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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.