Pros: Inexpensive, stylish design, decent bass, wired remote included
Cons: Appalling quality control, crackling at high volumes, artifacts and distortion during normal use
In this day of age, few notebooks output the satisfying boom and crisp sound our eardrums love. Many people will be seen using a nice headset, while others who keep their notebook on the desk have a nice 2.1 system. However, most people I’ve seen tend to spend about $50, and in many cases, a lot more on a speaker system. But how about those who don’t feel the need for top notch audio quality, and wouldn’t ever think about spending $50 or more? Let’s say they want to spend around $20. I know some of you are thinking, “$20 speakers? That’s fine if you want to hear system sounds.” But, let’s just say the Logitech S-220 set is no ordinary $20 set.
Logitech S-220 Specifications
• Speaker Type: 2.1 System
• Total RMS power: 17 W
• -Satellites: 8 W (4 W each)
• -Subwoofer: 9 W
• Total peak power: 34 W
• Remote: Wired
• 3.5 mm headphone and 3.5 mm microphone jacks
• 3 year warranty
• Two satellite speakers
• 4” Subwoofer
• Wired Remote
• Setup Guide
Reasons for Purchase
First and foremost, I’d like to say that these were actually purchased for my desktop to replace the 2.0 set that died on me. However, I have used it quite a few times with my notebook, but I usually rely on a headset for it. So, I was in the situation in which I just needed speakers. But this time, I wanted something cheap (~$20) with decent audio performance. After looking through some user reviews and speakers in this price range, I found the Logitech S-220 at Newegg for $20.99 with free shipping. A solid price if you ask me; and based on reviews, it seemed light years ahead of some other speakers that cost even more. So, I decided to go for it. Worst case scenario would be that it would only be a little better than my old one.
The speakers arrived in a Logitech OEM box. A simple brown box with Logitech logos and the phrase, “Make it a better PC™.” At this point I didn’t know what to expect, until I started unpacking. First came the satellites. Their small design and piano black finish immediately grabbed my attention. They were smaller, and much lighter than I had expected. Then came the subwoofer. A little larger than I thought, but overall, it seemed pretty decent. The wired remote seemed like a nice touch with an on/off switch, volume control, and a set of headphone and microphone jacks. Prior to setting it up, the design was very appealing. The sleek design and glossy piano black of the satellites was the highlight, with the compact subwoofer complimenting them. The remote also looked nice, but the quality of the volume dial isn’t anything impressive and the small power switch can be annoying. However, the one thing I immediately noticed with the speakers was the relatively short wiring.
Build and Design
This set includes two satellite speakers, a subwoofer, and a wired remote. The satellite speakers are relatively light and very stylish. The build and feel of it is superior to most speakers in this price range. The subwoofer is even better. It’s relatively compact but also hefty for what it is. The piano black accents allow it to complement the satellite speakers. The wired remote that comes with it is also glossy black with a large volume dial taking over the top, a small on/off switch on the side, a headphone and microphone jack, and a status LED. Unlike the speakers, though, this remote feels extremely cheap. The power switch is fragile and the volume dial is destined to come off. The headphone jack is also a tight fit and the volume dial doesn’t have an effect on the volume of the jack. Another drawback is the poor wiring design. The subwoofer, wired remote, and power cord are all permanently wired to each other. The two satellite speakers share the same wire that connects to the subwoofer and the remote connects to the audio source. This rather unintuitive setup combined with short wiring makes for an uninspiring arrangement. Positioning and wire management are not the strong points.
Alright, let’s start with something most inexpensive speakers lack, bass. The Logitech S-220 is a full 2.1 system in the price range of a 2.0 stereo set and comes with a 4” subwoofer. In a small room, it does its job. Be it an explosion in a game or the thunder in a movie, the little subwoofer creates the boom that other sets in this price range are deprived of. It definitely won’t match up to more expensive sets, but in compact spaces, it’s hard to beat for the money. That said; any audiophile will want some more from the lows, but then again most audiophiles would be spending more. As for the satellite speakers, they are above average for the price. The middles are relatively clear but the highs are rather fuzzy but bearable for normal use.
However, all of this does sound good, but sadly, the system is flawed. First of all, the first day I had these speakers, both the left and the right were outputting a balanced amount of audio. However, the next day, the right speaker would be outputting all the audio and the left would only have a hint of sound coming out. The first thing I did was adjust the balance and that fixed it, until the next day when the left one started outputting more audio, so to fix that I brought the balance back to the middle. The second problem is that this set picks up a lot of static. I have a lot of interference in my room thanks to various devices, and that doesn’t help because these speakers pick it all up. For many forms of music, the static isn’t very noticeable; however, in some scenarios (rock music especially), it ruins the experience. You can blame the poor wiring and subpar connections for this. For example, I later found that if the balance is off, you have to simply go to your subwoofer, and tinker with the 3.5 mm connector that connects the satellite speakers, and you’ll eventually have audio from both speakers once contact is made. Finally, these speakers can get loud, but you’re not going to go over 85% of the volume, and for a good reason. Once you reach that point, the speakers start to crackle to a point where it’s unusable for any form of audio, minus system sounds, and even that is lackluster. If you’re in a small room, this obviously won’t be a problem, but if you plan on pumping out loud music in a large area, these won’t do. The most worrying thing about this set, though, is the deterioration of quality. Out of the box, these sounded excellent for the money and very satisfying. However, after months of use, the drop in quality is obvious. As of now, the subwoofer often drones the satellites, and the satellites exhibit severe hissing. The unfortunate truth is that the speakers themselves aren’t that bad, but the wiring is horrid.
So, why should anyone buy these? Their quality control is dreadful and they have a number of spontaneous issues. Well, simple reason, you really can’t get much better for $20. When this setup is performing correctly, it’s actually comparable to sets that cost twice as much. Based on comments from other owners, these are hit or miss. However, most who buy these don’t usually mind the faults. After all, it is a bargain and the bass can’t be beaten at this price. But here’s a thought. These speakers deteriorate over time just like other inexpensive sets. So, it may be better to spend another $20 and buy something that is guaranteed to last much longer.