The Logitech Z305 in Theory

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of reviewing the Z305 proper, it's important to get a couple of things out of the way. First, this is a subjective review. It's simply too difficult to justify getting together the necessary equipment (not to mention space) to do proper objective measurements of sound hardware, especially when you're sharing a tiny apartment with someone. That, and this is a $59 speaker, so anyone looking for hard-hitting coverage of a consumer-grade kit designed solely to replace crappy laptop speakers may take their sound a little bit too seriously.

Second, this is our last audio review for a while. You spoke: we listened. Subjective reviews are all we're really equipped to handle and that seems to infuriate exactly half of our readership. Since we actually like you and really want you to come back and continue reading, audio reviews are falling by the wayside for the foreseeable future. If and when we take another shot at audio, we'll be adding the necessary equipment and expertise to do it right.

Now, all that out of the way, down to business. The Logitech Laptop Speaker Z305 is essentially a pair of speakers in a single barrel that clamps to the top of a laptop screen similar to a webcam, and from there they connect via a short USB cable that handily folds into the body of the speakers. Setup is quick and easy and no drivers need to install. There's an additional minijack in the body of the barrel for connecting outside audio sources, but the Z305 is still going to require power from the USB port.

On the whole, the Z305 is a fairly elegant solution. The volume buttons built into the bar are basically just shortcuts for the software-controlled volume level in Windows. It's all plug-and-play, very seamless, and in many ways the clamp-on solution actually seems more logical than the wireless Z515 speakers we reviewed. Truthfully when we were offered the Z515 and Z305 to review, this was the product I really wanted to check out. At $60 MSRP it's much less glamorous, but it also struck me as being the more practical of the two. So how does it sound?

The Logitech Z305 in Practice
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  • anactoraaron - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Uh I can't find an "X205" but there is a Z205. Best buy has it right now 39.99 with free shipping (not to mention local BB pickup) - NEWEGG FAIL. I am really disappointed how expensive Newegg has gotten on just about everything, especially since Best Buy of all places is almost always CHEAPER than the Egg - and you don't have to wait for it to be shipped either!

    Shop around, people! Newegg isn't the cheapest anymore!

    Also- if there is to be no more audio reviews then PLEASE PLEASE just make us aware of new speakers/headphones and post it as a 1 page "news" column! Many of us still want to know what the latest and greatest is even if it's not in the form of a through review by AT's standards.
    Reply
  • Gonemad - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Since I am talking about speakers for desktop replacement notebooks, I just reinstated a 2.1 30W RMS set, plugged it on the earphone jacks, and let it rip. The subwoofer isn't exactly portable, but the two 4" sattelite drivers can be placed apart for outstanding stereo separation. Hey, watch out the smoker over there ! *bang* nevermind. It is a bit cumbersome, with the wall wart 'n stuff, but the note isn't going anywhere soon.

    As far as real mobility goes it is either these reviewed speakers or tiny speakers with all of the 2,5W an USB port can output. (500mA x 5V) Don't expect any set to sound great on that amount of power. The earphones, otoh....
    Reply
  • ckryan - Thursday, December 02, 2010 - link

    I have read the last several audio product reviews and previews. I have not been one of the people who I guess are clamoring for the equivalent of a PSU review. Stuff like RTAs and the other associated audio testing equipment are both really expensive, and don't necessarily give an answer that translates into information that can be appreciated. So why give it up? If I don't like the subjective reviews of a product like this Logitech, I won't read this particular review. I won't cry about it. I'm not sure what it is that people actually want. Just because a product may have impeccable audio reproduction capabilities doesn't mean its something you'd want to listen to. Please, do not give up reviewing audio devices.

    How about this? Have a couple people listen to a device. Talk it over. Decide if it sucks or not.

    What is it that people think they want to know that can't be provided without a $200k lab? Generally, if a clip on laptop system sounds pretty good for the money and the size, then that's it. How are you going to measure the THD? If this were professional sound reinforcement gear, maybe it would be warranted. If Logitech or Antec, or any other company sends you some gear, help some people out. Give it a once over. I swear, the most vocal critics of Anandtech's audio reviews must be the most likely to not have any idea what the hap's is. What are you going to do? "Say Logitech, we'd love to review this gear, but some of the people who read us are toolbags and don't like how we review stuff. Sorry." If Anandtech doesn't want to review some gear for one reason or another, then it's not my business. But if I have a say, I say continue on. Review whatever. If readers can be vocal in their opposition, then I can be vocal in my support. If anything, I'd like to see more reviews, not less.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, December 03, 2010 - link

    I have to agree with you on some level. I was a naysayer on these "reviews" because I felt there should be some objective component. With that said, the benefit of subjective reviews starts to increase when the number of samples increases. I think the problem many of us had was there was very little if any comparison on these products to other products. It was always, "my old Bose speakers put these to shame", etc. and that angered quite a few of us.

    But now having several similar products to compare from at least Dustin can start saying, "Subjectively, product X is better than A, B, and C", and even though not scientific in it's rigor, there is some worth to the "review".

    So I say keep going, but start spending a bit more time now that you have a sample size on the comparisons between the products just as much as the products themselves.
    Reply
  • rwei - Thursday, December 02, 2010 - link

    ...but what will you make recurring jokes about now??? Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, December 02, 2010 - link

    I'd say the Sony Z series, but let's be realistic...

    Sony never sends anyone anything anyhow. ;)
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, December 05, 2010 - link

    That's true, but I think even a baseball player can appreciate a good bargain. Reply
  • Scipio Africanus - Thursday, December 23, 2010 - link

    What it takes to do decent testing is a Behringer ECM8000 mic and a phantom power source like a small mixer or a M-Audio MobilePre. Pair that with a good piece of software like TrueRTA or ETF and you have a good starting point. A treated room with bass traps and sound absorbing panels like Sonex would also be vital to eliminate standing waves and reflections. ETF is espcially good since it also does waterfall charts for transient response times.

    With a waterfall plot, frequency response, off-axis falloff, and SPL measured, you could do some great articles. There used to be a great site with a great forum dedicated to computer audio, but the name eludes me. There really hasn't been any good computer audio sites since that one went down.
    Reply

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