side of my monitor before connecting one of the three wires into the second speaker. The second wire requires plugging in to the laptops headphone jack in order that the sound can be relayed and the third into the USB port to power the speakers. In my experience this was all incredibly easy to do and I certainly didn't struggle as much as I thought I could.
Once set up I was pleased with the look of these speakers and even more pleased with the short time that it took to set them up. My only criticism was the shortness of the cables which does mean that my speakers are both quite close to my monitor and I couldn't move these around my desk as I have done with other speakers at home in the past.
To operate these speakers is really a case of starting your music or media file and then adjusting the volume of the speakers via the volume control settings on the laptop. My speakers at home are controlled via a knob at the front which adjusts the sound accordingly and therefore I did have to double check that these were in fact controlled via the machine before use.
Once the music is playing I really do appreciate the sound quality of these speakers. I find that they produce vocals that are quite crisp to listen to and that the top notes of the music and instrumentals are easy to distinguish. This is particularly true of my current favourite audio track London Grammar whose lyrics I often struggle to hear clearly but with these I find the words quite easy to pick out. I haven't tested these speakers to their full volume potential for fear of disturbing the neighbouring offices, however find that at the low and medium settings they are clearly heard around my office and can imagine that they would produce quite a loud sound at full volume for their compact size.
I believe that these speakers are available in a range of electrical stores including Argos where I purchased mine and paid £17.99. I was a bit gutted when I spotted them on the Amazon website for just £13.29 this morning but as I wanted my speakers this week I really wouldn't have wanted to wait for the postage time.
I really like these speakers and find them a handy way to listen to music in my office whilst looking smart at the same time. As a result I would recommend them and they score an excellent five stars from me.
I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x
One benefit I find of using a desktop computer rather than a laptop is that it is tucked away in our study upstairs. A benefit in that if I were to start using a laptop, no doubt I'd be sitting in the living room, getting distracted by the television, or the radio, or my husbands chatter. At least in my study there isn't really any distracting noise. Which means that I usually find it's a good time to listen to music or some of my favourite radio shows.
Our current speakers came as a package with our Dell computer, and until recently they were reliable and gave good quality sound. They suddenly decided to only work intermittently though, which has resulted in me not being able to play any music other than through headphones, which I don't like doing.
These were recently on sale for £12.49 which was apparently half price, although I thought it still expensive for what they were. A few weeks later, and they were reduced further to £9.99, so I bit the bullet and bought them.
In the box...
.. are two wee little speakers. 10cm tall by 6cm wide and around 8cm deep to be exact. Face on, not much bigger than a credit card. The fronts of them are a nice shiny piano black with the back halves a more muted black plastic, none of which screams cheap or tacky. They come with a sheet of paper with a few diagrams showing you how to set the speakers up, which they call a quick start guide. There's also a limited warranty folded up like a large map.
.. is child's play, even for those who can't understand diagrams. One of the speakers has three leads (not detachable). One links it to the other speaker, the other two are to attach to the pc or laptop. The good news is that as they connect to the pc via a usb port, no batteries are needed. The bad news is the resultant lack of power. That isn't a problem for me, I don't want speakers which leave the house shaking, but for anyone used to listening to music through much more powerful speakers, these will inevitably seem lacklustre.
.. or my study, now has a pair of natty little speakers which have so far proved very reliable. For anyone able to visualise such things, the power is stated to be 1 watt per speaker. This means very little to me, and although it seems frightening low, the sound is actually really quite good. Vocals are clear and crisp, as are most of the instruments I've heard played, the only downside would be a less than decent bass sound. I can't really expect anything too grand though, because this doesn't come with a separate subwoofer, unlike my older Dell speakers.
It's worth pointing out that the sound card in my Pc must be 7 or 8 years old. I have no idea if they tire with age, but it's worth pointing out that anyone using a newer Pc or laptop (with a newer soundcard) may get a different aural perspective when listening to these, as with any speakers.
Room for improvements?
Having paid less than a tenner for these, it comes as no surprise that although the sound is good enough - for me at least - the design, although nice, is very very basic. One thing I miss is not having any controls on the speakers themselves. My Dell speakers had an on/off volume button, and the subwoofer had a separate bass volume control. Not so with these. You control the volume via your pc, yet I still automatically reach to one of the speakers to switch them off.
Another grumble I have is the short leads these have. I'd say the length between both speakers is probably no more than 2 feet with the length between the first speaker and the usb port being the same again. It means both speakers are placed near the centre of the desk rather than at the sides where I'd rather have them.
Longer leads would have meant I could have attached them at the back of my PC too which would look tidier. I'm currently using these by plugging them into a usb socket at the front of my Pc, which means having trailing wires up over the desk. This of course won't be an issue for anyone thinking of using these with a laptop. On that note, these are lightweight, and easy to carry, although unlike other speakers, they don't come supplied with their own case. If you were thinking of taking these with you to different locations, they're fairly robust, and I don't see how you'd damage them, aside from dropping them. A carry case would have been a nice touch though.
The modest 2 watts these produce isn't going to fill big rooms, but for anyone wanting simple, desk-based speakers these are certainly good. I don't think the sound quality is much better than my older speakers, but it's no worse either. Catching up with some Radio 2 shows recently, the presenters sounded as clear as they do on the Dab radio in my kitchen. For anyone wanting speakers through which they can listen to drum and bass music though, perhaps look elsewhere.
As for the price, aside from the large supermarket chain where I bought mine, Amazon are currently selling them for around £12. As much as I'm enjoying using them, I wouldn't suggest paying any more than that.
|Product Description:||HP Multimedia 2.0 - speakers - for PC - wired|
|Product Type:||Speakers - PC multimedia - wired|
|System Components:||2 speakers|
|Speaker System Details:||2|
|Designed For:||HP 2000, g6; Envy 14, 15, 4, DV6, DV7, h8; ENVY Phoenix h9; Envy Sleekbook 4; ENVY TouchSmart 15, 23, 4; Envy x2; Mini 200; Omni 27; Pavilion 14, 15, DV6, dv7, G6, g7; Pavilion Sleekbook 14, 15; Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook 15; Spectre 14; Spectre ONE 23; Spectre XT; SPECTRE XT TouchSmart 15|