Logitech UE Boombox £200
3rd Nov 2012 | 09:30
Can you really get audiophile-pleasing sound from a £200 portable speaker? Logitech carries it off with style
We've really been looking forward to getting our hands on the UE Boombox - Logitech's latest and greatest portable Bluetooth speaker.
The Ultimate Ears range is the Very Serious part of Logitech's audio catalogue, offering high-end audio and premium build quality. The UE Boombox is no different in this regard - the first time you see it, it's hard to avoid grabbing it to admire.
The handle is a solid piece of aluminium running from one end of the Boombox to the other and going around the edges of the end panels. These panels are blue with some controls on, and are concave, so that the buttons are hidden when you look at it from the front. It's an Apple-level attention to detail.
The only problem is that we're not totally convinced by its looks. As we say, it really gets you at first, but you could consider it to be too flashy. It stands out as being a speaker, lacking the subtlety of something like Logitech's own UE Air Speaker or the statement of the B&W Zeppelin Air. It's kind of in the middle - it looks too much like a 'boombox' - in the '80s sense of the word - to sit in your house.
It needs to be carried around. Which is exactly what Logitech intends, of course, having included a battery that should be good for six hours of playback. Again, though, there's a bit of form over function here. The aluminium carry handle and other premium materials might feel great, but they're not light, and it's also not a small speaker.
But all that weight and cost isn't for nothing; living up to its UE name, this speaker sounds excellent. What will get you right out of the box is the bass - for a portable speaker, there is some serious low-end power here. It's rich and deep, giving you not just the initial punch of bass, but the full resonating force behind it - so much so that it can feel like a little bit of the finer detail is being lost in the bombast.
At the top end, it's brilliantly clear without getting shrill at any point. It doesn't quite have the depth of speakers that cost a few hundred pounds more, but that's because they cost a few hundred pounds more. This is full of detail and crispness, picking out every note clearly.
The mid-range is perhaps the only slightly weak area - it feels like the sparky top end and rumbling bass conspire to overshadowing it somewhat. Again, it's not really missing a beat, but we felt like it needed a little more of its own depth.
Ultimately, the most important thing you need to know is that the Logitech UE Boombox's sound quality is within touching distance of the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air. Yes, the £500 one. Put them in a head-to-head showdown and there's no doubt the Zeppelin Air is nicer overall, but the fact that it's a competition at all with a £200 speaker is a testament the UE Boombox's quality.
£200 might be a lot of money to spend for a portable speaker, but it's a damn good price for this level of audio and build quality. If only it supported AirPlay too!