Creative T12 Wireless ReviewManufacturer: Creative
UK price (as reviewed): £59.99
US price (as reviewed): $99.99
Laptops are plucky little devices, willing to take on desktop PCs in pretty much any challenge. They usually lose, of course, but not without a hell of a scrap. When it comes to producing audio, though, they can barely lift their scrawny little arms to swing a punch.
Headphones are no good when you have company, and they can be fatiguing over long periods of time. External speakers are better options, but laptops often have poor quality amplifiers and trailing wires can be a pain.
However, there's a possible answer in the form of wireless speakers, which are such a smart idea that it’s surprising it’s taken so long for the concept to gain momentum. They not only make using a laptop on the sofa much more pleasurable, but they also turn a laptop or MP3 player into a wireless music system, tapping into Spotify or your own MP3 collection in the living room.
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The Creative T12 Wireless uses Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, so most laptops and smartphones, iPads and the iPod Touch (except first-generation models) can connect without needing extra hardware. Creative sells a BT-D5 iPod transmitter
and BT-D1 USB transmitter
in the Creative Store, but £40 for each is an absurd price; a Belkin Bluetooth USB adaptor
costs around £8, for example.
Reliability is a key concern for Bluetooth audio, though. We’ve used headsets and other audio receivers that work fine across the room, while others have struggled over a distance of just a metre. Thankfully, these speakers sit in the former camp. We tested with a Toshiba laptop and Nokia phone, and both gave glitch-free audio within a 5m radius.
Pairing the speakers was easy too. There’s a button on the right speaker that must be held down to pair a device for the first time. After that, the connection is made as soon as the speakers are turned on.
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At just 180mm high, this is Creative's smallest speaker system, but it can pump out surprisingly generous helpings of bass. The back of each speaker has an oblong diaphragm described as ‘BassFlex technology’. We’ve heard lots of spurious claims about extending bass response in tiny speakers, but in this instance it works. The 20Hz-20KHz spec is optimistic, but in our tests, a 60Hz sine tone sang out loud and clear.
The bass response varied depending on where we placed the speakers – it was weak near a wall, but with some space around the units, it was hard to believe there wasn’t a subwoofer hidden somewhere. The top volume was surprisingly loud too – the T12 won’t recreate a nightclub in your living room, but we happily shook our booties after turning the speakers up to full whack.
Compared with the M-Audio AV 40
– a superb 2.0 speaker system that costs around £125 – the T12’s bass was a little boxy, and higher frequencies weren’t as glossy and refined. However, the T12 set acquitted itself extremely well considering its much lower price and smaller size.
Factor in the wireless capability and it’s a superb value system that’s ideal for unleashing a laptop’s sonic potential. Subwoofer-based wired speakers make more sense for desktop PCs, but when space is an issue, these speakers are a great option. With bigger, better sound than the price and tiny size suggest, this is a cracking little system.
- Sound Quality
Creative T12 Wireless