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Creative T100 review: Stereo speakers to adorn any desktop

Andy White
16 Mar 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
110
inc VAT

There are plenty of cheaper desktop speaker setups but few offer the flexibility, minimalist design and sound quality of the T100

Pros 
Great variety of connection options
Neat, compact desktop design
Quality sound
Cons 
No support for newer Bluetooth codecs
No way to see your current sound settings
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The Creative T100 is the latest entry in Creative’s “T” series of desktop speakers. The company is best known for having produced the Sound Blaster sound card in the late 1980s but has since gained a reputation for producing affordable, great-sounding speakers, including the GigaWorks T20 Series II and T40 Series II. The T100 may be dearer than its predecessors but impressive sound quality combined with a few bells and whistles make it a worthy addition to the family.

What do you get for the money?

The Creative T100 costs £110 and for that, you’ll be getting a pair of stereo speakers, a mains adapter, a 1.5m-long 3.5mm AUX-in cable and infrared remote control.

The speakers house 2.75in full-range drivers and each delivers a continuous 20W of power, with the output of the pair peaking at 80W.

The plastic casing makes the speakers pretty lightweight at 1kg apiece and, while far from luxurious in their build quality, they don't feel cheap either. Crucially for those that like to keep their workspace uncluttered, they don't take up a huge amount of room on your desk, with each measuring just 90mm wide, 120mm deep and 220mm high.

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What connection options does the T100 have?

The T100 speakers are incredibly flexible for a simple pair of stereo PC speakers. You can connect to them via analogue 3.5mm connection but if you want to go wireless, you can pair via Bluetooth 5.0. Sadly, the T100 only supports the SBC codec, so you can’t enjoy higher-quality audio streaming via Bluetooth as you would with aptX, aptX HD or AAC.

READ NEXT: Best Bluetooth speakers

While you can play hi-res audio files by plugging in a USB storage device, there are few caveats. The storage device must be FAT32 formatted, 32GB in capacity or less and you’ll only be able to listen to MP3, WAV and FLAC files. Your final connection option comes in the form of an optical-in that allows you to hook up the T100 to your TV or games console. These are truly multi-purpose multimedia speakers.

How easy is the T100 to use?

Setting up the T100 is about as easy as it gets; you simply plug it into a power source, choose how you want to connect to the speakers and away you go. Powering on the speakers, cycling input sources and changing volume can all be done via buttons on the top panel of the left speaker. The infrared remote adds a few more options, including a mute button and individual settings for bass and treble, while also giving you the ability to switch between four pre-programmed EQ presets.

The differences between the Music, Cinema, Concert and Gaming presets is not especially marked but aside from Concert, which struck me as a slightly strange inclusion, each suited its designated medium. Unfortunately, there's no way to what settings you’re currently using and when you turn the speakers off, the settings reset. This is a minor annoyance, but the inclusion of a display would have driven the price up so it's an understandable omittance.

What’s the sound quality like?

For a pair of compact speakers, the T100 did a good job of filling my bedroom with sound. Granted, it’s not a huge room but I wasn’t left wanting by the speakers’ acoustic abilities as I pushed the volume right up. I didn’t have any issues with dialogue clarity when watching movies or TV shows, either – the T100 reproduced mids and highs cleanly without any tinniness, which isn’t always the case with cheaper PC speakers. Unfortunately, there was noticeable audio lag when I watched videos via Bluetooth so I had to use the 3.5mm cable when consuming video content.

As with the majority of its T-series brethren, the T100 uses Creative’s trademarked “BasXPort” technology, which it says does away with the need for a subwoofer. I wouldn't go quite that far - when listening to a US hip hop playlist on Spotify I was impressed by the weight of the bass on show, but the setup would undoubtedly benefit from a dedicated speaker for low-end frequencies. That said, the omission of a subwoofer makes the T100 a far more appealing package to those for whom desk space is at a premium.

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Should I buy the Creative T100?

The T100 has an impressive range of connectivity options and the speakers look smart on your desktop while remaining spatially economic. Sound-wise, they perform superbly if you’re listening to music or watching video via the wired connection but Bluetooth latency detracts from the wireless experience. Also, while not a deal-breaker, it’s a shame that Creative didn’t include support for newer codecs.

If you’ll make use of Bluetooth connectivity for music and want the flexibility of being able to connect via an optical-in or play music via a USB device, the Creative T100 will serve you very well. If you’re not going to take advantage of those features and aren’t fussed about having a remote, save yourself some money and take a look at one of Creative’s cheaper models, such as the Pebble Plus, T20 Series II or T40 Series II or give our list of the best PC speakers a read.

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