The first thing you'll notice about the compact Olasonic TW-S7 PC speakers is that they have a unique, eye-catching egg-shaped design. As far as colors go, you can go with black or white, and both versions have a nice glossy finish and come with circular rubber stands that keep the speakers standing (they cup the speakers like an egg holder does). They stand a shade less than 6 inches tall.
We liked their design and also liked the fact that these are USB-powered speakers, which means you just plug them into a USB port on your Windows or Mac PC and you're good to go, no power adapter required.
However, they also come with all the downsides of USB-powered speakers. USB just doesn't provide much power to drive the speakers. Also, there's no volume control on the speakers themselves; you control it through the volume control on your computer.
For most people, this won't be a problem (a lot of people now adjust volume exclusively via the volume control on their computer's keyboard), but for folks who like to control their PC speakers' volume from the speaker itself, it's worth mentioning.
We should also note that there's no headphone jack or line input either. That means these really are PC-only speakers--don't expect to use them to listen to an iPod or smartphone, for instance.
As far as sound goes, the speakers sound fine at lower to middle volumes, but they tend to distort at higher volumes, especially when you present them with bass-heavy material.
Olasonic reps had some suggestions for using them, and we thought we should pass them on:
1) Use iTunes media player instead of Windows 7 Media Player
2) Reduce Master System volume setting to 50 on Windows 7, half on XP
3) Use iTunes Equalizer under "Display" screen to adjust signal output
4) Try using bass booster, bass reducer, adjusting the preamplifier setting, etc.
The Olasonic rep also said that, "These speakers employ a 1-bit digital amplifier that amplifies the digital signal before conversion to analog. As such, care must be taken not to 'overdrive' the speakers."
The long and short of it is these sound decent enough for casual listening and watching video (they're decent for USB-powered speakers), particularly at close-range, which is commonly called near-field listening. However, if you're looking to crank up the volume in your room, these aren't your best bet, and you shouldn't expect a ton of bass.
While they have their sound limitations, we came away liking the Olasonic TW-S7 speakers, and they certainly have an eye-catching design. Are they a bargain at $99? No, not really, but they're not a bad deal either, especially if you like how they look. Recommended with reservations.