Mystery shopper: Watford

John Lewis was the star store this month
Publish date:

Famous for its local football club, Watford also boasts a large shopping centre and a busy High Street. However, is it the right place to find a set of portable laptop speakers with a budget of £50? Our Mystery Shopper finds out…

Currys 5/10

After walking around the store for a few minutes, I couldn’t seem to locate the speakers for laptops.

I decided to ask a staff member for their whereabouts, and he pointed me in the direction of some speakers. That was the extent of his help at this point. After looking at the range for a few more minutes, I asked the same staff member for further assistance.I told him I was looking for some portable speakers for my laptop, and he pointed to a pair of speakers for £6.99.

Unfortunately he didn’t offer me any more options, so I had to prompt him about wireless speakers and whether Currys stocked any.

He then took me around to the front of the store where a range of wireless Bluetooth speakers were on display, including devices from Beats and Jam. The Jam Touch speaker for £24.99 was within my budget. After informing me I would be able to connect the speakers to other devices as most of them include a jack input, the assistant left me. 

PC World 6/10

It was very easy to find the speaker range within PC World. Disappointingly, when I got there the majority of staff members were busy with other customers.

After waiting a few minutes, a female assistant passed by and I asked her which speaker would be best for a laptop.

Her reply was very honest, as she told me she didn’t know a lot about speakers. Instead, she did tell me that the higher the voltage was, then the better sound quality the speaker would have. She then proceeded to point out which speakers would be best for me.

The assistant checked which speakers were in stock and unfortunately there were not many, so she whisked me over to the wireless range.

There was plenty on offer, including speakers from Beats, which were priced at £159, way out of my price range. There was also a portable Bluetooth speaker from Goji for £12.99, which was something I could afford.

With no pressure to buy, I was left to browse the selection on offer. 

Maplin 6/10

I was greeted by a warm smile as I entered the store. I proceeded to wander around the shop floor looking at the different tech products Maplin had to offer.

I then asked one of the shop assistants to show me their range of laptop speakers. After informing me that the store didn’t have a very large selection, the assistant recommended the Logitech Z50 for £14.39 and the Logitech Z120 for £14.99. The assistant explained that these speakers would work well with a laptop as they are portable, plus she mentioned that she also uses these herself and revealed the sound quality was good.

Even though the assistant did praise the cheap pricing of each product, she did not pressure me into buying.

After showing me this selection of products, the assistant mentioned that there were a few Bluetooth enabled speakers, which she felt may be useful for a laptop since they had no wires and were a little more portable.

She then went off to help some other customers.

John Lewis 9/10 Star Store

The technology department was very impressive at John Lewis and I had no trouble finding the speakers.

I noticed a staff member and asked for some advice on the range, but he wasn’t sure what to recommend and asked another assistant to help me out.

The second assistant asked what laptop I had and whether I wanted something portable. He then showed me the Logitech range of speakers, which was within my price range, but advised that I may need something a little smaller. He then showed me the Sony SRS-X2 Bluetooth NFC wireless speaker for £69.99.

He told me this had a battery built-in and that it would last longer, plus, I could connect it up to my laptop without the need of any wires. He then asked whether I would like to try it out and connected my smartphone via NFC so I could hear a track play.

After discussing the specs of the product (which was out of my budget), the assistant left me to decide.

HMV 7/10

The store was bustling with energy as I walked in, with customers browsing the range of CDs and DVDs.

The speaker selection wasn’t very crowded as I made my way over, although I did have to wait a while until the shop assistant was free to help me.

He asked me what speakers I was interested in and what I wanted them for. He then suggested that the Jam Classic would be a suitable option for £19.99 as it was in my price range. He explained that the speaker, in his opinion, was the top of the range for portable Bluetooth speakers, as many others sound quite tinny.

He then played a track on the speaker for me to hear and said that it would be very simple to sync the device up to my laptop via a Bluetooth connection. He also suggested that if I wanted to spend a little more, then the Jam Plus for £59.99 would be a suitable alternative.

After playing another track for me to hear, he asked if I needed anything else then left me to decide.

Tesco 7/10

I thought that Tesco would have a great range of technology products and it didn’t disappoint. Once I found the laptop speakers, I waited until the shop assistant was free.

I asked him what speakers would be best for a laptop. The assistant told me the Logitech Z313 for £39.99 would provide quality sound as the system includes a subwoofer, he also noted that a system wouldn’t be portable enough for a laptop. He then suggested I have a look at the wireless range and showed me the various speakers on offer. After I told him that I was looking for something under £50, he started to browse the selection of products.

He suggested that Tesco’s own Bluetooth speaker for £16 would be suitable as it was in my price range. He also explained that I could take it home and listen to the sound quality and bring it back if I wasn’t satisfied.

He also pointed out the range of Jam speakers, which were affordable and available in a few colours.


Portable devices are becoming more popular among customers as they take their laptops to work, a café or elsewhere, so I was pleased to see that each store stocked portable speakers.

The assistants from Currys and PC World were surprisingly the ones that knew least about laptop speakers, which was disappointing.

However, I was impressed with HMV’s store assistant’s knowledge and opinion, plus he also played some music on the speakers so I could listen to the sound quality. Equally, the assistant I spoke with in Maplin offered me her opinion on which speaker to choose.

The store assistant I spoke with in Tesco took into account my budget and selected a low-priced device for me to try. I also appreciated the fact that he informed me of the returns policy, giving me the option to try out the speakers at home.

However, overall the customer service and knowledge the store assistant demonstrated in John Lewis was particularly impressive, making them this month’s star store.



Mystery Shopper: Bedford

Bedford has produced a variety of prominent figures from Ronnie Barker to John Bunyan and even Page 3’s Lacey Banghard. But how capable is it of providing decent security software? Our Mystery Shopper hunts for the best anti-virus product for less than £50


Mystery Shopper: Oxford

Will Oxford’s impressive legacy be matched by its retailers’ selection of speakers? Our Mystery Shopper finds out…