Logitech Z Cinema speaker system review

Logitech's latest PC speakers promise to offer a home cinema sound with just three speakers and an overall lack of wires, so can it? We get listening to find out.

We all hate wires and we all had the barrage of speakers that you need to recreate surround sound effectively so Logitech has turned to SRS TruSurround HD to create a set of 2 speakers and a subwoofer that promises to give the listener the belief that they are listening to a system with more speakers that it actually has.

Designed to be used in conjunction with Windows Media Centre, the speakers, which are black, glossy and large sit on your desk while the even larger subwoofer sits tucked out of the way under your desk providing you've got the space for it.

The speakers themselves offer a three-amplifier design, two-way satellite speakers and an 8-inch subwoofer. They use hybrid Class D and Class AB amplifiers to reproduce high-, mid- and low-range frequencies, and each amplifier delivers an independent, digitally equalised signal that minimises distortion and creates a broad soundfield.

There are three connections needed to get you going all of which you wouldn't expect. For the left speaker it's a double phono, for the right a something more akin to a VGA cable and for the connection to the PC, a USB printer cable. The reason for the USB cable rather than a standard 3.5mm jack is that a USB cable offers a 24-bit digital audio signal.

Lacking buttons of any kind, everything is controlled via a Windows Media Center remote control, meaning this system has to be used with Microsoft's Media Center or Windows Vista operating systems to get the most from it.

Of course you can opt to connect a device to the unit via the aux in socket around the back of the right speaker via a standard 3.5mm socket, but you won't get any of the SRS Surround TruSurround HD functionality or the ability to interact with your music using the remote.

If you have got a PC with the right OS you're in luck as the Logitech software and the remote allows you full control over the media elements of your machine at the touch of a button.

It's all very well looking good and offering enhanced features but if it doesn't sound that great what's the point. Well we've got mixed feelings here.

The offering is good, but perhaps not as good as we would have expected for a unit that costs £250.

We tested it with a number of films, including Die Hard, Jurassic Park, and The Matrix and as long as you managed to sit in the sweet spot the sound was very good picking out the surround elements, tyre squeaks, bullet cartridges falling and dinosaurs roaring all came through with a brilliantly rich sound.

However step out that sweet spot and the sound became flat, and well, just rather average.

What's the problem there you ask, just don't step out of that sweet spot. Trouble is, we found that unless you are sitting right in front of your monitor as if you were working, you miss that sweet spot altogether. And forgive us if you disagree, but I don't want to watch the latest blockbuster movie sat at my desk as if I was working.

Verdict

At £250 we expected more from Logitech and its Z Cinema speaker system for the PC. As a set of PC speakers they are great, and when it came to gaming, we were very impressed as you are there at your desk.

However if you are hoping that these will enhance your movie watching experience, be prepared to have to be at your desk rather than lounged back on the sofa.