Logitech UE Mobile Boombox review: Logitech UE Mobile Boombox

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Logitech UE Mobile Boombox is a very compact Bluetooth speaker that has a built-in rechargeable battery, speakerphone capabilities, a line input, and ruggedized design. It sounds good for its tiny size.

The Bad The Mobile Boombox just can't produce a ton of bass.

The Bottom Line The Logitech UE Mobile Boombox sports an improved design and slightly better sound than last year's Mini Boombox -- for the same price.

7.4 Overall
  • Performance 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Design 8.0

I liked the Mini Boombox, Logitech's first attempt at a tiny portable Bluetooth speaker. I said that it did exactly the same thing as the $175 Jawbone Jambox, and while it didn't do it quite as well -- and wasn't as attractive -- it only cost half as much.

Now, under its Ultimate Ears brand, Logitech has put out a sequel to that product, the UE Mobile Boombox. Fundamentally, it's a very similar speaker, but the engineers have made some design improvements and slightly improved the sound while leaving the list price unchanged at $99.99.

Better design
The Mobile Boombox is smaller than the Jambox and weighs in 10.5 ounces (298g). It's easy enough to stow in a bag or backpack and it's obviously small enough to easily tote out to the patio, pool, or beach (it really is quite small). It makes for an excellent travel companion.

While the earlier Mini Boombox had touch-sensitive buttons on the top of speaker and a glossy exterior, the Mobile Boombox has a rubberized, more rugged casing, and standard buttons on the top of the device. It comes in a few different colors (I tried the black version) and has an auxiliary input for plugging in audio devices that aren't Bluetooth-enabled (you'll have to supply the cable, however).

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The UE Mobile Boombox has a streamlined, more rugged look and feel. Sarah Tew/CNET

One of the reasons behind the rubberized design is that some people complained that when you fed the Mini Boombox bass-heavy material and pumped up its volume, it had a tendency to vibrate and move around, even though it had little rubber feet.

The truth is that these little speakers aren't really designed to be cranked up and belt out big booming sound. They can play loud for their size and fill a small room with sound, but they tend to sound best at 6-8 on the volume scale rather than at 10. They also offer virtually no stereo separation since their internal drivers are crammed so close together.

Around back you'll find the power switch, a Micro-USB port for charging the unit (a cable and power adapter are included, but any standard cell phone charger should work), and the aforementioned auxiliary input.

Logitech has simplified the button layout on top of the unit. There's volume up/down buttons, plus a Bluetooth button to set up pairing.

Pairing the speaker was simple enough: you just press the Bluetooth icon on top of the unit and search for Bluetooth devices on your phone or tablet from within the Bluetooth menu. Once it connects, you're ready to start streaming music or a movie soundtrack to the speaker.

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