It says something about how highly we regarded the predecessors of these new-look Creative T40 speakers that Riyad, Andy, and I were giggling with excitement when they arrived. Thankfully our embarrassing child-like outbursts weren't in vain as these fully live up to our expectations.
For those of you that are feeling somewhat in the dark as to these mysterious T40s, I could just refer you to the link above to do a bit of background reading but instead I'll be kind and give you a quick summary. Essentially, Creative created something of a storm back in April 2007 when it released a seemingly innocuous set of 2.0 desktop speakers, the Gigaworks T20s. We were simply astonished at the quality of sound they produced and loved their styling - and we weren't exactly displeased with the £50 price either.
A few months later the T20s got a bigger brother in the form of the T40s and just like their siblings they blew us away with their combination of low cost, great sound, and good looks. A couple of years later and we now have the new versions of both these venerable speakers in our office. Or more specifically, Andy has the T20s on his desk (review coming very soon) and I have these T40s, sitting pretty next to my pair of first gen T40s.
The Creative Gigaworks T40s, then, (both new and old) stand about a foot high, with these new, Series II, versions being ever so slightly deeper and taller - 31 x 14 x 9cm to be exact - than their predecessors. In this regard, they're certainly quite imposing for a desktop speaker set. However, being a 2.0 setup you at least don't have an enormous subwoofer to contend with. Also, if you have a large monitor sat on your desk (24in or above) these look much better proportioned than some piddling alternatives.
However, while these new T40s are of the same form factor as the old ones, there are actually numerous differences in most other aspects. For a start, the colour scheme has changed with the front fascia now sporting a glossy black finish that's inset with thousands of subtle sparkly blue speckles. I can't say I find it more attractive than the previous look and in particular it really shows off any dust that has settled on it. That said, it wouldn't put me off buying them.
The other most obvious change is in the front controls. Rather than the slightly awkward arrangement of the old generation that had the power switch on the back and a standard volume dial on the front, the new T40s use a combined volume and power knob that is surrounded by a bright blue ring of light when the speakers are powered on. This is a much neater arrangement that leaves the space where the power indicator light was on the previous version free to be used as a front-mounted auxiliary input - the lack thereof being a major gripe of ours with the previous version.
Unfortunately, on our sample the volume knob was slightly misaligned leaving a rather wonky ring of light. While this is only a cosmetic problem and it could be an isolated case (the T20s on Andy's desk seem fine) it's the kind of thing that might bug me if I'd just spent £70 on these and it's certainly the sort of minor manufacturing issue that I could see regularly slipping through the net.
Finishing off the talk of connections, round the back we have the power socket, the RCA connection for the second speaker, a docking port for use with Creative's various mp3 player docks, and the main 3.5mm stereo jack input. All sockets are gold plated and sturdily mounted so should provide a quality connection for years to come. Included in the box is a gold plated twin-RCA to stereo 3.5mm jack adapter and there are a couple of basic stands that screw to the bottom of each speaker to help stabilise them (personally I use them without cause I think they look better).