While it’s starting to get cold out here in the Northeast, this summer I spent a lot of time BBQing with friends at my apartment building’s shared outdoor space. Getting electricity out there is quite challenging—we once made a friend bike to Home Depot over two miles away to get us a 50 foot extension cord.
After that fun trip, I started testing a variety of wireless Bluetooth speakers and will be sharing the reviews of several of them of the coming weeks. I was looking not only for ease of use, but also a good booming sound that wouldn’t disappoint party attendees.
First up: the UE Boombox from Logitech.
You can connect up to three Bluetooth devices at one time to the UE Boombox, as well as hold a memory of up to eight different devices. I found connecting both my iPad and iPhone was quite easy, but when I tried to pair other devices, like a friend’s iPhone, we did run into some trouble getting the pair to occur. That could have just been an anomaly because at the end of the day, it did eventually pair and we never had trouble again.
Logitech says in the right conditions, you can go up to 50 feet away and not lose your connection, but I found in testing that 20 feet – with no obstructions like walls or doors – provided the best audio quality.
The sound was quite good. The UE Boombox provided a filling, clear and deep sound. Inside the speaker are eight custom-tuned drivers: two 0.5 inch tweeters, two 3 inch woofers and four 2.75 inch pass radiators. It’s easily the biggest Bluetooth speaker I’ve tested, but with size, comes a room-filling and fuller sound. Whether it was the Netflix app, my music or Spotify providing the sound, the UE Boombox just plain made it sound better.
I did notice crackling every so often interfere with my music. I later learned through testing that crackling occurred whenever my iPhone received a text or an email and the notification stayed on the lock screen. It didn’t happen every time, but it happened enough for me to spot the pattern. Not a deal breaker, but still an annoyance that likely is blamed on iOS not the Boombox itself.
The battery life was quite good. Logitech says you’ll get up to ten hours which is hard to test, but I can say that I never lost battery life when it counted, even on extra-long BBQ days. It would have be nice, however, if the speaker was charged via USB as opposed to a proprietary wall charger.
It’s quite easy to carry the UE Boombox thanks to the built-in aluminum handle. Couple that with the stainless steel that covers the unit and you’ve got a sleek, modern-looking speaker that put the rest of the ones I reviewed to shame just in terms of looks.
It’s not a hefty or heavy speaker, but it’s one you probably want most when you’re outdoors (as I tested it the majority of the time) or to live permanently in a certain spot in your house.
However, I did find myself regularly using it lately all around my apartment in different rooms when I found my iPhone or iPad speaker wasn’t enough to drown out the noises coming from the washing machine or dishwasher.
It’s a little bit on the pricey side compared to other wireless Bluetooth speakers out there, but the design, audio quality and ease of use more than make up for it. While I won’t be BBQing any time soon thanks to the 50 degree temperatures outside, the UE Boombox will definitely see more use come next summer.
The Logitech UE Boombox is available now for $249.99. To learn more, visit www.logitech.com.
* Disclosure: A review unit was provided by Logitech for the purposes of this review. *