- Clear and balanced audio, great included remote
- Reliance on software can be irritating, weak lower mid-range
Logitech's Z-Cinema will transform your PC into a mini home entertainment setup. If you're looking to use your PC for media related tasks, it's an excellent option.
Price$ 499.95 (AUD)
Logitech's Z-Cinema Advanced Surround System is a set of 2.1 PC speakers with SRS TruSurround HD technology, which simulates a 5.1 surround sound environment. Although we found the speakers themselves to generally be of quite high quality, the included software had a few issues which slightly irked us. Nevertheless, the Z-Cinema speakers are an excellent product, and perfect for use with media centre or media focused PCs.
The audio on the speakers is quite impressive, and the large sub generates a good amount of bass. The audio is generally well balanced, with treble showing an impressive amount of strength and clarity, even with the subwoofer going at full strength. The mid-range is clear and has a good presence without being too dominant, displaying a quick sound without too much lingering. Bass is generally quite good, without too much distortion even at full power, and a nice, tight sound. Unfortunately, for some reason there was a noticeable weak point in the lower mid-range. We noticed that bass lines in certain songs were uncharacteristically weak, without any real presence to speak of.
Volume will depend a lot on individual PCs, but we found that even cranking ours to maximum volume, we weren't able to get as much power out of the speakers as with others we've used. Nevertheless, they create a good amount of noise, without too much overt distortion. Designed primarily for desktop use, their lack of room-spanning volume can be forgiven. The sub is a powerhouse, and creates a good rumble.
Our major qualm with the Z-Cinema is the included software. The speakers are connected to the PC using a USB cable. This allows the use of a remote that's actually very well designed. An iPod-esque scroll wheel allows for volume adjustments, and a standard array of play, pause, skip, etc buttons are available that can be used with certain media players, such as Windows Media Player, but which don't work as well with others. Some basic Windows Media Centre controls are included as well. The problem is that the software itself can crash or freeze up for several seconds, inhibiting control. Although we suspect that this is a problem more with our PC than the software, nevertheless the reliance on software for operation of the speakers is irritating at times. That said, for the most part it's incredibly functional, and helps to give PCs much more of a home entertainment feel while watching movies.
The SRS TruSurround technology is interesting. It definitely creates a fuller and broader sound, and gives the impression of surround sound. It's not as good as actually having the surround speakers; however, for those without the space for such setups, this is a viable alternative.
The speakers have an attractive design, with a grey-framed black front panel, slightly curved. The connecting cables are quite thick, and may get in the way for those without the space to tuck them behind a desk or along a wall. Nevertheless, the overall aesthetic is quite pleasing, and the remote, as previously mentioned, is very well designed.
Logitech's Z-Cinema is an excellent product for those wishing to use their PCs as much more media-centric devices. The included remote and software gives the ensemble much more of a home entertainment type feel, although on the other hand, the reliance on the software is at times irritating. The audio quality is impressive, and the SRS TruSurround technology is a great feature for those with limited space.
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