Logitech released two new laptop speaker options recently; the first is the Logitech Wireless Z515 speaker and the second is the Logitech Z305 portable speaker bar. The portable speaker bar has two main selling points according to Logitech: it’s designed to offer high-quality 360-degree audio and it's supposed to make the most out of portability and ease of use. Does the speaker bar live up to these selling points? Read on to find out.
Logitech Laptop Z305 Speaker specifications:
The design of the Z305 portable speaker is bar-shaped with a plastic clip so it can be attached directly to the back of a notebook, laptop or netbook. It is designed to relieve the potential clutter on your desk that may be forming from the many electronic devices and accesories you use on a daily basis. The Z305 is also designed to be a portable alternative to larger external speakers for notebooks whose sound quality is less than appealing.
The speaker bar is 324 mm, or 1.063 feet in height and is lightweight, making it a true portable speaker bar. From left to right, the buttons are volume up, power, and volume down. A light glows “green” when the speaker is switched to “on.” There is an auxiliary input located on the back of the bar.
The actual speakers are on both the left and right sides of the speaker to better allow for a “surround sound” or 360-degree sound effect.
The Z305 is made mostly of plastic and some rubber, and the speakers are made of metal. The actual clip is made entirely of plastic, including the hinge. Rubber stretches to both sides of the clip for extra protection against potential scratching.
The bar has only one cord: a USB 2.0 cable so the speakers can act as a plug-and-play device. The USB cord is also made to fold up into the bottom of the speaker so you don't have to deal with loose cables while traveling. It also comes with a cloth travel case.
According to Logitech, the bar will clip onto and fit “most” notebooks. To test this claim, I clipped the Z305 onto seven different laptops and notebooks of different sizes and styles. The Logitech speaker bar fit fine on every single one, but it was a little too heavy for the hinge on my 17” HP Pavilion dv7. I had to adjust the slant of the screen position to keep it from pulling the monitor forward or backward. When tested on the Acer Aspire 1830T netbook, it clipped on correctly and the screen didn't move, but the speakers did stick out by almost an inch on both sides.
The Logitech Z305 speaker bar is a two-chamber 2.0 speaker system. It has dual 32mm drivers with audio enhancement features. The driver includes these optional enhancements: bass boost control, virtual surround, room correction, and loudness equalization.
After I tested the plug-and-play specifically on three different notebooks, it took about 10 seconds to download the driver onto each machine. (Mac users may have to enable the speaker on their sound settings, but the user documentation will show you exactly how to do this.) After I unplugged the cord and re-plugged it into each system, the drivers did not have to re-download or reconfigure.
I tested the sound quality by playing 10 bass-heavy songs and while the bass sound was great, especially with the driver’s bass booster. I was immediately impressed with the quality given the speaker bar's smaller size design. The audio was crisp and clean-sounding and the sound distortion was minimal, yet present while playing some songs on maximum volume. While the speaker bar was clipped to a notebook, a sound level meter was held 12 inches from the bar, and a metal song was playing at full volume, the signal-to-noise ratio measured in at just a bit greater than 80 dB.
The “surround sound” feature was a no-brainer. Moreover, I went into the next room and shut the door, and could still hear the music playing pretty clearly, even though the volume was playing on less than half of the maximum volume. The range for the speaker must be over 30 feet, and I’m guessing that it’s significantly over that.
After spending a few weeks testing the Logitech Z305 it became clear that Logitech's engineers put a lot of thought into this product. The design is simple and compact enough that most laptop users won't hesitate to bring it in their notebook bag. The plug-and-play simplicity of the USB connection makes it easy for anyone to use these speakers. Most importantly, the audio quality is a huge improvement over virtually all notebook speakers. As long as your laptop doesn't have weak screen hinges this is a perfect solution for audiophiles who can live without a subwoofer.
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