When's the last time you fired up a monitor and thought, "Wow, the speakers in this thing are amazing!"? Probably never. The best you can really hope for from the tinny cans that manufactures shove inside of monitors is serviceable audio, but more often than not, they simply suck. Granted, nobody goes shopping for a monitor and puts audio quality at the top of their list, but c'mon, is this the best the industry can do? Maybe not. Asus promises a better audio experience with its new Designo MX27AQ, a 27-inch WQHD (2560x1440) monitorwith embedded ICEpower Bang & Olufsen technology.
Speaker makers don't pay as much attention to the PC market as they once did, though they haven't completely abandoned the sector, either. Proof positive of this is Logitech's introduction of the Z213, a brand spanking new set of compact 2.1 multimedia speakers designed for Windows and Mac computer systems, along with tablets, smartphones, and dedicated MP3 players.
Disappointed with the audio in your Ultrabook or ultrathin laptop? It's a common complaint, and the only real solution is to invest in a pair of external speakers. If that's the road you're going down, Logitech hopes you'll gear up with its new Z600 set of Bluetooth speakers, an "elegantly designed" pair of cans intended to "complement the sleek good looks of Mac and Ultrabook computers."
Logitech has built more computer speakers over the years than just about any manufacturer, and it’s learned a thing or two about building decent low-cost models. Take the 2.1-channel Z323 system: We could name any number of speaker systems that sound better, but few that are priced better.
Note: This review originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
The sound card is back—but does your PC need one anymore?
If you think of your PC as a lifeboat full of components floating in the Atlantic Ocean after one of those ARM-based subs put two fish into the side of the PC’s troop transport, you can better understand the plight of the sound card.
Note: This review originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
The performance of the Aperion Audio Zona speakers is good enough for us to grant the company poetic license in labeling these speakers “wireless.” They’d need to be battery-powered in order to be entirely free from wires, an impractical solution because those batteries would need to be humongous to power the 20-watt Class D amplifier in each cabinet.
Each 15-pound cabinet houses a 20-watt Class D amp driving a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and a 4.5-inch woven-fiberglass woofer.
IF YOU'RE A LONGTIME PC user, you might remember Turtle Beach as one of the original manufacturers of computer audio hardware—we’re talking soundcards that competed with the best that Creative Labs had to offer. You might also have been dismayed in recent years, as the company became known for producing high-end headsets aimed primarily at console gamers. Turtle Beach has never forsaken its roots, though; its lineup has always included some solid offerings for the PC. The Ear Force Z6A is the latest in that line.
The Z6A features perfectly respectable build quality, with ear cups that swivel and flex to fit comfortably on any shape of head. The padding on the headband and the ear surrounds isn’t exactly plush, but we found it comfortable enough for extended wear. As is generally the case with Turtle Beach products, the Z6A boasts stylish design, with sharp-looking chrome accents and deep blue detailing.
It’s oxymoronic to say that a vacation is stressful. But it is. And I’m not even talking about the sand that’s waiting to creep into your shorts on the beach, the hotel room that’s going to spring a leak, or the vast number of other disasters about to transpire throughout your travels.
I’m talking about the very, very beginning of your vacation: The part right after you’ve planned and purchased the tickets up until the moment you step off the plane at your intended (and final) destination. As a geek, you’re probably wondering if there’s a better way to go about “the routine:”
Logitech's new Mini Boombox is a combination mobile speaker and speakerphone rolled into one. The idea is to let users rock out to awesome tunes without any cords getting in the way by pairing with smartphones, tablets, and other Bluetooth enabled devices.
We don’t bring products into the Lab just to beat them up, so we almost didn’t bite when Genius pitched these speakers. We also try not to prejudge products, but we didn’t have high expectations for this 2.1-channel speaker system: It looks cheesier than a wedge of Vermont cheddar and sells online for less than 50 bucks. We were fully prepared for a craptastic audio experience. Wow, were we ever off base.