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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  • 7Enigma - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Because when I think of portable laptop speakers, I think of nearly 20lbs and cubic foot a piece hardware. Seriously man did you even look at what the review unit's goal is?
  • kmmatney - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Um... These are wireless speakers, with a built-in battery pack...They serve a different puspose then you studio sound system...
  • ShortyZ - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Headphones anyone? Why bother with this?
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Headphones rely on your built-in sound system as well as the audio jack. I've encountered so many laptops where the audio jack gets a TON of static, and it's only worse on better quality headphones that accurately reproduce highs and lows.
  • SyndromeOCZ - Friday, October 15, 2010 - link

    The quality of the headphones don't really have anything to do with how much static noise you will hear from most notebook's headphone jack. Its dependent on the impedance and sensitivity of the headphones. This means that most IEM's will suffer from it more than full sized headphones will.

    And about the Wharfedales, I've got some EVO2-10's and they sound amazing, but they are anything but portable. ;)
  • kmmatney - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    Needs an iPod/IPhone dock...
  • anactoraaron - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    but I was online at Best Buy last night and they claim to have a 40GB X25M... It's $10 more than an X25V 40GB... any review or other info upcoming?
  • Aikouka - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    That could just be a mistake on Best Buy's part. There is a newer model of the 40GB SSD out... <-- original <-- newer K-series

    The price difference is only $5 at NewEgg, but it's still most likely the same.
  • dacipher - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    You cant go wrong with krk monitor speakers. Bass is really top notch on my set of Rokit 6's.
  • Ptaltaica - Thursday, October 14, 2010 - link

    I got to " the Companion II's produce excellent bass and dynamic range provided they're connected to a good sound card."


    If you're satisfied with Bose speakers-particularly ones that weigh less than 2lbs apiece, appear to have a plastic case, and come with a <b>power brick</b> , audio equipment reviews definitely aren't your forte. Those things probably have a single 3.5"-4" full range driver and some fancy port work. What a joke.

    And "this is after going through a lot of different speaker sets"? You're buying the wrong speaker sets. Short of some of the studio monitors (M-Audio's bigger units aren't too bad), there are NO speakers available in the US right now, that are marketed specifically as computer speakers, that I am aware of, that qualify as "good". THX certification means nothing, even the Logitech Z-5500s only sound good under three circumstances: the listener is either tone deaf or extremely inebriated, or they've never heard a decent audio system.

    And what do you consider a "good" sound card? Please tell me it's not some POS from Creative or M-Audio or one of the low-end Asus Xonars or something. Those Blows speakers are analog only and if we're not talking about cards with socketed opamps running something like AD843s or OPA639s, the card is garbage. Even the M-Audio Revolutions, which I otherwise like just fine, use JRC5532s-and while they're an improvement over the crap Creative is/was putting on their cards, calling any card that uses them "good" is being far too generous.

    Not even worth reading the rest of the article. If you think your Companion IIs have "excellent" bass and dynamic range, you're probably not qualified to have an opinion on the sound quality of anything this side of a tin can telephone.

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