How Logitech continues to thrive in the post-PC world

logitech tour speakers test
Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

The PC is in decline. We’ve been hearing that story and seeing the numbers for years now, and we all know it’s true.

But in the midst of that decline, you might be surprised to hear how well a company like Logitech gets along. Despite its deep connection to PCs, the small, independent company continues to stay relevant in its many different ventures — whether that’s in high-end audio, or gaming peripherals.

We took a behind-the-scenes look at Logitech’s facilities in Camas, Washington to see how it thrives in a world where we rely less and less on PCs by the day.

A long history in audio

Logitech is known first and foremost as a PC mice and keyboard manufacturer. It was founded in the early 1980s in Switzerland — and by 2008, the company had sold over a billion mice. You’re bound to have used at least one of them in your life. But Logitech knew that if it wanted to grow, it’d have to expand beyond mice and keyboards.

The small, independent company continues to stay relevant in its many different ventures.

In 2001, Logitech acquired a competitor based out of Vancouver, Washington called Labtec, a company with a rich history in a desktop peripherals. Logitech didn’t have much experience in at the time: Computer speakers.

“That’s how we benefited for the heritage,” said Philippe Depallens, the VP of Logitech Audio, told Digital Trends. “We still have 15 [Labtec employees] from that era still with us. Logitech is very good at integrating different ingredients from different places. But also through the acquisition, we’ve been able to aggregate all the heritage that these guys have.”

After acquiring Labtec, Logitech quickly added audio devices to its suite of computer peripherals and began building up its own audio engineering facilities. Even though they both plug into a PC, engineering speakers is very different than mice or keyboards. 

In order to support all these new ventures in audio, Logitech has continued to improve its testing facilities, bringing in the highest level of technology and industry practices, many of which rival what you’d see from a massive multinational conglomerate like Samsung or LG. The facility is filled with anechoic chambers, listening rooms, and compliance labs, all for the purpose of engineering some of the most advanced speaker systems in the world. The anechoic chambers, used for completely isolating sounds, are particularly fascinating, Logitech’s largest anechoic chamber even features a completely mesh floor to allow for a padded surface beneath. Spending too long in one of these chambers will make your ears tingle. 

Even though they both plug into a PC, engineering speakers is very different than mice or keyboards.

On the other side of the spectrum, Logitech has built cozy listening rooms where they perform blind testing of its speakers. In the dark room of couches, listeners can switch between the different systems, as well as styles of music and volume. The idea is to give Logitech engineers an idea of what the average person hears, so they can make proper calibrations to the speakers based on how people actually experience the music.

But Logitech didn’t just build these advanced testing facilities for computer speakers. In addition to Labtec in the early 2000s, the company has made a couple of other important acquisitions —  namely, Ultimate Ears (UE) and Jaybird. The two consumer audio companies, one for audiophiles and one for exercise, still maintain their own identity, but are now under the umbrella company of Logitech. 

“As you know, the desktop speaker is a business that is currently declining,” said Depallens. “There is no secret around that. We have to embrace the new form factors and new behaviors.”

The addition of bluetooth speakers and headphones from these acquisitions have allowed Logitech to expand beyond the PC at a time when that’s more needed than ever.

Digging deep into gaming

The other big area where Logitech continues to thrive is in gaming. It’s one of the only areas of PC manufacturing where there is growing, not feigning interest. More importantly, it’s a demographic that is passionate about its peripherals, whether that’s mice, keyboards, speakers, or headphones. Logitech has caught onto that.

The first gaming products Logitech produced were the classic WingMan joysticks in the mid-1990s — an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Nowadays, it’s all about Logitech G, the company’s new dedicated gaming brand. It was re-launched in 2013 with its refreshed mice and keyboards, all adding gaming style and performance to its products. Whether it’s affordable options like the Prodigy G203 or the wireless G903 Lightspeed, Logitech G has quickly become a mainstay in the gaming world and even show up on our list of the best gaming mice you can buy.

“We started to realize we could create a beautiful ecosystem around the desk between the mouse, the keyboard, and the speaker.”

Earlier this year, these two new ventures of gaming and high-end audio came together in one interesting product: The Logitech G560 Gaming Speakers. It’s first dip into the gaming speaker world, the G560 are certainly a unique take. Rather than just flashing LEDs in your face, the the G560 speakers use the backdrop of your room to enhance the gaming speakers. You can synch them up with games to fill the space behind your monitor with dynamic colors that actually reflect what’s happening within the game itself. They don’t come cheap, but with powerful sound (including a 2.1 subwoofer), it’s some fascinating innovation in a space that tends to remain fairly static.

“The easiest way for us to do this would have been to take one of our existing products, slap on a Logitech G logo, ship it, and just say this is a gaming speaker,”Depallens said. “That could have been our approach, but that’s usually not the approach we take.”

logitech post pc tour speaker  g560 gaming speakers

Logitech said it spoke to lots of gamers all around the world to see how they would actually use speakers around the desk, considering the popularity of gaming headsets.

“That’s when we started to realize we could create a beautiful ecosystem around the desk between the mouse, the keyboard, and the speaker,”Depallens said. “It’s about creating an ecosystem where not just the sound and the input is there, but also light. We realized that sometimes it’s easier to look to the right or left of your screen than it is to look down at your keyboard. That’s how the G560 was born.”

Syncing up with all sorts of different games, the lights on the speakers help set the tone of the gaming space — and in our experience, do add a special ingredient to make games more immersive.

Between high-end audio and new gaming products, we’re seeing a company can crank the volume on its strengths, without being left behind in this new era of how we use computers today.

Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Cars

Passengers can set their own fares with international rideshare company

Most rideshare companies start in the U.S. and add other countries later. InDriver, an international rideshare company that lets passengers determine fares in real time, launched in New York City with 14 million members in 11 countries.
Computing

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Computing

The Titan RTX graphics card is nearly here. Here's what you need to know

The Nvidia Titan RTX is arguably the most powerful consumer graphics card ever made, even if it's not really aimed at consumers. It bridges the 2080 Ti and RTX Quadro cards with boat loads of power.
Computing

Looking for an Apple MacBook below $900? Woot has you covered

If you're looking for a great deal on an Apple MacBook, then Amazon's Woot may just have what you have been seeking. It has Macbooks available for only $810 with Intel M3 CPUs, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSDs.
Computing

Leak reveals that Nvidia’s RTX 2060 gaming chipsets will be headed to laptops

The latest leaks of Nvidia's upcoming RTX 2060 have given performance benchmarks and further detail about the future chipset and its capabilities, while a RTX 2060 Max-Q variant has also been discovered for thin and light gaming machines.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Computing

Supermicro investigation: no spy chips found on our motherboards

Supermicro announced the results of an investigation into the controversy surrounding its motherboards. The investigation was launched in response to reports that alleged the motherboards were compromised with malicious hardware.