Logitech Z3 2.1 Review

Priced at around $80, the Logitech Z3 speaker system offers exceptional sound and a unique design...
Priced at around $80, the Logitech Z3 speaker system offers exceptional sound and a unique design...
Priced at around $80, the Logitech Z3 speaker system offers exceptional sound and a unique design...

Highs

  • Looks very contemporary
  • sounds larger then it looks

Lows

  • Poorly designed in-line control unit

DT Editors' Rating

Home > Product Reviews > Speaker Reviews > PC Speaker Reviews > Logitech Z3 2.1 Review

Key Specifications

Form factor
Desktop
Total watts
40
Features
Remote
Channels
2.1
See All

Summary

While the Logitech Z3 speaker system does have its shortcomings, the bottom line is that you will probably be happy with them. Sure they could be improved on, but the design and construction is certainly better than most speaker systems, especially in this price range. Logitech has taken a bold step in designing a system that is aesthetically unique from anything else in their product line and from most systems on the market. The Logitech Z3 system would be better suited in an office versus a dorm room where they can get scratched up. If you are into hardcore gaming or movie watching, you probably want to look at Logitech’s Z-5300 THX surround system, which is priced just $25 more than the Z3 and is suited for gaming and movies.

Introduction

It seems like every new computer speaker system has to have four to five speakers, Dolby Digital or THX certification and lots of power to even be considered a good system. But what if you don’t want a speaker system that takes up every square inch in your room or shakes the house? For some of us, we want a 2.1 system that sounds great and looks good in our offices. This is what we think Logitech was aiming for with the Z3 speaker system. Priced at around $80, the Logitech Z3 speaker system offers exceptional sound and a unique design that looks great in any office or home setting.

Features and Design

We really have to give Logitech props for introducing a speaker system that looks somewhat different than the norm. Featuring bleached wood styling and die cast metal legs on the satellites and the same wood styling on the subwoofer, Logitech has taken design cues from the home audio realm and integrated them nicely into these computer speakers. The die cast metal legs on the satellites help to give the speakers a nice hefty feel typically associated with the quality audiophiles have come to respect. You can also remove the speaker legs to give you more flexibility with their placement, should you decide to get a little creative. The satellites also feature a brushed metal faceplate that Logitech went out of their way to protect by adding a thick plastic peel-away skin to the finish. You can choose to pull the plastic off to give the speakers a very shiny and appealing look to them, or keep the film on and use the included speaker covers. The overall look of the Z3 system gives a strong impression of 70’s contemporary styling with a home audio feel.

The subwoofer features the same wood styling found on the satellite speakers and looks smaller than what you would expect from a speaker system of this caliber. But do not be deceived as this subwoofer features an oversized 8-inch driver in a sealed enclosure, which allows you to get a very deep bass in a box smaller than what you would get with a ported enclosure. Neither the satellites nor the subwoofer feature a real wood veneer, but the cover certainly looks the part.

The satellites plug directly into the subwoofer and are driven using an AC adapter built into the subwoofer amplifier. Controls for the satellites are located in an in-line control unit that is integrated into the speaker cables. You will find the volume controls, power button and a headphone jack in this control unit. The subwoofer’s volume control is located on the back of the subwoofer itself and not in the in-line control unit. Logitech includes a very brief instruction manual and an RCA audio/stereo-mini jack cable adapter so you can plug these speakers directly into the back of your gaming console (Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube) providing your game console has this input type. The satellites utilize a single 2-inch aluminum phase plug driver with a small port located above the driver.

The satellites have a power rating of 8.5 watts RMS each with the subwoofer using 23 watts RMS of power for total system power equaling 40 watts RMS or 80 watts of peak power. The signal to noise ratio is >92dB (decibels) which means the system is very efficient considering it only uses 40 watts RMS of total power. Logitech offers a 2-year warranty for the Z3 speaker system. For complete system specs please click on the specs tab located above this review or the specifications link located below this review.

Setup and Use

As you can imagine, setting up the Logitech Z3 speakers is incredibly easy. Since the system is only a 2.1 setup you will not have to worry about running cables around the room or positioning four satellite speakers. The cable that the satellite speakers are connected to features three separate cables stuck together to make one big wide cable. If you have a particularly wide desk, you will have to carefully peel the three cables apart to allow a wider area of space between the satellite speakers. There was just enough cable available to set one satellite on each corner of our 5-foot wide desk. Since the cables are directly connected to the satellites and are not removable, there is no way to extend the cable length, this could be a serious problem for some people. Once you have the satellites where you want them, plug them into the subwoofer, connect the subwoofer to your computer or game console and power the system up. We recommend keeping the subwoofer volume in the middle or low range until the system is broke in and the subwoofer is more flexible and able to support the larger volumes.

The in-line control unit is attached to the satellite speaker cable, so you will wind up with it being located somewhere between the two speakers. We like the idea of an inline remote unit but this particular one could use some work. When the system is powered on, there is a nice blue LED, which lets you know there is power going to the system. The big volume control knob is easy to use and the power button is easy to find. What we did not like was the fact that nothing anchored the control unit to our desk. Since the control unit is connected to the speaker cables and the housing of the control unit is plastic and very light, the speaker cables were constantly pulling the control unit off of our desk. Logitech added some rubber feet to the bottom of the control unit but they did little to keep it in place. Perhaps adding more weight to the control unit or moving the audio controls to the speakers would have been a better alternative. But as it stands, with the controls in a separate unit, it gives the satellite speakers a very clean look.

We broke our Logitech Z3 system in for about 20 hours before testing how they sound. We have got to tell you that despite their small size, the Z3 speaker system sounds great. In fact we were caught completely off guard by the system’s sound. We had them setup next to our Klipsch Promedia 2.1 system and with our eyes shut it was hard to tell the difference between the two at low to medium sound levels. The 2-inch driver found in the satellite speakers put out fantastic midrange sound and the 8-inch subwoofer does a fantastic job of delivering nice tight deep bass. Logitech uses their patented pressure driver to deliver deep bass from such a small enclosure. The subwoofer does not offer any sort of crossover controls but it was able to handle our music, movies and games at all but the most dramatic levels. The system does however, have its limits. If you turn the volume up very loud and have the subwoofer volume above the halfway point, you will hear clipping and distortion from the subwoofer. And since the satellites use a single 2-inch driver to cover both midrange and high frequencies, we noticed that the midrange sounded exceptionally good, but the highs were somewhat lacking to say the least. But compared to other speaker systems in this price range, we would still stay with the Logitech Z3’s by a long shot.

If you are a hardcore gamer or movie enthusiast and still want to stay on a budget, we would recommend that you look at the Logitech Z-5300 speaker system. It is THX certified and only costs about $25 dollars more than the Z3’s. But if you want a simple speaker solution that you are not afraid to put on your executive desk, the Logitech Z3 speaker system will certainly look the part.

Conclusion

While the Logitech Z3 speaker system does have its shortcomings, the bottom line is that you will probably be happy with them. Sure they could be improved on, but the design and construction is certainly better than most speaker systems, especially in this price range. Logitech has taken a bold step in designing a system that is aesthetically unique from anything else in their product line and from most systems on the market. The Logitech Z3 system would be better suited in an office versus a dorm room where they can get scratched up. If you are into hardcore gaming or movie watching, you probably want to look at Logitech’s Z-5300 THX surround system, which is priced just $25 more than the Z3 and is suited for gaming and movies.