Lately we have been checking out a lot of different workstation components, like keyboards and lighting, now let’s cover sound. With modern monitors getting slimmer and cheaper, we find that sound becomes an afterthought, and build-in speakers are terrible or flat out missing. I can understand why, as gamers and, well.. actually most people right now have transitioned to using headphones for privacy and just for overall comfort so general speakers are not required as much.
But from time to time you get tired of headphones, maybe you are collaborating with someone on a project or simply want to blast some music while rocking out and cleaning the house. This is where Pebble V3 comes in. These USB speakers look to be a good bang for the buck - let's find out if that is the case.
These speakers come in a pretty standard box, inside we find a very detailed manual, speakers themselves and a USB C to USB type A converter.
When we look closer at the speakers, they are pretty small, with drivers pointing upwards at a 45 degree angle. This basically makes them point directly at your ears, if they are set up on a desk in front of you. It seems like a simple yet clever design feature.
These speakers are about 12 cm in height and are interconnected with 1.35m cable.
The right speaker is the primary one and has the volume dial that doubles as an on/off switch.
There is also a source select button and status LED. On the bottom it has gain control, here you can select auto or high, so if you want to amplify the sound - you have some extra control.
Integrated USB C cable is used to send audio and power to the speakers, it is very convenient if you have a modern PC or laptop. But even if your device is not the latest and the greatest - the included USB type C to USB type A adapter has got you covered.
Do bear in mind that these speakers require 10W of power so some older USB ports on the PC may not have enough juice. If you find yourself in this situation, then simply plug the USB cable into a USB brick and you can control the speakers either via Bluetooth 5.0 or run an additional 3.5mm audio cable. Unfortunately this cable is not included in the kit.
Talking about Bluetooth - it has a pretty reasonable range. In our studio we were able to stream music from a neighbouring room through solid walls. If you go further, the signal does get choppy. So it’s nothing to write home about but it can easily be used as another way of sending audio.
Due to the size and ability to power them via USB, you can actually make the speakers somewhat portable. It is certainly a very unorthodox set-up but it works pretty well. A fair warning though - they are not IP rated nor are they rugged so be careful if using out and about.
So the Pebble v3 look pretty slick and have a few tricks up their sleeve but are they any good as speakers? Actually, I would say they are not bad at all, especially when you consider their cost is 40 USD. And no, they are not going to blow your socks off - it’s after all just a 2 channel desktop speaker set. If you want to go a tier up - Creative also sells Pebble Plus that includes a sub to really push those lows. Unfortunately for now those are based on the older version.
As to sound quality - they have a reasonable range and get pretty loud (check out the sound test in our video above, timestamp at 3:22). At max loudness they do distort but I have not heard much crackling or any other weird sounds and even at 50% loudness I find them way past my comfort level. I normally keep them between 20 and 30% and it's plenty loud on my desk. If you were to set them up somewhere in the corner of the room and blast them for a little party - they will easily fill the room while sounding pretty good.
As these are pretty budget friendly speakers, in all honesty I expected them to sound much cheaper with a typical budget speaker rattle when on high volume but the sound quality didn't fall apart too much even when pushed way past the 50% volume. If you look closer, there’s a padded rubber bottom which certainly reduces the vibrations, and also works as an anti-slip feature, nicely done!
A few things I would love Creative team to improve on this product would be:
First, to make the interconnecting cable a bit longer, with an option to unplug it. I hate having loads of cables around my desk, and would like to route them under - but as this cable is permanently attached - the options I’m left with are much more limited and I am certain that I am not alone with this.
Second, is to include a headphone passthrough port, it would be especially handy for people who want a one cable solution for their laptop.
Overall I’d say for any casual user or people who have bad built-in monitor speakers - this is a good looking and a well priced set. However, if you are an audiophile, then I suspect your expectations are much greater and you should look into investing a lot more money for an audio set up.