Creative has been doing itself proud as of late with a steady supply of top notch 2.0 speaker sets leaving its doors. First were the T20s that ran away with an Editors Choice Award last year, then their bigger brother the T40s earned themselves a Recommended Award a few months later, and just a couple of weeks ago the T10s were also given a solid 8/10 score. However, with the T10s we assumed that must've been the end of things as Creative had covered all the obvious price brackets for a 2.0 set, from £30 all the way up to £100, because surely no one would pay much more for a small 2.0 set without opting for a proper hi-fi?
Well, obviously just to spite us, Creative decided to prove us wrong and last week announced a new addition to its Gigaworks sub-brand, the HD50s. And, rubbing salt into our already throbbing wounds, this new set is not only more expensive than the T40s, with a list price of £107.90, but also smaller - considerably so. These speakers are tiny!
Measuring just 140 x 70 x 83 mm, they're dwarfed by even the most modest of computer speakers and you must have some serious space issues if these won't fit comfortably on your desk. At first this would seem to make them an ideal accompaniment to your mobile workspace but these are mains speakers and the extra cordage and power brick doesn't exactly make them ultra portable, so they're still best staying put when you're working on the move, but they'd make for a great holiday speaker.
As well as endearing with their petite figures, the HD50s finish the job with their stellar looks, leaving anyone with a modicum of appreciation for good design dribbling with anticipation. The body of each speaker is finished in a gloss white plastic that is simply fantastic and beautifully set off by the silver fronts. The pièce de résistance, though, are the cute little removable grills that are held in place by six tiny magnets. On, the sheer black is in perfect contrast to the white and silver behind, and off, the trio of silver speakers, surround, and allan bolts creates a chic industrial feel - think exposed brick in an otherwise super modern home.
On the front of the right speaker is a single volume knob with incorporated power switch that is encircled by a blue glowing ring. There are no tone controls so you'll have to rely on your computer or PMP to set your desired sound. Also, like the T40s, the HD50s have dropped the additional line-in socket that we so liked on the T20s and replaced it with a dock connection for use with their range of docking stations. This is something we aren't particularly enamoured with as it's useful to be able to quickly plug in your player and listen to music without turning your computer on or unplugging other cables. It's more excusable on these tiny speakers than the enormous T40s but it's still a bit of a shame.