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Logitech UE Boombox review: Logitech UE Boombox

The Logitech UE Boombox's eight powerful internal drivers and timeless architecture score top marks for the first product bearing the company's collaborative moniker.

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Justin Yu
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Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals

Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.

4 min read

The $250 Logitech UE Boombox is certainly under a lot of pressure to perform, being one of the first speakers systems to bear the company's joint moniker after Logitech acquired Ultimate Ears back in 2008. Its nomenclature is similar to the Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad's, but the company retooled the hardware from the ground up to support eight internal drivers and a sophisticated new appearance that borrows aesthetics from legendary designers Dieter Rams and Jonathan Ive. Its sculpted construction, logical simplicity, and booming sound earn this device a solid recommendation for music lovers shopping for an audio solution to use in and out of the home.

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8.3

Logitech UE Boombox

The Good

Stripped of all superfluous features, the <b>Logitech UE Boombox</b> gives a respectful nod to designers Rams and Ive, while an easy-to-use Bluetooth connection powers the speaker's impressive sound output.

The Bad

Though its rechargeable battery and integrated carrying handle encourage portability, the company mysteriously leaves out a travel case to protect it from dings and scratches while in transit.

The Bottom Line

The Logitech UE Boombox's eight powerful internal drivers and timeless architecture score top marks for the first product bearing the company's collaborative moniker.

Design and features
Most users won't even recognize Logitech's hand in the Boombox's design; the only branding on the speaker is a small UE logo on the front grille. The similarities to Braun's T1000 shortwave radio are undeniable, from the brushed and perforated aluminum housing to the looped carrying handle on top.

Sarah Tew/CNET

In fact, Logitech's spokesperson told me that the team borrowed heavily from Braun designer Deiter Rams and his 10 principles of good design that stress a clear order and pragmatism.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Boombox can play music over a wireless Bluetooth connection or through a classic wired setup using an external 3.5mm cable. The left side of the 15.2-inch-long rectangular speaker houses a vertical row of buttons and ports, logically laid out and easy to use without poring over the manual: a large Bluetooth connect button at the top to put the speaker in pairing mode, a simple power switch, a 3.5mm auxiliary input port to connect external devices, and a power port on the bottom to juice the 6-hour rechargeable battery.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On the right side, you'll find two large volume buttons with clearly marked positive and negative symbols to denote intensity.

Controls to pair a Bluetooth-enabled device are simple enough and very similar to those found on other Bluetooth speakers. Make sure your music player's Bluetooth profile is tuned to discovery mode, hold down the Bluetooth button, click on UE Boombox in your device settings, and the handshake is complete. Unlike the Wireless Boombox for iPad, the UE Boombox supports up to three simultaneous Bluetooth sources at a time, so you can easily connect your iPad, iPhone, and laptop and simply toggle playback as you wish.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The only criticism I offer Logitech is that a protective carrying case should come with the speaker. The handle on top makes it comfortable to carry the Boombox around the house to the back yard or to a friend's party, but it stands to get dinged up in the course of wider travel.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Still, the build standards of the Boombox are much tougher than those of the Wireless Boombox. The die-cast aluminum grille protects the speaker from dust and other objects threatening harm, while the whole bottom section is wrapped in thick rubber that echoes bass and stops it from walking around on a smooth tabletop.

Performance
Logitech and Ultimate Ears worked together to co-engineer the sound of the Boombox, and the result reaches far louder than the Wireless Boombox for iPad. Whereas the Wireless Boombox lacked sonic details in low-end amplification, the Boombox's four custom-tuned 2.75-inch passive radiators and the rubber casing surrounding them delivers a deeper and more resonant helping of bass.

Dual half-inch tweeters command the treble spectrum and two 3-inch woofers balance the midsection with tighter high-level frequencies compared with competing Bluetooth speakers like the SuperTooth Disco and the Jawbone Big Jambox. Still, keep in mind that you'll lose some detail in the wireless compression process -- this is Bluetooth technology, after all.

Regardless, CNET editors felt that the Boombox delivered impressive performance for its size and price in my office jury test. Using a variety of sources and artists ranging from jazz to punk and yes, even dubstep, the speakers produced tones with no noticeable audible distortion with smooth response throughout the frequency range.

You can control the volume with both the handset and the unit itself, and believe me when I say that the speaker gets quite loud -- if you're shopping for a party maker, this is it.

Despite its near-premium sound design, the UE Boombox still bows down in front of CNET's reigning champ in the Bluetooth portable speaker category, the Bose SoundLink. Despite its shocking price tag, the SoundLink continues to excel in both volume capacity and sound performance that nearly has us disbelieving its Bluetooth connectivity.

Both speakers can hold their bass without distorting, but a side-by-side comparison has the Logitech UE Boombox sounding slightly more washed out. Regardless, if you'd rather save $50 and prefer the design of this UE speaker instead, you'll still enjoy much better sound quality than your average Bluetooth speaker -- it's just not the best money can buy.

Conclusion
The Logitech UE Boombox is just as capable in a backyard dinner party as it is in a room as a standalone desktop music player. Its generous 6-hour rechargeable battery and sleek handle let you cut the cord completely and enjoy music anywhere around the house, and its relatively durable chassis is easy for anyone to navigate. Throw in the ability to connect up to three devices simultaneously (with only one actually playing music, of course), and I recommend the Logitech UE Boombox for anyone shopping for a versatile, simple speaker that looks just as good as it sounds.

Logitech_UE_Boombox_35419327_01.jpg
8.3

Logitech UE Boombox

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 8Performance 8
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