The Logitech Z533 makes for a good stereo vs 2.1 comparison when lined up against the Creative T20. Priced at roughly the same level, the Z533 also represents a step two up from entry-level speaker systems, offering good design, build quality, features and performance, but with a slightly different audio style.
It’s a great-looking speaker set. Available in white or black, the satellites are finished in glossy plastic and each has a single, exposed 2.6in gold-coloured driver. It would be good to have the option of a cloth cover for the fronts, but at least this way you don’t end up with unsightly mounting points when the cover is removed. Each of the satellites measures just 170 x 100 x 85mm.
Meanwhile, the substantial subwoofer has a tough matt plastic finish and a full cloth covering over the 5.25in driver. It’s also ported on the side. Measuring 265 x 255 x 195mm, it’s slightly larger than the Creative Kratos S3’s subwoofer, but it’s designed in such a way that its longest sides lay flat against the wall rather than facing forwards, so it’s easier to stow away than the subs of the other speakers on test.
A neat extra that comes with the Z533 is a good-quality, wired remote, which incorporates a large volume/power wheel and a bass dial, plus 3.5mm headphone and aux input sockets. The top section rotates to turn the speakers on and adjust volume, providing a satisfyingly tactile adjustment method. Plus, the whole unit is solidly built and weighty – you don’t need to stick it to your desk to prevent it from sliding off.
All other connections are handled by the subwoofer, which has a pair of phono inputs and a 3.5mm jack socket for the main audio input. Alongside these sockets is another pair of phono sockets for connecting the satellite speakers. It’s a plus point that the satellites aren’t tethered directly to the subwoofer, but sadly you can’t unplug the cable at the satellite end, so it’s still not replaceable if it gets broken.
Similarly, the cable for the remote is completely tethered, although thankfully the power cable is the standard figure-of-eight plug. All told, it’s a feature set that feels about right for the price of these speakers, and the same could be said of sound quality.
As with the Creative Gigaworks T20, there’s a clear step up in detail and clarity over cheaper sets of 2.1 speakers. Whether you’re listening to music, watching a film or gaming, it’s an improvement that will be noticeable and appreciated. Unlike a stereo set, though, you get a powerful but controlled bass thump from that subwoofer. It’s quite a modest hit with the bass dial on the remote set to its middle position, and dialling it back further makes for a particularly weedy sound. Crank it up, though, and you get the a solid thump that will keep most people happy.
As with other 2.1 systems, it’s the midrange frequencies that are left a little wanting by the Z533. There’s a lack of warmth to certain music, with the satellites sounding a little shrill and the sub a little too boomy, and neither quite doing the middle frequencies justice. As such, if you’re more into rock, indie, and other guitar and piano-driven music, the T20 will be more appropriate for daily music listening. For games and movies, though, the Z533 offers a decent sound with solid bass.
The Logitech Z533 is a good all-round 2.1 speaker system. It’s attractively designed, well built, has a useful set of features and provides sound quality that justifies its price. Better quality can be bought for more money, of course, but if you want a decent 2.1 speaker set for games and movies, and don’t have hundreds of pounds to spend, the Z533 will serve you well.