It's true and we're all aware of it: laptop speakers, with few exceptions, are horrible. They can be fine in a pinch, if you're just going to play a quick game on a LAN or just want to hear the audio on a YouTube video, but generally speaking the speakers built into your notebook—and you know they only get worse the smaller your notebook is—are awful and utterly inadequate for any but the most basic use. If you're a music or movie fan, they just aren't going to cut it.

You could always replace them with a dedicated speaker set for when you're at home, but what if you're traveling? What if you're away and you just want to unwind to some music? There are a healthy number of situations where you might want a better pair of speakers than what's built into your notebook, and some manufacturers recognize this. Hoping to offer a better alternative, Logitech brings us the Z515 Wireless Speaker.

Historically, Logitech has made some solid if unexceptional speakers. I actually used to own a pair of Z4's that I was pretty proud of; they produced excellent bass and in general use seemed to have a solid dynamic range. Since then I've upgraded to a pair of Bose Companion II speakers on my desktop, doing away with the subwoofer and getting my bass just from two small but powerful speakers. This is the part where a lot of audiophiles would be ripping their hair out, but hear me out: the Companion II's produce excellent bass and dynamic range provided they're connected to a good sound card. This is after going through a lot of different speaker sets.

Notebooks don't really have those luxuries, which is where the Z515 comes in. On paper, the Z515 is pretty awesome. What it brings to the table:

  • Plug and play wireless connectivity through an included USB adapter, no drivers necessary.
  • A built-in battery pack good for ten hours of wireless playback from a full charge.
  • A 3.5mm minijack for inputting audio from MP3 players.
  • Bluetooth connectivity with iPad, iPhone, or any other bluetooth device.
  • Two-inch drivers.
  • A claimed fifty foot range.

The Z515 comes with a black zipper carrying pouch, and the wireless receiver can be stored under a hatch on the back; that hatch folds out and works as a stand for the speaker. Of course, if you have a bluetooth-enabled notebook that may not be an issue for you. Logitech clearly designed the Z515 to be as flexible as humanly possible, so how does that work out?

The Z515 in Practice
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  • Sebec - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I agree. Also, the writing is pretty shoddy by Anandtech standards. I've never seen "suck" as a word in a title article on this website EVER, until now. There are also several grammatical errors, mainly ending sentences with prepositions. Frankly, I found this article worse than the stuff on Tom's HW. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Seriously?

    I'll admit "suck" probably doesn't belong in a headline, but you're going to call in the grammar police?

    I try to keep my writing style fairly conversational and casual, too dry makes for a dull read. I'm sorry if that doesn't work for you, but it's kept my readers pretty happy since I started.
    Reply
  • bahamakyle - Saturday, October 16, 2010 - link

    I registered for the first time after frequenting this site for 10 years to chime in the harsh responses to this review. By AnandTech standards the article was just fine. You provided all the information that one should need about a low-end set of speakers in a clear and coherent manner. And I don't think that there's anything wrong with having the work "suck" in the title. It was nice to see a bit of lightheartedness added to the front page. Can't please everyone I guess. Keep up the good work Dustin.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    "This is the part where a lot of audiophiles would be ripping their hair out, but hear me out: the Companion II's produce excellent bass and dynamic range provided they're connected to a good sound card"

    look, it has nothing to do with whether or not you're using a "dedicated subwoofer," there are plenty of great full-range speaker options out there, but Bose are, well, an acquired taste.
    Some folks really like how Bose speaker color the music to their own particular sound, but many "audiophiles" are not looking for speakers that change the sound so much.

    however, i am not one of them. i used bose laptop replacement speakers for a long time and i think they gave a good, full sound for a low cost.
    i know that sounds crazy, because bose are not the cheapest option, but when you compare them to a real audio system that actually sounds really good, the cost is negligible.
    they do not produce excellent anything,
    not by a long shot,
    but they do a very good job of covering up poor recordings and bad mp3s.
    Reply
  • warisz00r - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    lolgitech

    and Bose = Buy Other Sound Equipment

    For the same amount you're paying to get a Bose, you can build a much better sounding setup, sometimes for even less.

    http://www.intellexual.net/bose.html
    Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    No highs, no lows... it must be Bose! Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    ha. that takes me back.

    actually, i think they have changed their design philosophy since the days when that rhyme was coined.
    to me, they sound more bassey/muddy then they used to, and less mid-rangey.
    but the highs still suck.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    For a home theater system, sure.

    My Companion II's are a $100 pair of computer speakers. I've tried other similarly priced speaker sets and found them to deliver the best sound quality, at least for my needs. We're talking about a budget here, for a computer, not a home theater speaker system.
    Reply
  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    for the more expensive multispeaker setups, i agree with you, but the companion 2s that i got for 85 bucks are hard to beat if you don't have any space for something bigger.
    now, i'm using JBL control 2p speakers, and they do kick the crap out of the bose, but they cost more than twice as much.
    once you start looking at the 350 dollar or greater options, your absolutely right, bose really suck.
    i also find it really abnoxious that they won't publish their speaker specs.
    they rely on their sound coloring techniques rather than accuracy and power.
    frankly, i understand the approach, because most people don't even understand speaker specs anyway, so bose focuses on making a rich, recognizable sound that will capture people's attention.
    what bothers me about them is that they are probably using their 'secret sauce' to mask inferior components.
    however, there is no way to say that for sure without ripping them open and testing them, and who wants to blow cash on that?

    in the meantime, i still stand by the cheaper bose speakers as a good way to cover up flaws in poor sources like mp3s and bad transfers.
    in fact, if you have really good speakers, your mp3s will actually sound worse, because you can hear how poor the quality is. (even without superb hearing)
    when you are talking about non-computer, non-mp3 usage, like a home stereo, all of this goes out the window of course.
    Reply
  • tleeds - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Get your hands on a set of Wharfedale Audio Diamond 8.2 Active Studio Monitors. Should run you about $350.00USD .. Unbelievable sound for that money. Reply

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