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Creative Inspire S2 Wireless review

Alan Lu
30 Apr 2010
Creative Inspire S2 Wireless
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
100
inc VAT

Creative's wireless speakers sound reasonably good, but are pricy and only seem to work with the supplied adaptor.

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The Inspire S2 Wireless speakers are one of the latest products in Creative's range of wireless audio hardware. The speakers connect to your computer using a Bluetooth connection. Surprisingly, though, they don't use the proprietary USB adapter required by Creative's other wireless audio hardware.

The satellites still connect to the subwoofer using cables so they're not entirely wire-free, however, they give you far more freedom than most speakers. For example, you could listen to music stored on your laptop while relaxing on the sofa, all without trailing a long cable across the room.

Although the Inspire should work with any Bluetooth adapter, such as those built into laptops, we couldn't get it to pair with any of the Bluetooth-equipped laptops we tried or a Bluetooth-equipped iPod Touch. This is disappointing, though it did work flawlessly with the USB Bluetooth adapter included in the box.

This is tiny, so it's not likely to cause your trouble if you keep it permanently plugged into your laptop. In the Expert Reviews Labs, which is a particularly demanding environment full of wireless networks and Bluetooth devices, we found the Bluetooth connection had a very respectable range of approximately 15m.

The speakers also have a standard 3.5mm stereo input for connecting Bluetooth-less audio sources, such as MP3 players. The satellites are unobtrusive due to their small size; and look good thanks to a black and white colour scheme. The all-black subwoofer is more plain-looking but as you can tuck this away it isn't a big problem. The volume control, power switch, headphone socket and auxiliary 3.5mm stereo input are conveniently located on the right satellite. The bass control is located on the back of the subwoofer though, which is inconvenient to reach.

Audio quality was generally good, but it wasn't as rich or warm as we'd expect for a set of speakers at this price. Pop music sounded reasonably clear, although the midrange in some songs did sound a little muddy. Electronic music also suffered from the same problem and we also noticed some slight distortion at the high end, but it wasn't bad enough to ruin our listening pleasure. There wasn't any distortion in our R&B, jazz, blues or classical tracks and though reasonably warm, they didn't sound quite as rich and full as we'd like. The bass in rock music was reasonably deep, but wasn't as thumping as we'd have liked.

At £100, the S2s are pricy for a 2.1 set of speakers, especially for the merely satisfactory sound quality, and unless you use the included adapter you may have trouble with Bluetooth pairing. We remain unconvinced wireless speakers in general are worth the hassle and the expense. A good set of headphones, wireless or not, or a network audio player are better choices for most of the situations where you might want a set of wireless speakers.

Specifications

Rating***
Speaker configuration2.1
RMS power output26W
Power consumption standby0W
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo
Digital inputsBluetooth
Dock connectornone
Headphone output3.5mm
Satellite cable lengths2m left, 2m right
Cable typecaptive
Controls locatedvolume on right satellite, bass on subwoofer
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsbass
Price£100
Supplierhttp://uk.store.creative.com/
Detailshttp://uk.europe.creative.com

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