Computers are becoming much more than they used to be. They can be used to play movies, music, do work and much more. Because of the many uses of a computer, having speakers that are multi-use is also very important. Logitech makes very good high end speakers like the Z-5500, now we get to find out if their 2.0 speakers are also good.
- Touch-sensitive multimedia controls
- Digital-music track information
- Internet radio presets
- A 30W RMS two-way speaker design
- Studio-quality audio
The touch sensitive controls are probably the most interesting part of the speakers. Normally speakers have knobs and buttons for controlling the volume and power. There may be other speakers out there with touch controls like this, but this is the first pair I have seen. The controls consist of display, skip back, pause/play, skip forward, power, mute, level, volume down, and volume up.
The graphic LCD is a simple 160×43 LCD display that shows a ton of information. The software that comes with the speakers will allow you to show track information, such as artist and song title, total and elapsed time, CPU and memory usage, current time, and other information. You can also find plug-ins that will allow you to add more functionality. There are four numbers right under the display that are used for saving and recalling up to four of your favorite Internet radio stations and playlists.
When you first pull out these speakers you are going to notice that there are no buttons. These speakers instead use touch sensitive controls. The controls consist of display, skip back, pause/play, skip forward, power, mute, level, volume down, and volume up. Above the controls is an LCD screen that displays a variety of information. Each time you press a control the screen will change to represent the control that was pressed. For example, when you press the volume up control the screen will show a volume bar with the volume level as it changes.
Most of the controls are self-explanatory, but I wanted to mention a couple. Pressing the display button turns on and off the display, pressing the level button cycles through the volume, treble, and bass controls.
There are also several plug-ins that you can use to increase the functionality of the speakers. The ones that are included are a clock, performance monitor, countdown timer, media display, and a POP3 monitor. The speakers use the same setup as Logitech’s G15 gaming keyboard. Because of this you can use any of the same plug-ins. Some of the most popular websites include G15mods.com or G15forums.com. I won’t go into all the different plug-ins, but there are a lot.
The speakers are about 10 inches tall. Both speakers feature a 1″ tweeter and a 3″ mini woofer. This combination does provide for some good sounds. The left speaker is quite a bit heavier than the right one, this is because the power supply is built right into the left speaker. The power cord is also permanently attached to the left speaker.
On the right side of the right speaker there is a headphone jack. On the back of the same speaker there is an analog jack for plugging in an MP3 player or anything else. Also, on the back of that speaker is the USB plug that provided connectivity to your computer. The USB cable carries both audio and track information from your PC, this makes installation really easy. Also on the back is a six foot cable that connects the other speaker, the cable is not detachable and so it cannot be extended to make it longer.
The speakers are really easy to setup and use because there is only one connector to hook up to your computer. The speakers do not hook up to a sound card, so one is not needed to power it. In fact, if you have a sound card you will be required to bypass it before the speakers will work. When you install the software it will take care of that part automatically.
Once the speakers are plugged in and the software is setup, using them is really easy. When you press the power button the speakers instantly turn on. The name of the speakers is displayed on the screen and they are ready for use. If you use either Windows Media Player, iTunes, or MusicMatch then the name of the music file as well as its progress will be displayed on the screen of the speakers as it is played. The controls on the speakers will also control the music player.
I did find that the controls were a little finicky. Sometimes when I pressed the volume up button it would not increase the volume. In those cases I had to press it several times or hold it down before it would activate. Other times the control would activate before I actually made contact with the surface. It seemed like if I got really close to the surface with my finger that it was able to sense it and activate the control. I cannot explain why, but I assume the speakers use the electricity in our bodies to tell when a control is touched. I can guess this because only the touch of skin will activate the controls. I tried using several things including a gloved finger and nothing else worked.
The display is not the most high quality LCD I have ever seen. The fact that it only shows one color, amber, is only part of it. It is also very slow to refresh. This means as the screen changes you will see the old screen and the new screen together during the switch. This can make it tough to read if you have fast scrolling text. Otherwise it does not cause any other bad effects.
The speakers include a headphone jack. Most people may not see the need for a headphone jack because they would normally use the one that is on their laptop or computer, but you need to remember that in order to use the speakers you have to bypass your computers sound card. This in essence disables your computers headphone jack. You can also plug in an MP3 or CD player by using the analog connector on the back. When you do this you will only have the volume and mute controls available, and the speakers will not show any information about the songs. It would be much better to transfer the songs to your computer and play them from there.
The sound that the speakers produce is really good. I was amazed at how good they were able to perform with all different types of music and movies. I played through several of my favorites and was never disappointed. They do not compare the Z-5500‘s that I reviewed a while ago, but keep in mind there are only two speakers, and no 10 inch subwoofer. I kept the volume down for the most part because when watching movies on my computer I am only about 3 feet away. The speakers are capable of getting really loud, but they will distort the sound slightly as you approach there maximum volume. You also risk damaging the speakers if you leave the volume at maximum for too long. When positioned correctly I was even able to find a “sweet spot” where I could not actually tell where the sound was coming from. If I closed my eyes it sounded very close to a full surround sound system. The effect is amazing especially from a pair of speakers this small.
Warranty and Support
Logitech offers a 2-year limited warranty for these speakers. You can get support for these speakers either from the forum or by emailing the company itself.
These are a great pair of speakers. They really sound good for how small they are. They are not the most portable speakers because of the size and weight. They are a great addition to a laptop or desktop that does not have a sound card. They are a little expensive for a 2.0 speaker system, the retail price is $149.99, but because it sounds so good I think it is worth the price. As always compare prices before purchasing.
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