When we reviewed the Logitech Z-3 2.1 speakers last year, we weren't overly impressed. Their replacement in the Z line, the $100 Logitech Z-4, addresses some of the problems, and the result is a much better and more user-friendly speaker set. They're still not as good across a broad range of audio tasks as Logitech's outstanding , but the Z-4s won't disappoint gamers or music and movie fans on a budget.
With a frequency response of 35HZ to 20KHz, the Z-4s mimic their predecessors, as they do in many of the speaker and subwoofer specifications. The two satellite speakers measure 9 inches high, 3 inches wide, and 3 inches deep; each delivers 17 watts of power via one active concave dome driver and two pressure drivers (all 2 inches in diameter). The subwoofer meanwhile delivers 23 watts of power via an 8-inch pressure driver. At 9 inches wide, 9 inches high, and 9.5 inches deep, the subwoofer is a bit of an elephant, so you'll need ample room under your desk. You have your choice of black with the Z-4 or iPod white with the .
Accompanying the Logitech Z-4s is a greatly improved wired remote control, compared to the Z-3s' remote. The new one offers an auxiliary input for any hardware with a standard line-out jack (such as an), and it also has a knob to control the volume of the subwoofer--crucial when switching back and forth between gaming and listening to music. It's also a vast improvement over the Z-3 subwoofer's knob, which sat inconveniently on the rear of the subwoofer itself.
Our first test for the Z-4s was musical. We pumped Death From Above 1979's "Blood On Our Hands" at the speakers' highest possible volume, with the subwoofer cranked all the way up, just for kicks. Shockingly, there wasn't a smidge of speaker distortion, despite the fact that we had the low range set to an inappropriately high volume for music. At a more sensible subwoofer level--about one o'clock on the dial--the song sounded crisp in the high-mids and deep in the lows, with the thunderous kick drum never getting too muddled. At times, however, the subwoofer sounded disconnected from the satellites, a common issue with computer speakers that avoid using woofers and go straight to the subwoofer. The absence of a regular woofer means some frequencies, namely low-mids, get a bit less attention than they deserve.