It’s incredibly difficult to do simple. For every “yes” the designers and engineers agree to, there are a dozen opposing “no” replies that come with it. Apple, the king of minimalism, is the master of understated design. There is not a single button or element on any Apple product that isn’t deliberately stressed and considered over. The result of their profound laser-focus: elegant products that require almost no learning curve; devices that just make sense.
The Logitech Z600 Bluetooth speaker set is a lot like an Apple product. Heck, if the box didn’t have a Logitech logo on it, you’d have fooled me (any many others). While the speaker is not carved from aluminum (it’s plastic), it does have the whole Apple vibe going for it. Immediately, you can see its simplistic design fits right in with almost any Mac; be it MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro. The silver meshed exterior is only as exposed as it needs to be. And while some might find the slight sparkle/glitter to the metallic to be tad bit gaudy, I think it looks good on any desktop.
Each cone-shaped Z600 speaker has three individual drivers that are designed to boost the mids, highs and bass (more on that below).
The picture on the back of the box might not be a Mac, but let’s be real here, it’s a Mac at heart. (Logitech’s not fooling anyone!)
One really cool feature on the Z600 speakers is that up to eight Bluetooth devices can be paired up, with three of them being connected at the same time. No, it doesn’t let you output three different different audio sources at the same time, but you can quickly swap between them by pressing the power button, then the Bluetooth pairing button.
Included in the box are the two speakers, an A/C adapter, a Bluetooth transceiver dongle (if your computer doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth already) and a 3.5mm auxiliary cable that you can use to hook up any device that outputs sound (i.e. iPod, Nintendo 3DS, laptop).
On the right speaker, the top has a touch-sensitive control wheel. As we noted a few months back, it’s similar to an iPod Click Wheel. You’ll know it’s working when you put your finger on it and you hear a “ding” sound. From there you can glide your finger in a clockwise motion to turn the volume up, and counterclockwise to lower the volume. It’s quite accurate and definitely beats pressing actual buttons.
The rear of the speakers is also pretty barebones. The right speaker contains two buttons and two ports hidden by rubber covers.
There’s a trend towards flat cables that don’t tangle and we really appreciate Logitech for jumping onboard the wagon. It’s a smart design that keeps those tangles at bay, especially in the sea of wires behind our desks.
On the bottom of each speaker is a nice throwback to the old gramophones of the late 19th century/early 20th century.
From top to bottom: power button, Bluetooth button, micro USB port (for installing new firmware) and 3.5mm auxiliary port.
Even the plugs and adapter look friendly. Seriously, I really can’t help but heap praise for how user-friendly Logitech made the Z600. You just want to pick it up and cuddle it. It’s so simple to set up, even my tech illiterate mother can do it.
Hidden flap numero uno reveals a micro USB port. Nope, it’s not for charging. It’s only for updating the firmware, which you won’t have to worry about too much.
In flap number dos, you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack.
So, how do the speakers sound. First, let me say, they’re wireless Bluetooth speakers, but they still require their own power source (that’s what the A/C adapter is for).
Moving on, the speakers are a step above average when music is played over Bluetooth. I tested the Z600 against the company’s UE Boom and I couldn’t tell much of a difference listening to today’s auto-tune-heavy pop tracks. The bass doesn’t deliver much kick when you crank up the volume, and distortion is clearly audible, so it’s recommended you dial the volume down a little to around 60 percent. That said, I also plugged in my iPhone and MacBook Air to the Z600 speakers via the cable and for some reason the sound output is a slightly cleaner.
However, the Z600 does deserve credit for stereo output, something most portable Bluetooth speakers can’t do. The mids and highs are richer than your average pair of Bluetooth speakers, that’s for sure, especially if you’re listening to Pink Floyd. (Fun fact: a lot of “pro” audio guys listen to Pink Floyd to tune their systems.)
Overall, I’d say for $150, the Z600 are as much as you’d expect to get. No more and no less, unless you’re counting design as a huge reason to buy them (we do). The speakers look great, sound good, and work as well hooked up to a TV (I couldn’t resist). Perfect for a party in a tiny NYC apartment? You betcha.
(All photos by Raymond Wong for Dapper Guide.)