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Hands on... Logitech Wireless Travel Speaker

As student in the 1990s, I had a part-time job selling hi-fi systems on the high street.

Speaker technology was simple then. Every system had two speakers. Every speaker had wires connecting it to an amp and from there on to a CD player or turntable. And that was all there was to it.

Fast forward 15 years and things have changed a lot.

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Spurred on by the explosion of mobile phones and MP3 players, speakers are now available in a bewildering array of configurations -- wired and wireless, mains and battery powered, some with iPod docks and others featuring Bluetooth technology.

The latest wireless speaker from Logitech, the z515, crams in more features than most. This travel speaker system can run for up to 10 hours off its built-in rechargeable battery while the mains adaptor comes with plugs for most sockets around the world.

Connection options are a strong point on this unit. Hidden behind the sturdy rear stand is a removable USB stick. Plugged into a laptop, this USB stick creates a high quality wireless audio link. Set-up is fast, automatic and worked flawlessly in my testing.

Devices without a USB socket -- like an iPhone or iPad -- aren’t left out either. The speaker includes an alternative Bluetooth wireless option, so simply select the Z515 from the Bluetooth device list on your phone and you’ll be up and running in seconds.

Finally, other MP3 players -- and even old cassette players -- can be connected to the speaker via an included headphone jack cable.

The Z515 is a very well-built unit. Light but sturdy, it feels perfectly designed for a life on the road whether kept in its protective carry case or not. Sound quality is good and it’s more than up to the task of filling a bedroom, meeting room or small garden with clear, distortion-free sound.

The z515 has a lot to recommend it technically and sonically, but i’m still wondering: what, exactly, is it for?

For listening to music, there are better sounding speaker docks available for less money. For watching movies, the sound from the z515 is pleasing but dialogue feels strangely disconnected when coming from a speaker several feet away. And for garden parties, it’s a nice trick to wirelessly stream music from the phone in your pocket, but nip inside for a drink and the music stops for everyone.

Logitech Wireless Speaker Z515 - £89.99 Stars: 4/5

Positives: Flexible connection options, well built and decent sound quality. Negatives: I’m still not sure why I’d need one.

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