Review: Logitech UE Boombox Series

The Logitech UE Boombox & Mobile Boombox

The Logitech UE Boombox & Mobile Boombox

The Logitech UE series stems from Logitech’s acquisition of the Ultimate Ears in 2008. Ultimate Ears were known for their excellent custom made earphones. However, Logitech has expanded the UE range with the Boombox series. I was sent both Boomboxes – the UE Boombox and the UE Mobile Boombox for review and tested them over the course of 3 weeks. I was first taken aback by the prices as the Boombox will set you back by S$399 and the Mobile Boombox fetches S$149. Running these through my audiophile dad put things in perspective. I was told that good lightweight speakers at these prices are considered a steal. The big question would be if they could perform.

 

 

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox

The Mobile Boombox: Both a speaker and a speakerphone.

The Mobile Boombox: Both a speaker and a speakerphone.

Design

The UE Mobile Boombox is the smaller of the two. It is battery powered and its small size makes it really easy to carry around. Featuring metallic speaker grilles on both sides, the Mobile Boombox is encased with a rubbery plastic. The non slip surface makes this small speaker ideal for outdoor usage. Also, the soft surface provides some degree of shock protection.

Only three controls are needed for this speaker – volume up, volume down and bluetooth pairing. These are located at the top of the speaker. The on/off switch together with the micro USB charging and 3.5 mm audio inputs are located at the back. Logitech has provided a USB power adapter with 2 switchable pin options which is a nice touch. Nonetheless, you will probably end up using just one. The USB cable is detachable from the adapter meaning you can charge this or keep this powered via the USB port of you computer.

 

The design of the UE Mobile Boombox is excellent. It is light, feels solid and looks great.

 

The design of the UE Mobile Boombox is excellent. Logitech has got the proportions, curves and placement of embedded controls right. It is light, feels solid and looks great. The Mobile Boombox comes in a host of color combinations – white/white, green/black, red/black, black/black and blue/white (as seen in this review).

Located on the back: Power switch, charging and 3.5 mm inputs. Charging accessories included.

Located on the back: Power switch, charging and 3.5 mm inputs. Charging accessories included.

 

Audio Performance

The main point of sinking S$149 into this box is for this tiny speaker to deliver great sound. I must say that the Mobile Boombox does not disappoint. I was astounded by the speaker’s ability to fill an entire small room with sound. At its highest volume, there was no discernible distortion.

It handled the mids and highs very well, producing clear and crisp sound from a variety of music tracks. The UE Mobile Boombox was tested with 96kHz/24bit FLAC files via the 3.5 mm port and 320kbps MP3 files via Bluetooth from my HTC One X. Music files included vocals, instrumentals, orchestral pieces, rock and metal. On top of that, some podcasts / radio channels were played as well. The Mobile Boombox handled everything without a hitch.

The only weakness is probably a rather light bass. But for a speaker of this size, that can be easily forgiven. A solid base requires certain dimensions and my dad quipped that the bass in this box was as good one would get in this tiny size.

The technical specs of this tiny speaker are as follows:

  • Maximum Sound Level: 78dBA
  • Frequency Range: 150 Hz – 18 kHz
  • Drivers: Two 1″ Full-range drivers

I believe both drivers are facing forwards as the audio from the front of the speaker is very much different from one at the back. The design of the Mobile Boombox may have you believe it is omni directional but this is not true. There is a distinct front and back.

Battery life was good. It needed only 2 full recharges in over 35 hours of playback. However, this will vary according to volume, temperature, etc. Nonetheless, you won’t find yourself having to recharge this often.

The Mobile Boombox also acts as a speaker phone. My case use scenario for the boombox was having it connected to my docked One X. Having music playing and taking calls made this a really nice companion for my phone.

 

It delivers for more than its price and is the best sounding tiny speaker I have come across.

 

I am amazed by the performance of the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox. It delivers for more than its price and is the best sounding tiny speaker I have come across. If you are picky on audio quality and need a portable handy speaker, the Mobile Boombox will tick all the boxes.

 

 

Logitech UE Boombox

The UE Boombox: Links with 8 bluetooth devices simultaneously.

The UE Boombox: A bigger box but does it yield greater performance?

Design

The Logitech UE Boombox is the much larger brother of the mobile variant. It is encased in aluminum  creating a flush finish between body, speaker grilles and handle. The Boombox looks exactly as its name allowing you to carry it with you. The handle is useful as the speaker does weigh quite a bit at nearly 2kg.

The Boombox features the exact same inputs and controls as the mobile version. The power switch, bluetooth pairing button and 3.5 mm input jack is located on the left while volume controls are on the right. Like the mobile boombox, this also allows connection up to 8 bluetooth devices with simultaneous playback from 3 devices at one time. I have only 3 bluetooth devices at home but can confirm the latter. This makes the boombox a great device for small parties and picnics where guests can play their tunes over the same box.

The boombox comes with a specific charger and must be charged from a wall socket. This is acceptable as a battery of this size will take hours if USB is used instead.

The design of the UE Boombox is rather retro. If you like the feel and look of traditional boomboxes, you will take to this modernized version quickly. It is sleek and pleasing to the eye. The boombox will not look out of place when bringing this out for social gatherings.

 

If you like the feel and look of traditional boomboxes, you will take to this modernized version quickly.

 

 

Audio Performance

The much larger boombox also comes at a much larger price. Here is what S$399 buys you. (Note that dBc is more a suitable measure of high sound levels as compared to dBA):

  • Maximum Sound Level: 102dBC
  • Frequency Range: 55 – 20kHz
  • Drivers: Two 0.5″ Tweeters, Two 3″ Woofers, Four 2 5/8″ Passive Radiators

After listening to the Mobile Boombox, I had high expectations on the full sized Boombox. I was not disappointed. An early indicator of sound quality was the starting up chime. It was deep, rich and full. The same battery of tests were used on the Boombox. I personally tested the box for over 12 hours of playback. My mom took a great liking to the device and had it placed in the kitchen, playing tunes off her Galaxy S2. The total testing time is over 72 hours.

The UE Boombox is like a super-sized version of the Mobile Boombox in audio performance. It filled the living room effortlessly, again without distortion even at maximum volumes. While the highs and mids were just as good as the mobile boombox, the bass had a lot more oomph and this could be attributed to the two 3″ woofers the boombox has.

In many ways, the UE Boombox out-performed a number of PC desktop speakers we had at home. For what seems to be a compact single form factor speaker, it was able to bring out good sound staging and the omni-directional build allowed expansive range. This box will handily beat many 2.1 PC setups out there. The only PC speaker setup at home that outperformed the Boombox was my 5.1 setup but that wasn’t really fair.

 

This box will handily beat many 2.1 PC setups out there.

 

The UE Boombox is advertised to have 6 hours of battery life. In my tests, the battery life hovered around 5.5 hours which is adequate for a single outdoor use. There is only a single color scheme available – silver and blue as seen in this review.

 

 

Conclusion

I was initially taken aback by what I felt were very high prices on 2 portable speakers. After hours of using both of them, I’ve come away impressed and very surprised by the quality of both the audio performance and design of the two boomboxes.

The last thing I would have expected to say is that the Boombox and the Mobile Boombox are value for money at its price points. But they are. In a sense, my ears have been spoiled by these 2 devices for the past 2-3 weeks. If you want exquisite sound performance in a great looking portable product, the Logitech UE Boombox series is the answer.

 

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