Disclaimer: Creative Pebble Plus was sent to us by Creative’s PR handlers.
Creative is a company at the forefront of sound hardware development. While many PC gamers don’t dabble in the realm of sound cards anymore—although we will be covering Creative’s brand-new Sound Blaster card in the future—everyone can respect a decent set of speakers. At a low price of just £35 (or $40), Creative’s Pebble Plus desktop speakers are a solid sound setup for those on a budget.
Held within compact, straight-to-business packaging, the Creative Pebble Plus consists of two half-orb satellites and a light but attractive subwoofer. At the £30 range, it’s not common to see a full subwoofer complete with such an attractive set of speakers, but Creative has knocked out all the stops.
It’s an attractive set: the half-orb satellites with flattened cut-outs rest firmly on any desk. With bronze accents, they stand out well, more so than the flat-but-sleek cubed subwoofer. A mess of wires spilling out of the back does hamper the visual appeal—a thick USB for power and single 3.5mm audio jack—does add a messy appearance to the back of the system. However, with thoughtful placement and furniture to hide behind, the wires quickly become a non-issue.
At £30, the system provides some of the best audio available for such a low price point. No matter what you play through it, the Pebble Plus provides consistently clear audio for songs when playing at either low or medium volumes. With a single dial to control audio, and no external bass control, you are left at the will of the device’s audio setup. However, there is a simple toggle underneath the right satellite that allows users to boost the device up to an 8W RMS output; it would have been nice to have a bit more control than an on-off setting though.
During bass-heavy songs like ‘Face My Fears (Hikaru Utada & Shrillex, 2018)’ or Childish Gambino’s Sweatpants, lower bass tones would constantly warble and distort as the base ramps up. During gaming, this was also a problem. Just Cause 4, a title known for its explosive bass-heavy sound effects, saw constant bass warbling at higher volumes. Movies with a bass-heavy background OST do become an issue: while the Pebble Plus’ subwoofer isn’t particularly strong, the background bass distortion did become rather distracting when attempting to watch Avengers: Infinity War at high volumes.
Of course, consuming content at the Pebble Plus’ higher volume settings isn’t going to be a common occurrence. As a 2:1 sound set-up, the device isn’t a suitable fit for a home entertainment set up, although those on a rather low budget aren’t going to find a soundbar/5:1 as impressive for the price range. These speakers are purposefully built for the desk—those with a lot more cash to burn will probably find an alternative, but the Pebble Plus is a great fit for decent sound at the PC.
At low to medium volumes, the Creative Pebble Plus is charming, sleek and clear. While a tuner dial for higher or lower base would have been a nice addition for those who like a bit more customisability to their sound, a budget-wary audio consumer will find solace in Creative’s clear sound output. After all, if you really had money to burn, you’d probably be shopping for Creative anyway. For just £35, you’d be hard-pressed to find speakers that match the Pebble Plus’ quality.