Logitech's acquisition of Ultimate Ears has given them the ability to release some very impressive sounding products. The latest addition is the UE Boom Speaker, which offers great 360º sound in a compact design. The integrated Bluetooth (A2DP) allows compatible products to provide a wireless source for music. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery gives users the ability to play music for as long as 15-hours on a single (3.4-hours) charge. It's great for both indoor or outdoor applications and the system can be configured to provide Stereo (left and right channels) or Double Sound playing the same content to both speakers, creating a much larger soundstage. The design consists of two 1.5-inch (4 ohm) drivers along with two 2-inch passive radiators resulting in a frequency range of 90Hz to 20kHz capable of delivering a maximum output level of 88dBA. The UE Boom Speaker also supports Near Field Communication (NFC) and works with active NFC enabled source devices (Android Jellybean and higher). Whether you are listening to your favorite track on your phone or streaming from subscription-based services such as Pandora®, the UE Boom Speaker delivers amazing sound.
The UE Boom Speaker can also
be used as a speaker phone should you receive a phone call while listening to music. The music will automatically be muted to allow you to take the call and will resume once the call is completed.
The UE Boom is about the same diameter (2.6-inches) as a can of soda, but about 50% longer (7.1-inches) and weighs 19 ounces. The design allows it to be completely portable and can even fit into a standard water bottle holder typically found on bicycles. The unit has a solid feel and is well built to stand the test of time. The soft outer construction makes it less prone to getting damaged if banged or dropped. It is an ideal size allowing it to easily fit into bags when going to the beach or pool and is water-resistant. However, don't let the small size fool you. This speakers has amazing sound quality and it is hard to believe that the incredible sound is coming from such a small enclosure. The bass is tight and deep and when sitting on a heavy base such as a granite counter top, the low frequency response is greatly improved.
The UE Boom Speaker has the power button (with light) and the Bluetooth indicator on the top of the unit. To turn the unit on, simply press and hold the power button and the unit top power light will illuminate and provide a "bongo" sound indicating it has turned on. When you turn the unit on for the first time it will go into a Bluetooth pairing mode to try and find a device to link to. The UE Boom Speaker will keep track and remember the last 8 devices it was connected to. The large "+" and "-" buttons adjust the volume and when both are pressed at the same time, the unit will let you know the power level.
Pressing and holding the power button again will turn the unit off with a similar, but different sound. To save battery power, the UE Boom Speaker will automatically power off after 15 minutes of no activity and will let you know by making the power-off sound.
The bottom of the UE Boom Speaker includes a 3.5mm audio (auxiliary input) jack, micro-USB charging jack, and a convenient D-ring for attaching a cord or rope. This makes it easy to hang the speaker on a tree branch or other structure and since it is completely wireless, it can go virtually anywhere. The unit comes with a USB/Aux protective cover (removable) to prevent dust and moisture from getting into the interfaces. The removable D-ring uses a standard 1/4-20 tripod mount allowing it to be installed atop a tripod and sit upright and elevated. A small indicator next to the micro-USB port shows the charging status when connected to the charger that is included with the unit.
iOS and Android Support
We tested the unit with an iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Android). Both phones worked very well without any issues with the UE Boom apps available from the Apple and Goggle Play stores. The UE Boom provides excellent audio quality from a Bluetooth source. We mainly used Pandora's free service giving us complete portability wherever cell service was available. Locally stored music files can also be played in places where reception is not so good giving users complete control of their music.
The UE Boom app is used to configure two speakers and provides information about the UE Boom. This is where the user can select either Stereo (left and right channels) or Double Sound when configuring the sound for two speakers.
The UE Boom Speaker provides excellent audio quality from a Bluetooth source and offers solid build quality from a compact design. The unit is simple to configure and use and the convenient WiFi connection makes it easy
to stream program material from a variety of music sources. Priced at just under $200, the UE Boom Speaker is not cheap. However, you will have a difficult time coming up with a product that offers the features, convenience, and audio performance of this portable speaker. The UE Boom Speaker comes with a 2-year limited product warranty. We are impressed with the execution of this product and look forward to seeing more innovation from both UE and Logitech.
- Rita Nakano