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Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX20 review

It's got a striking look, but does it suffer from style over substance?

Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 review
Mighty, intimidating or just a bit daft looking? It's all in the eye of the beholder


  • Unique design
  • Touch controls good
  • Great microphone
  • Free app for iOS and Android
  • USB powered


  • Design won't be to everyone's tastes
  • Sound quality isn't the best
  • Awkward placement of the Bluetooth button

The monolithic Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 certainly has a unique look. The idea behind it - apart from making it stand out in your living room - is that the two speakers inside the Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 are stacked on top of each other but pointing towards opposite sides in a bid to improve stereo coverage.

While the single tower does a good job of filling a medium-sized room with sound, it doesn't perform as well as two separate stereo speakers spaced apart.

Of course, the Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 is designed to be compact and attractive, so some compromises have had to be made regarding stereo coverage. The sound quality itself is good, though not great, and a lack of bass leaves some music feeling a little flat.

While it doesn't excel in the sound department - somewhat disappointing, considering it's a speaker, and considering Creative's pedigree - we can't fault it for the wealth of features it packs.

It features Bluetooth connectivity for phones, and the results were very good.

Our test iPhone 4S found and connected to the Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 quickly, though it required pressing and holding the small Bluetooth button that's located at the back of the speakers at the bottom.

This could prove a little fiddly, depending on where you position the speaker. The touch interface on the top of the speaker, on the other hand, is elegant and responsive.

The built-in microphone provides excellent sound quality, and with some fancy Creative technology it does a good job of eliminating background noise. So you can talk into the Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 in a busy room, and your contact will have no trouble hearing what you're saying.

The Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 is powered entirely via USB, which is hugely impressive in itself, so it can be used as a PC speaker and even an external sound card.

An adaptor is also included that enables you to plug it into a power socket as well, if you want to use it as a standalone speaker. A free app can be downloaded for smartphones and tablets to enable you to tweak the sound quality, which is a nice touch.


The Creative Sound Blaster Axx SBX 20 is a striking looking speaker that has a lot of features, though we'd have liked a bit more attention spent on sound quality as well.

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of magazines and websites, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.