Logitech has been hard at work making impressive audio products for consumers. The company has recently introduced the new Mini Boombox , a compact portable speaker system designed to work with Bluetooth®-enabled devices. Music can be played back using smartphones, tablets or other Bluetooth®-enabled devices that support Bluetooth® wireless audio profile A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). The Mini Boombox also includes a microphone and works as a Bluetooth Hands-Free device supporting Profile (HFP 1.5) and is fully compatible with all generations of iPhone as well as many other popular phones. We tested the unit with our Android-based HTC Incredible and it worked perfectly. The Mini Boombox retails for just under $100 and is available in black (shown here) or in red.
The front of the Mini Boombox has an indicator light that is used to show the status of the unit. A flashing blue light indicates that the unit is charging when plugged into a power source. By simply holding down the Bluetooth button on the top of the unit, the Mini Boombox will begin flashing blue and red as it searches for a Bluetooth device. Once connected, the light stays a constant blue. We used our HTC Incredible for both phone and media Bluetooth connections.
The controls for the Mini Boombox are on top of the unit. Capacitive touch buttons provide playback and volume controls. When the maximum volume is reached on the unit, it beeps. To answer a phone call, simply press the Bluetooth/phone button and the built-in microphone allows you to be hands free while you work. The built-in 3.7V, 1100mAh lithium battery last as long as 10 hours on a single charge.
On The Back
The back of the Mini Boombox has the main power switch and a mini-USB jack for charging the unit. A 3.5mm (line-in) jack allows a direct connection to the unit without having to use the Bluetooth link. We used this input connection during our tests with the audio analyzer. The gap in the upper section provides a sound port for the passive radiator, which is why bass is so good on this small design.
The first thing you might ask yourself when you look at the size of the Mini Boombox is how can this unit produce any bass. Logitech has been able to engineer the unit to produce suprisingly good bass response given the small enclosure size. You will notice a small gap in the rear hood of the unit and in there lies a passive radiator. We had to unscrew the lid to actually see it, but it satisfied our curiosity to understand why this design worked so well. This ported type of speaker design allows the Mini Boombox to extend the bass response beyond what a sealed enclosure would allow. This is especially important for a small enclosures such as this. The result is a very compact unit with good frequency response.
We measured the output of the Mini Boombox to see what frequencies were actually coming out of the unit. We used a Sencore SP295C to sample a 10 second segment of a song playing on Pandora. Even though the souce was not ideal such as a "pink noise" source, the measurement shows bass extending below 90 hertz and above 15 kHz from the front speakers. Using a "pink noise" generator, which provides equal energy per octave, the FFT spectrum analyzer detected some bass as deep as 60 hertz near the passive radiator. Not bad from a unit this size. On top of that the Mini Boombox was able to acheive output levels above 90 dB at full volume without significant distortion when playing music.
The Logitech Mini Boombox is a great product that offers true portability thanks to the built-in lithium battery. However, I usually keep the unit plugged in so that I do not have to worry about running the battery down. The ability to use the Bluetooth link to my phone for both phone and media connections makes it my new best friend on my desktop at work. Whether listening to music or talking on the cell phone, the Mini Boombox delivers. Performance was excellent for a product that takes such little space and the built-in auto-mute feature when a phone call comes in is terrific.
The Mini Boombox is one of the best products I have reviewed this year simply because it has been so useful. It is easy to use and works like a champ. For under $100, you can have both a Bluetooth media player and a hands-free phone system offering excellent performance. I can't think of a better device to occupy my desk.