Logitech – Z-5 review

USB-powered omni-directional speakers
Photo of Logitech – Z-5
£69.99

The name might sound like that of a BMW, but the Z-5s are actually a pair of omni-directional speakers from Logitech. Omni-what now? Of course, omni-directional means that noise is sent in every direction. The Z-5 speakers are reasonably tall rectangular columns with drivers on both the front and back so that the sound comes out in a 360 degree arc.

According to Logitech, this means they’re audible to the same extent wherever you are in the room. However, to be honest there’s not a lot of difference between them and normal PC speakers unless you actually have them in the middle of a room. Most people will have them on their desktop right in front of them, probably with the backs of the speakers towards a wall.

Even so, in the latter scenario what the Z-5s do manage to translate is an expanded sense of “spaciness”, and a crisp and clear sound overall. They’re particularly suited to games and movies, although music played through the Z-5s is punchy-sounding too. The speakers go fairly loud and keep a tight sound even at maximum volume, although the bass on very heavy music does get a touch muffled.

While the Z-5s are certainly impressive sounding, they don’t look quite so hot. Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing much at fault aesthetically, it’s just the units are a bit bland. Black and functional would be the best way to describe them. Speaking of functional, there’s a couple of useful hidden extras to make life easier for the owner.

The first is that these Logitech creations are powered via the USB port, so there’s no need to plug them into the mains. This is particularly handy if you want to use them with your laptop, perhaps to start up an impromptu disco on the 8:15 to Euston (or maybe not). There’s also an auxiliary jack on the back of one speaker, to plug in and listen directly to an MP3 player.

Finally, the Z-5s come with a compact remote control which can be used to adjust the volume, skip tracks and so forth. If the supplied software is installed, the button marked with a musical note on the remote opens your default media player (which can be specified) when pressed.

But it’s the sound quality that makes these speakers stand out, and that was the reason we were loath to return them to Logitech after the review period was up. When we packaged them up and returned to using our little Creative’s, the latter sounded a bit tinnier than we had remembered.

Company: Logitech

Contact: 020 7309 0127


Verdict
Logitech's omni-directional technology might not seem massively useful in a desktop speaker environment, but it does actually lend an extra dimension to the sound coming from your PC (particularly with games and movies). The fact that they're USB powered is a definite bonus for those who might want to take them along with a notebook.