Review: The Logitech UE Boom
A ‘social’ speaker for the more mobile user
The Logitech UE Boom: 360-degree sound.
When mobile speakers first came out, I never really expected a lot from them, other than that they were easy to use and produced a sound better than hearing tinny music leak from someone else’s headphones on the bus. Anything over that was usually a bonus.
But the technology has got better and smaller in the past few years, and so the standard has risen considerably. Now, your mobile speaker is capable of pumping out serious quality sound, provided you are willing to pay for it.
That’s what Logitech has gone for with the Boom, using the expertise at Ultimate Ears to produce a speaker that s worthy of its moniker.
Ultimate Ears, if you’ve never heard of it, is a company that specialises in making custom in-ear monitors for musicians and headphones: usually expensive but worth paying the money for. Logitech bought Ultimate wars back in 2008.
And now Ultimate Ears has turned its attention to portable speakers.
The UE Boom is, according to the company, a social speaker. “Social” is becoming an over-used adjective these days, turning into a buzz word that is in danger of losing all meaning.
What the company actually means is that you can link your UE Boom with a friend’s to produce stereo sound, or to ramp up the volume. And the UE Boom will connect to two different Bluetooth enabled devices at the same time. In theory, this means you can flick between audio sources, but in practice it’s not something you’ll come to rely on.
At first glance, the Boom doesn’t look like much. Cylindrical in shape, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s just another gimmick, but the UE Boom is actually worthy of the Ultimate Ears brand.
The cylindrical shape works well for pumping out the music, so no matter what angle you are sitting compared to the speaker, you get good audio.
To connect your music devices, you have a couple of options. First there’s the traditional 3.5mm jack connection, so you can go the traditional route. Moving on to wireless, you’ve got the option of Bluetooth, which most smartphones should come with, or near field communications, which is a little less ubiquitous – but it’s getting there.
Connecting through Bluetooth takes only a couple of seconds: push a button on the speaker, activate the Bluetooth on your phone and start searching for devices visible to your handset. The whole process takes less than a minute.
If you are opting for NFC, you simply hold your phone against the barrel of the speakers and it prompts you to connect in a couple of seconds over Bluetooth. No mess, no fuss. It’s quicker than carrying out Bluetooth pairing yourself.
Once you have it paired, you’re ready to start playing music. The volume on it is impressive. It belts out the music at up to 88 decibels, and has a nice tone to it, even if the bass lacks a little something.
The device has a claimed battery life of 15 hours. While I didn’t time it with a watch to the very second, I have to say it didn’t let me down. It went hours without needing to be charged again. The last thing you want when you are miles away from a power source is a device that needs recharging within a short space of time.
If you do find yourself in need of power though, the chances of finding a charger wherever you go are greatly heightened by UE’s decision to use micro USB. Obviously, the included power adapter is the fastest and best way to charge it, but it’s unlikely you will get stuck without power for a long period of time.
There’s probably a slim chance you’ll notice or even care enough to use, but the UE Boom also has a built in microphone. So in theory, you could use it as a handsfree kit for your phone.
The Boom is also water resistant, so you can take it to the pool (if you had one) or the beach (if we didn’t live in Ireland) without fear that a splash or two will render it useless.
It doesn’t excel in everything, but the UE Boom is head and shoulders above the average competition in the mobile speaker market. It’s not cheap at €199, but it’s worth the investment.