Tag Archives: Logitech

Review ~ Logitech MX Sound system


Logitech’s MX Sound speakers bring Bluetooth audio to the desktop. MX Sound can deliver stereo audio from computer, smartphone or tablet.
These new speakers appear like greater and lesser pods fused together; the greater houses a forward-facing 70mm speaker and the lesser houses the rear-firing bass ports. The two pods make for a surprisingly stable platform thanks to weight distribution and two rubberised strips on their undersides. The right-hand speaker has the ports, power supply and controls on the back, and the left speaker has an attached cable that goes into one of the ports (only fits one) on the back of the right one. The other ports are headphones, power, PC (any stereo minipin connection, actually) and Aux, which will also take a signal from pretty much any source, again via stereo minipin, effectively giving you two swappable wired connections as well as two swappable wireless (thanks to Bluetooth switching).
With tailored drivers and rear-facing port tubes for bass (better bass tends to come off the backs of normal speakers, so if you port it out properly from the rear of a cabinet, bass response is improved).
A 10° backward tilt when their sitting on a flat surface is designed to point the speakers from a desktop position upwards towards your ears.

Control — Logitech has gone all minimal with these speakers, using a motion-activated and backlit touch-control interface to keep surfaces unblemished. Wave your hand about 5cm or less in front of the right speaker and three backlit controls appear: Bluetooth (press it to make it discoverable for pairing), and a plus and minus sign for volume volume up and down. This means the speakers stay discrete until you need to change the volume. The units self power-down after 20 minutes of non-use, by the way, to conserve power use.

Sound — Audio is well defined, rounded and surprisingly full, especially if you position the two speakers so the bass emanating from the speaker backs is unimpeded and, perhaps, can reflect back to you off a wall or something.
But very bass- and sub-bass-heavy tracks distort at higher volumes. For example with Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive, bass surges can stop the trebles coming through. Normally, you won’t notice this, but since the highs roll off at a comparatively low 20MHz, what passed for definition at medium volumes suffers accordingly at higher. A song like Public Image by Public Image, with that wonderfully expansive Jah Wobble bass technique, sounds fine at medium volumes and not so god at loud. If you’re a painful twit, like me, with audio stuff, you will also notice the limitations of having one speaker in an enclosure at full extension: for example, in the sublime System Virtue by Emma Paki, at full volume, when the speakers have to produce a swell of that lovely bubbling bassline, the mids and highs will momentarily drop out. If you’ve ever wondered why bigger speaker enclosures have different drivers for different jobs, it’s partly to avoid this, and to produce a wider spectrum from low sounds to high.
Honestly, though, if you want music at high volumes, you should not be looking at a 12W system. For serious music listening and Logic work, I switch my sound through to a Rotel stereo amp and two-driver ELAC speakers, since Macs and iDevices certainly can and do deliver high quality sound.
I also tested it out delivering video soundtracks. The Western series Godless on Netflix certainly gave them a good workout with an extended gun battle that sounded extra convincing with better speakers. The expanded sound stage was very welcome on a holiday trip, although this pair of speakers is nowhere near as portable as some other solutions, including some excellent products from Logitech.
The other way to use speakers is, of course, for games. My current obsession, the World War Two shooter called Day of Infamy, is a good test. You need to be able to hear things to the left and right: you should be able to tell if an enemy is stalking you on the other side of a wall. You learn to identify Allied versus Axis weapon sounds so you can ‘stage’ where things are happening, which can be crucial to playing well. The speakers kept up well, and definitely made the game sound a lot better, and the staging was good, although you can’t beat headphones for truly dedicated play.
Here’s a tip, though: if game sound is too good and too loud, you might find you’ll be less distracted and rattled if you it down a bit, as games like this spend a lot of development on authentic and immersive sound stages.

The ports on the back of the right speaker (click the picture for a large view)

Switcheroo — Listen via Bluetooth and/or a wired connection, and seamlessly switch between to previously-connected devices thanks to the Logitech Easy-Switch feature, which stores details for two devices. It’s easy to use – pause music on one, press play on the other … however, it’s possible to have a wired connection playing at the same time as a Bluetooth one over the speakers at the same time since there’s no input switch to select one over the other, and one input doesn’t automatically cut out the other.
Apart from playing a playlist, say, from an iPad and then an iPhone, it also means you can have them connected to your Mac (or PC) yet have them play a selection direct from your smartphone.

Conclusion — A good offering at a reasonable price that will give you expanded stereo separation, more detail and much warmer midtones than built-in speakers for music, soundtracks and games at low-to-mid volumes.

What’s Great — Easy Bluetooth connection and a wired option; understated interface that only appears the you need it; subtle design which means they don’t draw too much visual attention.

What’s Not — If you’re playing Bluetooth audio and also send sound via wired, they’ll just both play at the same time. Strains at high volumes (as you’d expect from a 12 Watt system and single speakers).

Needs — Anyone who has room on a desk for speakers this big (about a hand’s length across for an average male hand) for a much better quality audio experience. They also sound good with TVs and their understated form is a bonus for this use, if you have the rom for them and just want better TV audio than stock, yet don’t want to go up to a full audio-visual sound system, for example in a small room or apartment.

Logitech MX Sound speakers, RRP NZ$169
System — Total Watt (in RMS) 12W with a Total Peak of 24W, connects via Bluetooth 4.1 up to 25 metres in line-of-sight range plus two 3.5mm inputs (a 3.5mm audio cable is supplied) plus a headphone jack.
Frequency response is 75Hz-20kHz (good headphones will go down to 12Hz, and subwoofers lower still, plus up to 25KHz).
160mm high (6.30 inches) by the same width and 83.4mm deep (3.28in). Weight: 1.72kgs (3.90lbs). Works with Bluetooth enabled devices and any device with a 3.5mm input including televisions, computers, smartphone, tablets and music players

Availability — The Logitech MX Sound system is available via Logitech.com and from selected retail stores for a suggested retail price of NZ$169 (I’ve seen them on Mighty Ape for NZ$139).

Sapphire, waterproof iPad keyboard, selfies, Lightning Flash, photo kit


Logitech's new keyboard for iPad is covered with spill-resistant FabricSkin
Logitech’s new keyboard for iPad is covered with spill-resistant FabricSkin

Apple patent reveals method of attaching sapphire cover glass to iPhone — While rumours that Apple would incorporate sapphire into its latest iPhone 6 flagship handset failed to materialise, the company is continuing work on such a solution, according to a patent application uncovered on Thursday.

Logitech’s Keys-To-Go keyboard for iPad — Logitech makes some of the best iPad keyboard cases on the market and has just released the new Keys-To-Go ultra-portable keyboard for iPad (pictured above) for US$69.99.

The ultimate guide to better selfies — To ensure you’re a responsible and respectable member of the selfie generation, absorb the following Macworld advice.

Flash leader SanDisk launches portable storage drive with built-in Lightning connector — SanDisk has just announced the new iXpand Flash Drive, the company’s first USB flash drive designed specifically for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, featuring a dedicated Lightning connector for transferring files on the go.

Smartphone Photo Kit — An all-in-one smartphone lens kit is on sale, and puts professional photography power conveniently in your pocket. This bundle arms you with six unique smartphone photography accessories, so you can take high quality and well composed photos of any subject – from microscopic organisms to full-blown landscapes. The package includes: an 8x telephoto lens, a 60x microscope lens (with special case), a fisheye lens, a macro/wide angle lens, a 2x telephoto lens, a tripod for use with the 8x telephoto lens and a slick carrying case to keep it all together all for US$69 instead of US$199. You can get it for iPhone 6;  6 Plus; 5/5S; 4/4S – or Galaxy S5.

Review Logitech Bluetooth Multi-device Keyboard k480


A single keyboard promises text entry for three your devices
A single keyboard promises text entry for three your devices

iPads and even iPhones are OK for banging out a few lines (aka ‘word processing’), sure, but if you seriously want to bash out some words, a real keyboard is the only answer. Unfortunately, it’s an expensive solution if you require one for each device – Mac, iPad, iPhone. That’s the issue the k480 tries to address, with its switchable Bluetooth pairings. It works for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, so either device combo you have is catered to: press ‘PC’ at top right of the keyboard for Windows/Android and ‘i’ Mac/iOS. So it won’t work for you if your device menagerie of choice is a mixed platform one.

If you are using the k480 with a Mac, you’ll notice the Start, Alt and Ctrl keys have ‘opt’ and ‘cmd’ (Option and Command) under those words in grey. There are single-purpose Control and Function modifier keys, too (marked ‘ctrl’ and ‘fn’).

It might be a strange colour combo but somehow it looks pretty slick to me
Black and pale green might seem a strange colour combo but somehow it looks pretty slick to me

The keyboard is ’80s retro-futurist in white with rounded-edge keys, or in black with an almost flouro yellowy-green slot above the number keys. It looks like it should be on the set of UFO or Space 1999. It is relatively thick top to bottom (about 20mm at the thickest, top edge and 16mm on the spacebar side).

In the groove - you can probably fit two devices at once
In the groove – you can probably fit two devices at once

This thickness allows a mobile device to sit in a slot along the top as a kind of de facto laptop. You can fit in an iPad mini, portrait, along with the smaller iPhone 6 (even when it’s in an Apple case) alongside each other. I found the angle and space for comfortable typing about right, which explains the physical size of the keyboard. To pair it with a Mac, turn it on underneath (two AAA batteries are preinstalled under a panel on the underside) and hold in the ‘i’ key for three seconds so that the little blue LED to the right of the ‘i’ key blinks (three seconds) and then you can pair it the usual way via System Preferences>Bluetooth.

The keyboard appears in the Device list and click ‘Pair’. Whatever that number is on the number dial at top left, switching that to another changes the connection – in other words, it disconnects the Mac.

The three-position device selector works well
The three-position device selector works well

To connect it to something else, change the number on the three-position dial, open Settings on the iDevice, tap Bluetooth, hold that keyboard’s right-top button in for three seconds, it appears as ‘Keyboard’ in the Bluetooth list and choose it to pair. From then on, choose the right number and that device is connected, the others aren’t.

For the Mac, the keyboard feels feels a bit weird, kinda ‘buttony’, as if you are really pressing buttons instead of depressing keyboard keys. It’s funny that when you flip the switch to the iPhone pairing then type on the keyboard it feels totally different, because you are no longer typing on virtual keys on glass, you’re typing on real keys nice and far apart, which is quite liberating. So in an odd way, it feels better for iDevices than it does for a Mac.

Conclusion — What seems great for iDevices seems a bit clunky for a Mac, compared to an Apple keyboard anyway, but it will suit those more used to a Windows keyboard layout. However, the switchable aspect works a charm and it might be the device you’ve been craving for your digital life, since it’s not too pricey.

What’s great  — Easy to pair, easy to switch, liberating having a keyboard work with two or even three iDevices, so you could also get one keyboard and pair it with three people’s devices, assigning them each a number. Then let the fighting over who has the keyboard begin!

What’s not — Doesn’t actually feel that great to type on.At least it’s not expensive.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-device Keyboard k480, NZ$79.70

System — Bluetooth wireless computers or mobile devices which support external keyboards (HID profile), including Mac OS X, PCs running Windows 7, 8 or later or Chrome OS; iPad/iPhone iOS 5 or later and Android devices with Android 3.2 or later. Internet connection (for optional software download).

Available from — Electronics retailers. More info from Logitech.

Logitech +drive Mount


REVIEW-Logitech+drive-mount1

In the pack: one cylindrical windshield mount, two magnets, one mounting plate. The magnets are stick-on, which you’d probably rather stick to an iPhone case rather than to an iPhone itself, in fact (if the case is thin) you can place these inside, so the metal is against the iPhone and concealed but still magnets itself to the mount, through the case. This means you can use it with two devices out of the box, or three in my case as I still had the case+energy case I reviewed last week, which has a metal back that is also designed to attache to the magnet. Further, Logitech’s +tilt range of iPhone cases include magnetic plates, too, for $59.90 each in polypropylene or $69.90 in leather, and these are already magnetised so they’ll stick to your fridge.

Or you can buy a Mount/case combo called case[+]drive. The case can be grey or black in this instance (NZ$99).

REVIEW-Logitech+drive-mount2The +drive is a fairly unadorned grey cylinder of polypropylene with a similar somewhat sophisticated soft-touch feel as the case+energy.

It twists apart to reveal a brightly coloured handle (left). When you turn this, the suction plate sucks in and the cylinder becomes very firmly attached to your windscreen.

If you prefer to mount it to your dash, as long as there’s a flat bit suitable and that’s at least as big as the disk-end of the cylinder, you can stick the supplied smooth round plate of metal to it, then suction the +drive to that instead.

[In the main picture, above, you see one of the stick-on panels for your iPhone case, the +drive and the dashboard disc.]

I went for the windscreen option as my dash is curvy all over. Now my default navigation option for the last year is lying my iPhone against my speedo – it fits quite well and leans back and doesn’t, by chance, obscure the speedo since it’s in an arc above it, but a precipitous corner will dislodge it, so it’s been workable but hardly ideal. This new mount is bliss, since I just plug the charger on and snap it on. The magnet is strong! I haven’t managed to even come close to dislodging it and taking the iPhone off take a definite pull – it’s not exactly a test of your musculature but it’s very unlikely it will fall off.

If you change your mind about the positioning of the +drive, you just open the cylinder to expose the handle, twist it the other way and the whole thing should be able to be pulled off, but pulling on the tab of blue plastic that pokes out a little releases the pressure if not, and this combo should do the trick.

Magnetic attraction or not? That’s the question. Since there’s no hard drive in an iPhone, the magnet should not effect anything, and Logitech swears there will be no effect and has tested this. I certainly haven’t noticed any effect on calls or anything else.

Conclusion — Easily the best car mount system I’ve seen and/or tried. It’s modelled to go with most car interiors from the 1990s on, if aesthetics are a concern.

What’s great — Works perfectly, easily the most convenient method I’ve seen so far

What’s not — There’s limited movement through viewing angles compared to some mounts once the iPhone is on it, so ensure you put it in the right place.

Needs — drivers, although you could conceivably stick it to any window or shiny surface in your office or kitchen.

Mac NZ’s buying advice – very well designed, works perfectly: highly recommended.

REVIEW-Logitech+drive-mount3

What — Logitech +drive iPhone dashboard/windshield mount, NZ$69.90

System — Each +drive Mount comes with two universal adaptors easily placed in (or on) a slim case or directly on a smartphone for quick, secure mounting.

Contact — Your smarter smartphone accessory suppliers; Logitech NZ Ltd.

Logitech case+energy for iPhone 5/5s


REVIEW-Logitech-case+energy1

Logitech, in many ways, keeps ramping up the quality of offerings for its Apple stuff, and the latest two things I got to look at are beautifully made and well designed.

The case+energy comprises a fairly normal-style hard case for iPhone 5 or 5s with a metal back, plus a second part virtually the same size. Once the iPhone is in the normal case part of this package (it comes with two components plus a charge cable), the feel isn’t too dissimilar to the iPhone itself, uncased – firm and hard-edged, although the smooth-touch polycarbonate parts are slightly soft to the touch and feel nice. The second, and ‘back’ part of the case, houses a battery. With this on, it effectively doubles the battery life of your iPhone, and this back-case has the smooth, slightly satiny polycarbonate all over.

The hard case snaps on. It’s not that easy to remove the iPhone from it, should you want to – this takes a bit or earnest levering, as is the case with most hard cases. The case has a cutaway for the camera lens and there are others at the bottom for the earbud port, speakers and connector, plus slots on the left hand side and top for the Sleep/on-off buttons and volume and mute.

These do allow access, but they are effectively recessed in slots, so not quite as handy as those cases that add flexible buttons as par tot the case to make it easier to depress the iPhone buttons fitting underneath. But it just takes a little getting used to.

Magnetic attraction
The point of the metal back to the iPhone case half is not just its welcome strength and rigidity – it’s magnetic, which means it mounts in a snap (literally – it’s quite a strong magnet) to Logitech’s ‘+ drive’ car mount (that’s a separate review).
This spares you from putting one of the two stick-on magnetic panels that comes with that, which you can then use for other things.

Extra charge
REVIEW-Logitech-case+energy2
Once you slip the iPhone into the Lightning connector on the battery pack then snap the top of the iPhone against the clip at the top of the charger, the case-back part charges your iPhone in turn.That’s the good news. The bad news is that, thanks to the dock connector sticking out and thanks to the fact that the iPhone becomes a pretty thick unit with both cases on, it’s pretty hard to thrust it into a pocket once the case, iPhone and case-back is all mounted together into one unit. It’s slicker looking and feeling than that might sound, but I’d worry constantly about catching that stick-out connector on something. So if you don’t mind a bulky (at least twice as thick) unit and you don’t keep your iPhone in your pocket, you might like to leave the battery-back constantly on the iPhone for a double-length charge, but that’s not the intention. The intention (its called case-PLUS-energy, after all) is an accessory you can carry that helps you out if you get caught short.

You’d probably prefer (I would) to charge the battery-back separately in your bag for those long haul flights or emergencies when you can’t get near a charger, having remembered to load up some charge into it, of course, before the trip. Then put it together and there you go – at least as long again of iPhone goodness.

If you plug the included mini-USB cable into the charge-back while it’s mounted on the iPhone, it charges the iPhone first, then the spare battery in the case-back. In turn, once mounted, the battery pack recharges the iPhone. The USB end of the supplied cable goes into your standard iPhone charger wall plug, or your car charger if you have one. Of course, you can charge your iPhone and the case separately, too.

REVIEW-Logitech-case+energy3

According to Logitech, the case+energy battery pack offers your iPhone an additional 2300mAh of power – the current iPhone 5 battery has 1440mAh and iPhone 5s 1570mAh. On the back of the battery part, a little line-button, once depressed, shows green lights in series to show charge – four lights is full, one means almost empty, and these blink then solidify to show charge progress.

To get the iPhone off, the Lightning connector flexes. You put your thumb on that (there’s a video at the link below that shows you how) and bend, and the iPhone pops out of the battery cases top-clip and you take it off.

Conclusion
REVIEW-Logitech-case+energy4This is one nicely made product that could solve your charging needs, but it adds bulk if you are want to keep them together rather. I’d be a little worried about the lump at the bottom for the Lightning connector, but I don’t know how else this might have been achieved.

What’s great
A smart, well-made, nice feeling case with two awesome extras: it snaps to the +drive car mount, and it adds at least double the battery life to your iPhone 5 or 5s. That also means if you have a 5 now (as I do) and you’re considering a 5s in the future, you can hang on to this excellent case for that as well.

What’s not
Bulky (the iPhone is almost all battery anyway, so add another one and that’s what you get), and there’s that protruding Lightning lump at the bottom that catches on things.

Needs
Anyone who hates getting caught without any juice. Great for any travellers, or even those with big pockets, or perhaps heavy users who always carry their smart iOS device in a bag and don’t mind the bulk.

Mac NZ’s buying advice
I like it. This could be the answer to your prayers, but consider how you like to carry and use your iPhone.

What
Logitech iPhone 5 case+energy, NZ$129

System
iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and it comes in black or white to suit (the white one has a green dock connector), the black has grey).

Contact
Logitech NZ Ltd (and check at your favourite retailers)