Buying speakers is a lot like pursuing a dream — it starts with the best of intentions and before you know it, you’re homeless. The cost of good technology these days is astronomical, and that is before we even get into higher-end speakers. Thankfully, Creative and Logitech have offered two frugal solutions to the costly problem of purchasing computer stereo systems.
Neither of these products (Logitech z313 and Creative Pebble Plus 2.1) runs past $75 but offer a good bit of substance for the amount you spend. You won’t be able to get that sought-after felony for disturbing the peace that all speaker heads are looking for, but you will get fairly competent, low-end speakers for a budget price.
To give you an abridged version of this product comparison, I will be going over the strengths and weaknesses of both collective products. Please keep in mind that these speakers are very much on the low-end of the totem pole for quality in comparison to most reviewed speakers on Swift Moves and are for those looking for a discounted product.
If you have a few hundred dollars to spend, there are better computer speakers available. You may be wise to consider the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 or the Bose Companion 2, or consider a higher end Logitech system like we have discussed here or here. But for any budget-conscious shopper, it is pretty remarkable to get a quality 2.1 (two speakers plus a subwoofer) system from a quality brand in the sub-$50 price range.
The Logitech Z313 is an exceptionally high-performing product considering the MSRP of $60. Their volume output more than doubles the Pebble Plus if the wattage is any indication (which it sometimes isn’t) and offers solid, wide-reaching audio that is crisp enough despite falling apart on the lower end, where thumping bass lives. My biggest gripe with this product is its cumbersome, bulky subwoofer and the unnecessary “control pod” that could have just as easily been placed on one of the satellite speakers.
The Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 is a stylish, compact speaker system that has an intelligent design and efficient shape for very easy placement. This product will fit almost anywhere and is easily one of the most luxurious-looking systems in its price range. It falls off in the volume department, but for less than 50 USD you really can’t complain too much. It is recommended that you have an additional USB adapter on hand if you don’t want to waste a USB port.
While you can hardly ask for the PA system at the price these are going for, you still deserve solid audio quality. To give you a better idea of which of these will give you the best bang for your buck, let’s consider what they both have to offer in terms of quality. Unfortunately, neither of these products list a decibel level so we will be comparing volume based on wattage. Both speakers utilize a 2.1 channel or a central subwoofer with two satellite speakers. Both speakers also make the smart choice of designing speakers that angle upwards towards the listener.
The Logitech Z313 comes with 25 watts RMS of output power and a surprisingly reasonable frequency response of 48 Hz to 20 kHz. The subwoofer makes up 15 watts with each extension speaker offering 5 watts individually. It boasts 360-degree surround sound that can project audio omnidirectionally and seems to be able to back this claim up due to its multi-speaker layout. When we look at the sound quality of this device we see a competent speaker that offers clean acoustics and admirable bass, though it won’t be able to shake the house on the lower end.
Moving to the Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 we start to notice a drop off in volume when compared to the Z313. It reaches 8 watts RMS with the main subwoofer hitting four and the two additional speakers grasping at 2 watts each. The frequency response is also the tiniest bit behind the Z313 with 50 Hz to 20 kHz overall. The soundstage is impressive, though not incredible enough to push it in front of the Z313, which simply offers more “horsepower” than the Creative product.
Verdict – Z313, While both of these products offer more than they probably should for the listed price, Logitech brought the most to the table.
Design & Durability
When looking at both of these speakers, we have to really put in our heads that the majority of consumers will be placing these systems in a hutch or on a desk. When we consider that they will be sharing space with a television, computer monitor, or even a tower their overall dimensions really play a part.
Neither of these products has any amount of water resistance and should be treated with special care to not get any amount of liquid on them. Considering their lighter weight and smaller size they can probably withstand a fall or two, but these are speakers that sit on the more fragile side of the durability spectrum.
The Z313 has a sleek yet somewhat generic design. Aesthetically speaking it doesn’t separate itself much from the other Logitech products on the market today. While it isn’t an ugly product, it is a fairly run-of-the-mill speaker system that would be hard to pick out of a line-up of Logitech devices. The Upward angle of the satellite speakers is a thoughtful touch, though the bulkier size of the middle subwoofer makes it hard to imagine this entire product fitting on a desktop. It weighs around five pounds overall and measures 8.6 x 9 x 5.9″ for the subwoofer and 3.2 x 5.8 x 3.5″ for both additional speakers.
It also has a “control pod” that allows you to configure the volume controls, the power button and has a headphone jack. While some consumers may appreciate this additional piece made for convenience, it just feels like more superfluous clutter to my minimalist eye.
The Pebble Plus has a more unique design that looks far more expensive than the product actually is. The circular design of the subwoofers is sleek and the upward angle of the speakers is always appreciated. The middle subwoofer is almost identical to the Z313’s (besides the open middle port of the Logitech product) though sits a few inches more compact, which gives more possibilities when it comes to placement. Altogether, this product weighs a bit above 3 lbs and reaches 4.8 x 4.5 x 4.5” for each speaker and 5.9 x 7.7 x 8” for the middle subwoofer.
Verdict – The Pebble Plus has a much appreciated aesthetic individuality and attention to detail that places it above the Z313.
Both of these products get a moderate amount of slack in the feature department considering their reasonable price. Most of the cost seems to have gone into making decent quality speakers at a price that is close to the bargain bin. With that said, neither of these speakers comes with an adjustable equalizer, Bluetooth connectivity, or a compatible mobile app (which might be a blessing, really). Both of these products are remarkably easy to assemble as well.
The Logitech Z313 gets juice from a power cable and is compatible with any device that offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is really nice and gives the consumer plenty of options. The control pod that comes with it gives you a bit of freedom in how you choose to listen with a power button, headphone jack, and volume control. Considering that the Pebble Plus needs a USB slot and a headphone jack to power, it’s up to the individual what they prefer, a free outlet slot or USB port.
The Creative Pebble Plus is going to be powered entirely through the USB, though it will also need a 3.5mm headphone jack to work with its corresponding device. It offers a volume control which is situated on the front of one of the satellite speakers for easy access, though users looking for a headphone jack for quieter evenings will be sincerely disappointed. It offers a “high gain” mode that pushes out the 8W of power, though you will need a USB adapter (not included) to do it.
Verdict – If I had a gun to my head I would give it to the Z313 for an additional headphone jack, though that hardly gives it a massive advantage in features.
Speaking strictly on the performance ability of both of these speakers my recommendation goes to the Logitech Z313, though neither are gonna blow the house down in volume or sound quality. If you want a product a bit more sleek and compact, no one would fault you for going with the surprisingly competent Creative Pebble Plus 2.1. While the Logitech product does feel overall superior, neither of these speaker systems is lacking for the price point.