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Seven Portable Bluetooth Speaker Systems, Tested And Reviewed

Logitech UE Boombox

Last but not least we have Logitech's UE Boombox. This company is no stranger to the PC space, and it's somewhat notorious for audio products with pumped-up bass.

Bundle And First Impression

We run across another sparse bundle consisting of an AC charger and some documentation. Considering the relatively high $250 price tag, it would have been nice to see some sort of carrying case to keep this pricey product protected in transport.

Logitech is good with aesthetics, and the UE Boombox is another of the company's attractive offerings. It sports a minimalist design built around a solid aluminum frame that braces the sides and curves into a carrying handle. A beige metal grille wraps over the top to cover the front and back, while a hard rubber base provides protection. Blue accents on the sides and a monogrammed UE on the front are subtle additions. It's a beautiful-looking piece of hardware. However, function irritatingly follows form. The handle doesn't leave enough space for an adult hand to wrap around without grating along the grille.

At 6.5" x 15.2" x 3.1" and 1980 grams (4.4 lbs), the UE Boombox is really only about one-third larger than Cambridge Audio's Minx Go. But the overall design and empty space below the handle project grander dimensions. Logitech's speaker could easily fit in a gym bag, but we'd be worried about scuffing that pretty aluminum finish. The enclosure plays host to two 0.5" tweeters, two 3" woofers, and four 2 5/8" passive bass radiators.

Connectivity And Controls

Inputs include a wireless Bluetooth 3.0 connection and a 3.5 mm jack for analog two-channel sound. The UE Boombox managed an impressive 11 hours of playback during our test. However, there's no USB charging port to keep your smartphone topped off. That's a little disappointing, given Logitech's asking price.

At least the UE Boombox will pair with your smartphone quickly. It's just a shame that there's no integrated microphone for hands-free calling.

Like its industrial design, the Boombox's controls are minimalist. A large touch-sensitive panel on the right controls volume. On the left, you have a power switch and Bluetooth pairing button. The combination is elegant and simple, though the option to navigate to and from songs would be nice.

Subjective Sound Analysis

Logitech's UE Boombox stands out when it comes to rip-roaring bass. That's great in an outdoor environment, where the frequencies you can feel are quickly lost. Indoors, though, the emphasis on lows becomes overpowering. The rest of the spectrum is well-represented, but the bass can be so strong as to mask everything else.

If you're into electronic dance, trance, or dubstep, this could very well be perfect. I'm not in the UE Boombox's target market, so it's really not my thing. There will be genres that just love what Logitech's speaker system is optimized for, though.

Livability And Subjective Conclusion

I respect the bass-heavy sound that Logitech's UE Boombox brings to the table, and I admire the company's high-quality materials and design. We measured a best-in-class Bluetooth range of 34 meters (more than 110 feet) before losing signal.

With all of that said, this is also the priciest speaker in our round-up. Although battery life proved ample at 11 hours, we still wish Logitech would have integrated a USB charting point for other devices. A fan of EDM might be willing to spend close to $250 on the UE Boombox's unique approach to wireless music. Others won't be so quick to pay such a premium price when other contenders include more functionality.

Logitech UE Boombox
Power:10 W RMS (AC)9 W RMS (Battery)
Maximum Volume at 30 Inches:88 dB Line-in86 dB Bluetooth
Speakers:2 x 0.5" Tweeters2 x 3" Woofers4 x 2 5/8" Passive Radiators
Impedance:10,000 ohm
Measured Outdoor Bluetooth Range:34 meters
Inputs:AC charging port3.5 mm input jack
Outputs:N/A
Controls:Volume up buttonVolume down buttonBluetooth buttonPower switch
Battery:Built-in Li-ion rechargeable battery (capacity not specified)
Running Time at 46 dB(A), 20 inches:Approx 11 hours
Dimensions:164 mm (6.5”) height386 mm (15.2”) width79 mm (3.1”) depth
Weight:1980 g (4.4 lbs)
Build Materials:Aluminum handle and edge frame, perforated metal grille, silicone rubber sides
Available Colors:Silver metallic with blue accents
Accessories:AC charger and manual
Bluetooth:Bluetooth 3.0A2DP (Audio sync-only)AVRCP (Remote control-only)
Hands-Free Phone:No
Microphone Sensitivity:N/A
NFC Pairing:No
Charging Time:<5 hours
LED Indicators:Charging and status
Warranty:Two years
Amazon.com Price Range:$238 to $250
  • vmem
    whatever happened to really popular products like jambox and solemate? they're well within your price range
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    I run a firespinning troupe. When you're practicing routines, you HAVE to have loud, clear music, because the fire tools are spinning quickly, causing a massive amount of air turbulence with the flames, creating a very, very loud roar.

    In order to practice a routine with perhaps five other people on stage, you have to be able to hear the music to know where you are in the routine - otherwise someone might move too early or not move, and, well... bad things would happen.

    When I founded the club, I was looking at all sorts of options; what I really wanted was a shop boombox, but they were expensive and didn't have the battery life I needed for practice... and couldn't be plugged in because you practice outside.

    After reading a lot of reviews, I got the UE boombox. It has several features that were incredibly useful to me - most notable the fact that it could store three bluetooth profiles AND connect through a normal 3.5mm jack - that way we didn't have to just use my music collection, but could use other members' as well without them having to mail me the files.

    Solutions we tried to use before was an iHome system, which didn't come close to having enough volume, and an old CD boombox... which worked fine, except the CDs got worn out pretty quickly as they were outdoors, and it was limiting on what music we could use - we had to have it beforehand.

    So I got this UE boombox, and it was perfect. It doesn't have THE sharpest sound in the world, but it doesn't have distortion with everything turned to max volume, and it has solid base (so you can hear the beat clearly) and good battery life.

    For anything requiring outdoor music that has to carry well or be particularly well, I highly, highly recommend the UE Boombox. (It would work perfectly for, say, a beach party, or something like that.)
    Reply
  • lp231
    i was hoping you guys would also include the Creative Airwave.
    http://us.store.creative.com/B00COIHWVG/M/B00COIHWVG.htm
    Reply
  • thesuperguy
    The problem with this review is that they are basing their recommendations on the purely technical aspects that in the end, really don't contribute to sound quality. Ranking them based on features, range, and maximum volume is fine and all, but frequency range is not an indicator of quality. It is a very subjective thing.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    12155233 said:
    The problem with this review is that they are basing their recommendations on the purely technical aspects that in the end, really don't contribute to sound quality. Ranking them based on features, range, and maximum volume is fine and all, but frequency range is not an indicator of quality. It is a very subjective thing.

    That's not true, sound quality is foremost when it comes to factors that contribute to our final recommendations.

    Both subjective and objective measures of sound quality were taken into account.
    We can't chart subjective sound quality but that doesn't mean you should assume it's unimportant. It's a huge part of the analysis.

    Reply
  • cleeve
    12154939 said:
    i was hoping you guys would also include the Creative Airwave.
    http://us.store.creative.com/B00COIHWVG/M/B00COIHWVG.htm

    We asked Creative for a sample and they declined to answer.
    Reply
  • boogalooelectric
    I just bought one of these for $20 from Monoprice

    http://www.monoprice.com/Product?ab3=b&utm_expid=58369800-11.KFcpHWqASSutMqNPOqaJVg.1&c_id=108&cp_id=10827&cs_id=1082704&p_id=7364&seq=1&format=2&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.monoprice.com%2FCategory%3Fc_id%3D120%26cp_id%3D10827

    I hooked them up to a pair of old cambridge soundworks 2.1 speakers and voila I have bluetooth speakers.

    Monoprice has another for $45 that can also do NFC.

    Also where is the JBL3
    Reply
  • lp231
    12155607 said:
    12154939 said:
    i was hoping you guys would also include the Creative Airwave.
    http://us.store.creative.com/B00COIHWVG/M/B00COIHWVG.htm

    We asked Creative for a sample and they declined to answer.

    I went to this shopping center one time and one of electronic stores has it on demo. It doesn't sound too bad, quite good actually, was about to get it, but its price was a bit steep during that time.
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    12156054 said:
    I hooked them up to a pair of old cambridge soundworks 2.1 speakers and voila I have bluetooth speakers.

    Monoprice has another for $45 that can also do NFC.

    I've got an NFC/bluetooth receiver for my stereo system as well. The trouble with that is that it requires two wall outlets to run - the idea behind these is you can take and use them anywhere. (I would consider them bluetooth boomboxes, rather than speaker systems.)

    Reply
  • TunaSoda
    My Bose Soundlink Mini blows all of those away for sound quality
    Reply