If you're thinking about upgrading from the speakers that came with your computer and small size and high style rank among your biggest concerns, you're probably the ideal customer for the Bose Computer MusicMonitor stereo multimedia speaker system. Its minimalistic design severely reduces clutter, eliminating the need to mess around with a lot of wires and a subwoofer.
The system features a pair of speakers that stand just 4.8 inches high and weigh a little more than 1 pound apiece. We found the speakers metallic gray finish quite handsome and the aluminum cabinets had a quality feel to them. The minimalist styling is a refreshing alternative to some of the more garish PC speakers on the market. But the small size comes at a trade-off: The little guys manage to create a surprisingly big sound, with some semblance of bass. On the other hand, the performance limitations here are obvious when music, movies, or games demand to be played louder than the MusicMonitor speakers are capable of delivering. Given the $400 price of the speakers, you need to be sure that you're willing to pay a hefty premium for the small size and sleek styling.
The Bose Computer MusicMonitor speakers were designed to consume the absolute minimum amount of desk real estate. You get two speakers and all of the necessary connecting cables required to hook up the MusicMonitor speakers to a computer. (As with any "PC speakers," the MusicMonitors can also be connected to anything with a headphone jack or auxiliary line-out port--an iPod, MP3 player, or DVD player, for instance.) The fronts of the gray speakers are canted back to project sound up, toward the listener.
The MusicMonitor's left and right speakers look almost identical, but they're not. The right speaker houses the connection jacks (on the rear) and--stealthily located on the left side--you'll find the volume controls and power button. You can also use the included credit card-style remote control to adjust the volume, which causes the right speaker's indicator light to blink while you change it. It will blink twice once the volume has reached its highest or lowest setting. The remote can also turn the system power on or off.