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Logitech UE Boombox review

Kat Orphanides
11 Apr 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
200
inc VAT

The Boombox sounds okay for a portable speaker, but costs more than it should

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We've generally been impressed by the products in Logitech's UE range, from the Ultimate Ears headphones that originated the brand to the Squeezebox-derived UE radio. The UE Boombox shares the good build quality and thoughtful design of the range, but it doesn’t look like our mental image of a boombox.

A handle and a quoted six-hour battery life make it eminently portable, and it's small and light enough to enjoy in the garden or at outdoor events. Unlike the UE Smart Radio, the Boombox can't stream music from local or online sources. Instead, you'll have to connect an audio source via a 3.5mm port or Bluetooth.

Logitech UE Boombox

Bluetooth is the natural choice for a portable speaker because all you need to play audio is a mobile phone. However, we were disappointed to find that the Boombox only supports the standard A2DP Bluetooth audio standard, which uses lossy compression when it transmits audio, as opposed to the AptX standard, which is lossless. However, there was little to no audible difference in most of our test tracks in this case. However, audio quality in general didn’t quite match the Boombox's price.

The Boombox has eight separate drivers. As well as the two woofers and two tweeters you'd expect in a stereo speaker setup, there are also four passive drivers. These are secondary cones that move in response to changes in air pressure generated by the active drivers, and should produce a fuller sound at low frequencies.

There's certainly plenty of bass, which particularly complements the vibrant bass work and complex drumming of rock and metal, but treble and upper-mid-range sounds were often a little muddy. Surprisingly for a compact speaker, the sound’s fairly wide, and isn’t limited to a single sweet spot. The Boombox can output plenty of volume, but at full volume, high frequency sounds became extremely harsh. At lower volumes, the mid-range was more prominent.

Logitech UE Boombox

With nothing playing through it, the speaker produced a noticeable hiss; this occurred regardless of whether it was plugged into the mains, running off batteries, paired with a Bluetooth device or connected to a wired audio source. It's always present, but is quiet enough to be drowned out when playing music.

There's a lot competition between wireless speaker manufacturers at the moment, but there's not a great deal to choose between many of them in terms of sound quality. However, the Soundfreaq Sound Step Recharge costs less and has more features.

Specifications

Rating**
Speaker configuration2.0
RMS power output10W
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on5W
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo
Digital inputsBluetooth
Dock connectornone
Headphone outputnone
Satellite cable lengthsnone
Cable typenone
Controls locatedmain unit
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsnone
Price£200
Supplierhttp://www.currys.co.uk
Detailshttp://ue.logitech.com/

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