You've probably heard of the Swiss company Logitech, but what's Logitech UE? Well, UE (Ultimate Ears) is a company that used to specialise in designing high-end In-Ear Monitors. In 2008 they were purchased by Logitech and in 2012 they started releasing Earphones, Pro Earphones, Headphones, Smart Radios and Wireless Speakers under the name Logitech UE. They currently sell three Wireless Speakers, and the Boombox is their top-of-the-range Portable model.
The Logitech UE Boombox comes beautifully packaged in a large (43.2 x 23.1 x 12.6 cm) black box. The top of the box lifts off (just like an iPhone box) to reveal the following five items:
- Logitech UE Boombox (S-00124)
- AC Power Supply (EFS02401200200CE)
- UK & European Power Plugs
- Setup Guide (6 pages of English)
- Logitech Important Information: Safety, Compliance and Warranty
Taking the Boombox out of its packaging was, for me, a "wow" moment. At 38.6 x 16.4 x 7.9 cm, I didn't expect it to be so long and I didn't expect it to look so stylish and be so well engineered. With its streamlined simplicity and rounded corners, its design was clearly inspired by Dieter Rams, and therefore complements any Apple products you might have. The metal speaker grill wraps around the Boombox like the foil of an electric shaver, and the sculpted die-cast aluminium handle looks and feels beautiful. The problem is, while the handle makes the Boombox easy to pick up, the 2 cm space left for your fingers is very tight, putting pressure on your knuckles. Also, the Boombox is very heavy. Weighing a whopping 1980 g, almost six times as much as the Jawbone JAMBOX, it's not something you're going to want to "roam" around with.
The two sides of the Boombox are capped off with smart blue plastic. The entire right side functions as a comically large (5.8 x 10.7 cm) volume switch, although there's no indication of what the current volume level is. The left side contains a Power port, a 3.5 mm Audio jack, a Power on/off switch with a green LED light, and a Bluetooth button surrounded by a blue LED light.
The Boombox can be connected wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet, computer or even TV, via Bluetooth with A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). It can remember up to eight Bluetooth devices and can be connected to up to three of them simultaneously. To make the initial connection, you'll need to pair your device with the Boombox. Here's how:
- Slide the Power on/off switch up to turn the Boombox on
- The green LED light will come on steady and the blue LED light will blink rapidly
- On your device (e.g. iPhone), tap on Settings, tap on Bluetooth and turn Bluetooth on
- After a few seconds "UE Boombox" should appear in the list of Devices
- Tap on "UE Boombox" and "Not Connected" will change to "Connected"
- Any audio you now play on your iPhone will come out of the Boombox
- Tapping any AirPlay icon on your iPhone, and tapping "iPhone", will disconnect it from the Boombox
So how does it sound? In a word, big! This is a powerful bit of kit that delivers high-quality sound via its eight custom-tuned drivers (two 0.5" tweeters, two 3" woofers and four 2.75" passive radiators). Vocals are incredibly clear and precise and the bass is deliciously deep and energetic. Due to the lack of indication of volume level, I'm not entirely sure how loud the Boombox will go, but it's definitely capable of creating an instant party atmosphere (i.e. you have to shout to be heard over it). That said, I did encounter a couple of problems. Firstly, because all the drivers are so close together, you don't get much stereo separation. And secondly, during my tests I experienced four Bluetooth glitches that resulted in gaps in my music. While these may have been the fault of my device (an iPhone 4S running iOS 6) it made me question just how reliable the Boombox really is.
My Boombox arrived from Amazon partially charged, so I was able to listen to it for around 30 minutes before it died on me. Logitech UE don't make it entirely clear whether the product takes AA batteries or not. I wasn't sure myself until I undid the single Phillips screw on the bottom of the Boombox, which revealed a rechargeable Li-ion battery (No. DGYF001). While this single battery can be removed and ultimately replaced, it was clearly designed as a fixed, permanent solution. The high (2150 mAh) capacity of the battery means you can listen to the Boombox for six hours before recharging it. The problem is, there's no way of checking the remaining charge, or any warning when the battery is empty and needs recharging!
Overall, I think the Logitech UE Boombox is a great product. It's an object of beauty that looks and feels expensive, with the sonic power to literally make your floor bounce. While I'm not sold on its "portability", I think the Boombox is the perfect 2012 Hi-Fi.