Logitech Z515 Wireless Speakers: Because Your Laptop Speakers Suckby Dustin Sklavos on October 14, 2010 2:00 AM EST
If we're grading strictly on sound quality, the Logitech Z515 is a tough sell. If you're planning on paying $99 for a pair of speakers that will spend their useful life sitting at your desk, you can do a lot better. The Z515's an improvement on notebook speakers in any capacity, but if it's just going to be stationary throughout most of its life, you can do better with a pair of conventional computer speakers. Fortunately, we aren't grading strictly on sound quality.
The Z515 is clearly designed to be as portable as humanly possible, an effort to strike a balance between sound quality and mobility, and on that front they feel like much more of a success. Playback over the Z515 was perfectly fine for casual use, and with the volume cranked up it can definitely fill a room (and it does sound much better at higher volumes.) But it was meant to be on the move, as aptly demonstrated by the space for the receiver in the back and the black zipper case it comes with. Supporting three different methods of connectivity—wireless dongle, Bluetooth, and 3.5mm minijack—makes it as flexible as you could ask for, and the wireless range is outstanding.
Something else to consider is that with the USB wireless adapter, you're not saddled with the built-in audio on your laptop, and you don't need to use the headphone jack. We've encountered quite a few laptops over the years where the internal speakers and audio jacks both have a lot of electrical noise/interference. By going the USB audio route, Logitech eliminates that concern.
That's where you're really going to have to decide whether or not the $99 MSRP is worth it to you. If the flexibility and wireless range are attractive, I'm not sure where you can expect to find better on the market. As a strictly stationary speaker the pricetag is onerous, but under those circumstances you aren't using the Z515 as it was intended. I've been in situations where a pair of speakers like the Z515 (because it is essentially a pair of stereo speakers) would've been incredibly useful and worth their weight in gold, but it's going to be up to you to determine whether or not the Z515's mobility and flexibility are going to be relevant enough to make up for the $99 pricetag.