AmazonBasics Computer Speakers, USB Powered review: These budget speakers are a sound savings

For less than $15, this 2.0 system offers a noticeable audio upgrade.

Credit: Amazon

How low can you go in price and still get a quality set of computer speakers? That’s the question Amazon effectively poses with each set of its AmazonBasics speakers. We may have found the answer with these USB-powered 2.0 computers speakers, currently one of the company’s best sellers.

Of all the AmazonBasics speaker I’ve reviewed to date, these are the first built as I’d expect for a budget set. Each speaker driver is encased in boxy, plastic enclosure with a mesh covering. The individual units measure 2.8 x 3.5 x 5.3 inches and weigh less than 1.5 pounds.

One speaker, which we’ll call the control unit, has a power/volume knob and blue LED on its front. A 3.5mm headphone jack sits to the right of these. The speakers are hardwired together, and a second luxuriously long cable attached to the control unit splits into USB and 3.5mm audio inputs. Both cables are thicker than you often find on low-priced speakers, so there’s little worry that they’ll get pinched or torn.

amazonbasics computer speakers Amazon

Though they come with the plastic-and-fabric-mesh construction you’d expect from budget speakers, these speakers deliver decent sound quality.

The budget construction notwithstanding, the speakers are fairly stout. The only weak point I detected was the headphone jack. At first it seemed my headphone would only slip about three-quarters of the way in—I’d get stereo sound, but they’d fall out of the jack if I moved too abruptly. After playing around with them for a while, I finally got them to insert all the way and from that point forward they were fine. This seems to be an issue, as at least one Amazon reviewer has encountered the same thing.

Setting up the speakers is as simple as plugging the USB and audio inputs into your computer and turning on the power knob. The blue LED stays illuminated as long as the speakers are in use, and like several Amazon reviewers I found it exceedingly bright and distracting. Fortunately—and unlike with the AmazonBasics USB-Powered Computer Speakers with Dynamic Sound we reviewed—it turns off when the speakers do.

Each speaker puts out 1.1 watts, for 2.2 watts of total RMS power. That’s not enough to power a house party, but it’s plenty loud for soundtracking your housework or private headphone listening in your cubicle.

amazonbasics computer speakers detail control dial Amazon

A common complaint from Amazon reviewers is that the blue LED to the left of the power/volume knob is distractingly bright, and we agree. Fortunately, it turns off with the speakers.

I had no reason to expect anything approaching decent sound quality for such a low price, but these speakers surprised me. They have strong balance between the high, mid, and low frequencies. The bass response isn’t quite as punchy as it’s been with the other AmazonBasics USB-powered speakers I mentioned earlier, but it offers enough to round out the sound nicely.

Bottom line

These budget speakers, are far better than their price tag would suggest. Indeed, they may best exemplify the AmazonBasics brand: The emphasis here is on fundamentals over flash. If a simple installation and a step up in sound quality for as little expense as possible are all you want from a set of computer speakers, you’ll likely find these an exceptional value.

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Michael Ansaldo

PC World (US online)
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