Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad review: Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad
The Logitech Wireless Boombox strategically forgoes Apple's AirPlay standard that would have bumped up its $150 price tag, instead using Bluetooth to receive wireless music from any enabled device. Sonic fidelity takes a minor hit as a result, but this speaker earns our recommendation for its equal convenience both inside the home and out in the backyard. You can also find wireless speakers that offer better portability, but if you're shopping for a way to play music from a stationary, wireless speaker set, the Logitech Wireless Boombox's sonic resonance won't disappoint.
Design and features
The guts of the Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad are nearly identical to those of the Logitech S715i that earned our Editors' Choice Award last year for its marriage of impressive sonic range and sculpted design. With the exception of a missing iPhone dock and Bluetooth integration, the bubbly shape is the same, as are the dual passive 2-inch radiator woofers set up on either side of the front faceplate.
The shape is undoubtedly bulky and not meant for long-distance travel, so for mobile use we recommend checking out the Soundmatters FoxLv2 or the Jawbone Jambox for their compact stature--just know that you'll pay around $50 more for the size reduction.
Two 3-inch drivers sit alongside the woofers on the front of the Boombox, protected by a hard plastic that feels durable enough to endure light spills and dirt, although we didn't subject it to a drop test and we don't suggest you do so either.
Controls for establishing a Bluetooth connection are simple enough and very similar to those of other Bluetooth speakers. Make sure your music player's Bluetooth profile is tuned to "discovery" mode, hold down the Bluetooth button on the Boombox's control panel, and you're all set.
Nearly all smartphones and tablets bundle Bluetooth these days, but Logitech also installs an open 3.5mm audio jack on the back and generously includes a dual-plugged cable in case you want to play music from a non-Bluetooth device. Playing music through the wired connection will always give you better fidelity, however, since sonic degradation is an unfortunate symptom of the bandwidth limitation over the wireless connection.
The only other tactile controls you get on the front are a power button, two separate volume buttons, and two LCDs that indicate remaining battery life and the status of a Bluetooth connection. Logitech rates the battery life at 6 hours (2 hours less than the S715i due to the wireless connection), and you can't charge your iPad over the Bluetooth connection either. Logitech includes a power supply with a 6-foot cable for continuous stationary power.
Unlike the Jambox and smaller players, the Logitech Wireless Boombox is braced against movement in action by a foot that pops out of the bottom, supported by rubber feet on either side of the unit. We wish the stand offered multiple angles for optimal sonic range, but it's fixed in one position so make sure to place the speaker at ear level when you're using it.
We can't get too picky about sound with any Bluetooth speaker, but the Logitech Wireless Boombox performs at the same level as the S715i--you won't hear the rich detail that the Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker achieves with embedded software running in the background to fortify the bass, but at half the cost, the Logitech certainly sounds more than half as good.
We were also able to crank up the Boombox to a much higher volume than the smaller Jambox and Foxl, but a heavy helping of distortion at the louder end indicated that we'd reached its limit. You shouldn't have a problem hearing it over loud noises and conversations, say, at a BBQ or in the kitchen, but don't expect this to be your only sound source at a big party--for that, we recommend a dedicated hi-fi system or, at the very least, a high-end set of computer speakers like the Harman Kardon SoundSticks III.
On the other hand, if the majority of music you prefer is bass-heavy or falls under the hip-hop/electronic umbrella, we actually prefer the $150 SuperTooth Disco for its bass boost button that adds low-end amplification to the 12-watt internal subwoofer. It adds a tighter kick as opposed to an audible boom, without overpowering the melodies or lyrics.
The Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad manages to squeeze itself into a niche market of iPad users who want to hear their music inside the home, but still want the option to carry the speaker outside and not worry about whether it can hold up against wind, dirt, and light rain. Priced at an affordable $150, this budget speaker would be good for anyone who fits that description and owns a Bluetooth device, but there are more worthwhile alternatives for shoppers who want to listen to music on the go.