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AmazonBasics Review

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AmazonBasics, an Amazon.com brand, makes budget computer speakers, and you can purchase either AC- or USB-powered models. The computer speaker systems have plain designs and are only available in black; their enclosures are made of plastic, although some are felt covered, and there are metal grilles in front. The only control on these computer speakers is the volume dial found on the right-channel speaker, and the dial also doubles as the power button. Additionally, some also have an LED power indicator light on the right-channel speaker, while others have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Each system’s two compact computer speakers are connected by a 53-inch cord, and with almost 4.5 feet of cable, it’s easy to position them on your desk for the best sound. In addition to the cord that connects the two speakers, the system also includes a stereo audio cable and either an AC power cord or a USB cable, depending on which model you choose.

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Although some models draw power from a USB port, the AmazonBasics speaker systems don’t support digital audio input. Rather, they connect to your computer via an analog 3.5mm input. This means there are three cables running across your computer desk. If you don't mind the cord clutter, AmazonBasics’ PC speakers have low profiles and small footprints. Also, the USB models draw very little power from your computer – they require only 5 volts – so they aren't a power drain.

Just like other USB-powered computer speaker, the ones AmazonBasics makes are underpowered. With a total power rating of 3 watts, each of the two speakers in the set only draws 1.5 watts. This means they house a low-power amplifier, and since they only have two channels, they don’t have a dedicated subwoofer. The driver unit is small, so don't expect these speakers to get loud or put out a thumping bass. Additionally, you can expect distortion as you turn the volume up. The AC-powered models are slightly more powerful, with a total power rating of 5 watts, or 2.5 watts per speaker.

An advantage to the low power requirement is that these multimedia speakers work with tablets, too. This means you can use them with iPads and tablets, as well as with iPhones or Android phones, plus your Kindle or MP3 player.

AmazonBasics makes a couple of decent computer speaker systems, and you can choose between USB- or AC-powered models. They sound better than the speakers built in to most computers, and they're portable and lightweight enough to stow away in your laptop bag. However, they have lots of cords and cables that will be strung across your desk.

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