Four hundred dollars is a lot to spend on PC speakers, and after sitting down with Bose's Companion 5 speaker system at a demo in a suite at New York Peninsula Hotel, it's still a lot to spend. That said, this three-piece speaker system is one of the more distinct-looking and attractively designed PC speaker packages we've seen--and it sounds pretty good, too.
The Companion 5 system includes Bose's proprietary TruSpace surround processing circuitry, which delivers a fairly convincing faux surround-sound experience from only three speakers (you get two satellites, which sit on your desk, and one "hideway" Acoustimass module--a.k.a. subwoofer--that sits on the floor and is the about the size of most similar PC speaker subs). Bose expects the system to appeal to those who watch movies and play games in a home-office environment or perhaps a dorm room, but don't want to set up surround speakers.
Bose prides the Companion 5 on its easy setup--it requires you to only plug the USB connector into your computer and match up the color-coded speaker wire. There's also a small pod control (a little smaller than a hockey puck) that sits on your desk and has a headphone jack and an input for your iPod or other MP3 player. The $399 system is due out on September 7 and is designed for use with both PC and Macs, though for best performance, Bose recommends Windows XP or later for PC users and OS X 10.4.6 or later for Mac users. Previous Bose PC speakers--the Companion 2 and Companion 3--will remain in the lineup, but get a makeover that more closely matches the forthcoming flagship model.