Creative T12 Wireless review
The Creative T12 Wireless are a 2.0 set of wireless speakers, designed to be hooked up to any Bluetooth device, most likely your PC or mobile phone. Like other Bluetooth devices in Creative’s range, it also features the apt-X codec, promising enhanced performance from your Bluetooth music.
The speakers themselves are compact, measuring 180 x 71 x 98mm and following the design of previous speakers from Creative. A glossy black front houses the driver at the top, whilst the matte black speaker box contains a rear-firing “BassFlex” woofer. Four rubber feet sit on the bottom to provide a secure purchase on your desk or table and help damp down any unwanted vibration.
The left-hand speaker connects to the right-hand speaker via a cable. The right-hand speaker offers up the controls and connections, as well as connecting to the wall. If you don’t want to use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly with the speakers, there is also a 3.5mm aux input in the rear of the right speaker.
The front of the right speaker offers up a usefully-placed headphone socket, so if you have the T12 speakers as part of a permanent desk setup, you can easily keep the music to yourself late at night. A power/volume knob rotates smoothly, but we found that a portion of the rotation offers no volume at all. Set in a “low” position, you actually get nothing at all, before the sound all comes rushing in as you turn the dial up. Not a significant issue, but for a while we wondered why we weren’t getting any sound from the speakers.
A Bluetooth button is also on the front of the right speaker to enable pairing. The Creative T12 Wireless are compatible with their apt-X dongles, the BT-D5 and BT-D1. We tested the speakers with the latter, although it doesn’t come in the box so you’ll have to supply it yourself or use regular Bluetooth.
The advantage offered by using the dongle is that it uses the apt-X codec which promises to deliver CD quality audio over Bluetooth (assuming you have a quality source). But we suspect the second benefit will be the one that appeals the most - setup is simply a case of plugging the dongle into your USB (for the BT-D1) or iDevice (BT-D5), pressing the button and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about turning on Bluetooth, searching and pairing which you do have to do without a dongle.
As we’ve found with many Creative speakers in the past, the Creative T12 Wireless offer impressive audio and a solid build quality. Their 2.0 arrangement means they aren’t as savvy as their 2.1 offerings, such as the excellent Inspire T2 Wireless which offer a separate subwoofer for £20 more. If you don’t fancy the wireless aspect of these speakers, the GigaWorks T20 speakers are an excellent wired alternative and slightly cheaper, with the advantage of separate tweeters, and controls for bass and treble levels.
In use the performance of the T12 Wireless speakers is above average for their size. Great rich audio is offered, but their size and 2.0 configuration does mean that some of the detail is marred compared to other products in the range. Bass performance is acceptable, although won’t deliver the full detailed experience from bass-heavy music, with some muffling apparent, especially at lower volumes. This isn't such a problem for other multimedia content, with the T12 Wireless adding needed depth and separation to online video and movie content and bringing games to life.
The volume range is good, accepting that the first 30 degrees or so of the dial after switching on the speakers doesn’t deliver any sound. At lower levels the speakers are a little muffled, but things really come to life as you turn the volumes upwards. Distortion does come in at higher levels, so sticking to the acceptably loud mid range of the volume offers the best performance overall.
Overall, as you’d expect from a company like Creative, the T12 Wireless make an excellent choice for someone wanting to boost the audio performance of their computer. Combining with the Bluetooth dongle (£39.99, although currently offered for free if you order from Creative’s website), make for the best performance and ease of use, but the wide adoption of Bluetooth means you can roll these speakers out with any number of devices.
That said, if you are setting these speakers up on a table or desk, you might question the absolute value of having Bluetooth. For those that might be in a study bedroom, then the flexibility might be welcomed, but as an addition to your home office desk, then you may choose a wired alternative instead and save yourself a little cash.