Audio/Visual

Creative Pebble V3 2.0 Speakers Review

A Closer Look & Performance

First things first, these are some stylish looking speakers! That’s certainly been a focus for Creative, and aesthetics are important to them on this product range. We’re on the V3 model of these speakers, so people who bought the originals or V2 will know what to expect, but there have been some tweaks along the way, as this isn’t just a simple rebranding and re-release.

The exposed drivers look fantastic with their soft copper finish contrasting beautifully with the blacks of the main speaker housing. The drivers are now larger, clocking in at 2.25″ for a bigger sound than previous models. They’re full range drivers, and Creative say they’ll output up to 50% more volume (While plugged into a 10W USB-C Port / USB-C Power Adapter / 5V 2A USB-A Power Adapter) than their previous models.

The drivers are angled at 45-degrees too, which is important given their size. If you’ve got these either side of a laptop or desktop monitor, they’re going to be pointing right up at your face. This actually allows them to sound bigger and more direct despite their smaller drivers. Just play around with the overall distance and rotation between each of the speakers until you find a balance between what looks right and sounds right for you. There’s 4.4ft of cable between each speakers, so you can get a decent level of separation between them easily enough.

As for the sound quality, it’s certainly got a good clarity to it, if you set them up correctly. I used a USB 2 port on my computer and found them a little lacking. Moving them to a more powerful USB-C port or USB 3.1 port that can deliver more wattage is going to make them sound a lot better. I discovered this when I connected them to my Samsung S20+ and noticed they sounded much more powerful compared to my desktop. So make you use them on a modern port!

Moving around the side of the speaker, you can see that while it’s angled at the front, it’s flat at the back.

There’s a reflex bass speaker design here. It’s not another driver, but it allows a bit of low-end response from the main driver and just helps to increase the bass response overall. If you’ve got the speakers positioned near a wall or corner, you’ll find the effect is slightly enhanced too.

The drivers are a bit heavy on the mid-range, so they can sound a little hollow some times. Of course, they’re lacking in the big low-end bass of my Creative T20s, so it’s like reviewing a lamb in front of a lion here. A smaller and cheaper speaker doesn’t sound as good as a bigger and more expensive speaker that I own from the same brand… ohnomeme.jpg.

When you crank the volume they don’t rattle or buzz, or distort, which are all common issues on more affordable speakers, but not here. This is partly thanks to their nicely weighted design, and thick rubber grommet like feet on the bottom. It stops them rattling on your desk, but also stops them sliding around too much too.

Tucked into the bottom, you’ll find a gain switch, which seems a bit odd to me, as you may as well just heave it on high… so why have a switch at all? Here’s what Creative had to say about it.

“Enhance your binge-watching experience even at high volume levels without distortion! In newer devices with 10W USB-C or USB-A port, the built-in gain switch located at the bottom of the Pebble V3’s right speaker automatically activates high gain mode for amplified audio, with capabilities to fire acoustics power of 8W RMS and peak power of up to 16W.”

Fortunately, it does work, and if you give the speakers more power, they really spring to life.

At lower volumes, the range is a big… lacking, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. For listening to a little music, a few YouTube videos and a bit of casual gaming, it’s all fine at lower volumes. Personally, I did play with the EQ in Windows sound manager a little and cut some of the mid-range, but the results are pretty subjective so have a play around with it.

However, turning the speakers up seems to really make them wake up. With enough volume, you’re moving enough air to take advantage of the bass reflex on the back, and they get better and better the louder you go. Party speakers they are not, but if you want to blast out some 80s hair metal, they’ll your living room or office space with enough sound for you to air guitar to.

Will I be replacing my Creative T20s that have been taking a 10 year beating on my desktop? I don’t think so, they’re still the king of the sub £100 speakers in my opinion, especially given their form factor. However, the Pebble V3 are easily the best sub £40 speakers I’ve tested too, and much like the T20, I love their size and form factor too.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's, I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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