Hands-on review: Dell 2.1 Speaker System AE415
A mighty sound system for your desktop or just an adequate solution? Darren Price checks out the Dell 2.1 Speaker System AE415.
Back in the day, desktop speakers meant ugly-looking bits of plastic, prone to toppling over if you even look at them weirdly. The sound wasn't much better, a tinny, crackly mess that never quite did your sparkly SoundBlaster card justice.
We've come a long way.
Dells 2.1 Speaker System looks very nice. The stylish spherical speakers look great on your desktop, looking more like curious ornaments than a part of your computer's sound system. The same goes for the donut-shaped sub-woofer, although you are likely to tuck that away under your desk.
The three buttons on the left speaker control the volume up and the volume down and switch the system on and off. With the sub-woofer acting as the hub, it's easy to set-up. You do end up with a lot of wires on the floor, but only one running up to each of the speakers on your desktop.
There are some Velcro ties on the wires offering a modest amount of cable management. It should be noted that the speaker use 3.5mm aux jack, that needs to be plugged into your PC's sound output, and not a USB socket like your headphone probably do.
The sound quality is quite exceptional. I've long moved over to using headphones when playing games, but if you want to fill your room with sound, Dell's 2.1 Speaker System does the job. This is especially impressive as the speakers have a modest five watts output each but with a meatier twenty watts of power from the sub-woofer.
Tuning the volume up louder than my comfortable listening volume, the sound remained crisp with no distortion. Despite their compact size the speakers pack a punch. Increasing the bass using the knob on the sub-woofer really gets your floor-boards shaking.
You can also plug auxiliary devices into the left speaker allowing you to play music from your phone or whatever through the speakers. If you want to listen in private, there's a socket for your headphones as well.
Being realistic, the Dell 2.1 Speaker System is not going to be suitable driving the audio for you home theatre system. But, for the more discerning, space-conscious desktop PC user - looking for a stylish, above-average audio solution, at a very affordable NZ$119 - you can't go wrong.