Conclusion

Credit must at least be given to Logitech for ingenuity: a clamp-on, USB speaker bar for laptops is a great idea. While sharing a laptop for viewing movies runs into all kinds of problems (like those dire notebook screens Jarred, Vivek and I are only too fond of griping about), at least with the Z305 sound isn't going to be an issue.

Actually, the funniest thing about the Z305 is the way it outclasses the pricier Z515. All the Z515 has going for it is wireless connectivity, and for a notebook replacement speaker (among other things), where the heck do you put it? To the right of your laptop? To the left? What kind of stereo listening experience is that? The Z305 winds up solving the practical issues the Z515 possessed: no need to worry about the battery or speaker placement. The Z515 winds up ultimately being the more flexible of the bunch, but jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none doesn't really cut it here.

If you need decent external, travel-size speakers for your notebook, the Logitech Laptop Speaker Z305 is basically the only game in town. Mercifully, that's not necessarily a bad thing: while sound quality left something to be desired, it's still reasonable for the size of the speaker bar and the price. I listen to a lot of music and don't like being tethered to headphones, so I'm reasonably certain when I go to meet most of the cast and crew of AnandTech at CES in a month I'll be packing the Z305 to fill my hotel room.

That said, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the price tag. While the sound quality is generally commensurate with a $60 pair of computer speakers, and you do get the bonuses of portability and a generally smart design, it's still not the kind of deal Ron Popeil or Willy Mays would be screaming at you about. At about ten bucks less the Z305 would be a lot easier to recommend, but Logitech seems to be putting a bit of a premium on their portable speakers these days.

At the end of the day, if you have a use for the Z305, you're not going to feel ripped off by parting with sixty bucks to get it. I'm just hoping that with the holiday season hanging around a sale will bring it from the realm of "reasonable exchange of funds for goods" to "excellent deal." [Ed: A quick search indicates that TigerDirect now has a $15 instant rebate, bringing the total to around $50 shipped.]

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

    is that it? Reply
  • toms_usnavy - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    i should say though, thats some damn good writing. Reply
  • puffpio - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    I know what you're trying to say girl
    You're trying to say, "oh yeah that's it"
    And you tell me you want some more
    Well i'm not surprised but i am quite sleepy
    Reply
  • erple2 - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Well, _I_ got work in the morning... Reply
  • fabarati - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    It's business it's business time
    I know what you're trying to say
    You're trying to say it's time for business
    It's business time ooh
    It's business it's business time
    Reply
  • ProDigit - Sunday, December 05, 2010 - link

    better than nothing!
    If you don't like it, don't read it!

    The only good speakers for desktops are studio monitors with 8" drivers in em.
    Anything less does not give a good sound!
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    The Z305's are hardly the only decent game in town for portable, affordable speakers. The Edifier MP300's go for $50-60 and are actually a honest-to-god true 2.1 that even come with a portable case. I've listened to these in store and frankly I wasn't impressed... the description of "donut" sound is accurate: highs and lows, but a large hole in the middle. But they've gotten decent reviews and I have a hard time believing they're worse than a small tube that hangs out behind your screen.

    Then there are the classic Creative Gigaworks T20 and T40...slightly more expensive, the T20 can be found for about $80 and at 6lbs can be thrown into a larger laptop bag. In terms of sound the bass is obviously weak but they're a lot more balanced than the Edifiers and probably worth the extra $20-30 if you're actually going to bother with external sound. Yes they're a bit bigger but still weigh less than a lot of laptops...and fact is you can't get around the laws of physics: when it comes to audio, bigger IS better.
    Reply
  • jaredtrobinson - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    I think the point is that these are 'ultra' portable, vs the other ones. Try using those speaks you mention on the couch, or on the toilet lol.

    Those you mention are viable just different market imo
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Eww seriously, on the toilet?

    I could see that being a real winner in Logitech's upcoming marketing campaign--

    The New, Compact Logitech Z305! Now you never have to go anywhere without speakers again -- even when you're on the throne! For when a man wants to feel like a king.

    Or perhaps:

    They never leave your side. Even while you're taking a massive dump. The Logitech Z305. Coming soon, everywhere. Literally. Everywhere.
    Reply
  • techcurious - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    I am not really an audiophile (yet), but I have a friend who is. And he has a pair of Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers that are smaller than a bowling ball each, and yet they put to shame my 5.1 tower JBL speaker system! I was blown away. True that his 2 small speakers also cost a lot more than my JBL, but the point I want to make is simply that your claim that when it comes to audio, "bigger is better" is utterly misguided and ignorant. Sorry. Reply

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