On top of the company’s move to supporting smart devices more is an impressive jump to better-designed products. The move from the K760 to the K800-series is a perfect example of exactly that. The previous speakers from Logitech, the Z553, looks very PC-era. With these outdated designs, these were hardly the best desktop speakers. On both fronts, that’s where the new Z600 steps in with a really beautiful design and support for multiple devices.
Straight out of the box the Z600 speakers are stellar to look at. The grey on white design is simple and looks great. Cables sit behind and are flat so they don’t interfere with the cabling on your desk or make a mess on a clean table. Two cables — one from each speaker — connect together for AC power. All audio is transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth. Running a desktop without Bluetooth? No problem, Logitech includes a Bluetooth transceiver that works specifically for the Z600 for no-installation, no-hassle audio. The plug-and-play USB dongle connects instantly on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Connecting additional devices is simple just like setting up any other Bluetooth devices. The beauty of the Z600 however is that you can set up multiple devices to be connected at once, and never need to press a button to switch off which device is currently active. The perfect example is at my home office: my Windows 7 desktop connects via the USB dongle, but sometimes I’ll stream music from my iPod Touch with iOS 7 (iTunes Radio) which isn’t supported yet on Windows. And I use my iPad (4) for my dozen email accounts, so sometimes I’ll have video or music to stream on it. Anytime I want to switch from one device to another, all I have to do is stop the music on the currently-playing device and start playing it on another one. So if I’m streaming music on the iPod and want to watch a video on the iPad, I just pause one and play the other. The switch is instant.
Well, it’s fast enough. There is a slight lag that’s definitely noticeable, but it’s a no-button change. The audio handoff is so clean and simple that nothing comes close to comparing. It even works if you connect with an auxiliary cable, though with the dongle and Bluetooth there’s never any reason to do so unless you want to use the Z600 for your media center and plan to plug it into your TV.
Which, if you want to do, is totally feasible. The Z600 speakers don’t use a subwoofer (it’s a 2.0 speaker set) and the two foot-tall satellites project audio with extreme precision. I’ve used the set for music and movies and the sound produced is excellent. At louder settings, deeper bass is muffled, but not by much. For loud music or for watching movies the Z600 performs excellently. Beware of some crackling on higher frequencies over 80 decibels, though even that’s rare.
For more typical use at the computer, the touch controls on top of the right speaker are both really smart and difficult to get used to. Circle a finger around the periphery to adjust the volume on the connected device or tap in the center to activate the speakers. The volume controls isn’t sensitive enough, and on multiple occasions I unintentionally muted the audio, and worse, nearly blew my eardrums out. I recommend adjusting volume on the connected device directly.
The speakers themselves only have two buttons, a power control and Bluetooth connect button, both on the back of the right speaker. A hidden auxiliary port is also on the back. The Z600 can store up to eight Bluetooth profiles, and up to three can be connected simultaneously.
Peripherals for the longest time have been heavily focused on form or function. The Logitech Z600 speakers are perfectly built for the multi-device generation. They look great on any desk and work with any device. The asking price of $150 isn’t all that much considering the quality and usability of this great speaker set. I only wish I had a second set for another room; the Z600 isn’t built for mobility, even though everything else in our analog and digital lives are. But that’s alright; we all have to sit down and take a break sometime.
Bottom Line: The Logitech Bluetooth Speakers Z600 is the first speaker system made for multiple devices. It does it right, and it does it all in style and with excellent audio performance.
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