Let’s face it. We live in a mobile world. You can thank smartphones, tablet devices, super light weight notebooks, and ultra fast Internet connections any where we roam. As a result, no longer do we sit in front of the fireplace and listen to music. In fact, more often than not we experience our media, music and movies included, outside the confines of our home. So much like the aforementioned devices, it only makes sense to further unhinge our speakers from the constraints of wires and plugs.
A few weeks ago Ultimate Ears, now a Logitech owned and operated brand, launched a slew of new products. Course, you’d know this if you read my review of their $100 UE Mobile Boombox. Which for the money works astoundingly well. Rounding out that product set is the larger, more powerful UE Boombox. It costs 2.5 times ($249) as much as UE’s Mobile Boombox, and is many folds larger, but arguably folds better.
That said, the UE Boombox is a wonderfully crafted piece of kit. Much like an Apple laptop, its body appears to be cut from a single piece of aluminum, provided that is the material encasing its two 0.5″ tweeters, two 3″ woofers, and four 2 5/8″ passive radiators. Run your hand along its body and you’ll immediately agree. However, don’t expect to wrap your fingers around the handle, as its low, yet slim profile only allowed me to slip my fingers around it up to the second, or middle knuckle. No matter, as it weighs just 4.3lbs and won’t require a bear claw like grip to prevent it from slipping free. But in the invent it does take a tumble, it will probably be the recipient of some marring along the slightly off color rubber bottom that reduces vibrations and movement on hard surfaces. Furthermore, the metal facade has a tendency to chip every so slightly, even under normal use.
Nevertheless, at the very heart and soul of the Ultimate Ears brand is a focus on portability. Just look at their most recent products and you’ll agree. The UE Boombox makes no exception as its sports a rechargeable battery good for up to 6 hours of playback. That time will vary with amplitude and if you opt to connect your device via Bluetooth or using the AUX input. Nevertheless, my experience was about on par with that, though probably hovered closer to the five hour mark. Keep in mind I have the tendency to leave speakers of this ilk turned on, using them or not. Fortunately, the UE Boombox automatically enters standby mode after no use. Waking it from its slumber requires you to power cycle it by toggling the power button on the left side of the device. When done so it emits a friendly chime, much like its smaller brother, the UE Mobile Boombox. Below the power button lay the AUX input, and above it a pairing button, which is highlighted by a glowing LED light indicating pairing status or when the device is powered on.
To pair it to a new device you simply hold down the button until the surrounding LED flashes rapidly. No pairing code is needed and most of the time the UE Boombox automatically reconnected with my iPhone 4s, though at times it took a manual push by selecting profile from the iPhone Bluetooth menu. Unlike the recently released Jabra Soulmate and Jawbone Jambox, the volume of the UE Boombox works independently from the handset, and much in the same way you won’t be able to views the UE Boombox’s remaining battery life on your phone’s screen. Nevertheless, increasing the volume is easily something that can be achieved thanks to giant volume rocker switch found on the end of the portable speaker.
As with all Bluetooth speakers the audio the pipe, or fidelity is reduced to accommodate the technology’s bandwidth. That said, there wasn’t a large if at all discernible difference between the audio quality when plugged in to the UE Boombox’s AUX input or when transmitting tunes via Bluetooth. But make no mistake, the UE Boombox’s audio quality is quite admirable given its size, though it tends to more often than not produce relatively bright sound despite the genre of music being played. Keep in mind that the UE Boombox is designed for close by listening, which is to say it’s not designed to fill a large room with audio. Though, the speaker’s amplitude can more than suffice as it did in my living room that measures 20×20 with 12 foot ceilings. That all said, the UE Boombox produces excellent audio quality that easily eclipses similarly priced Bluetooth speakers.
Comparatively speaking to other Bluetooth speakers on the market, you get way more speaker for your money with the UE Boombox. Sure, it weighs 4.3lbs, and is many times larger than the Jambox, the Shoqbox, or the Soulmate. But if audio is paramount, and portability can play second fiddle, the UE Boombox is the definitive speaker that just set a new audio benchmark in portable audio.
Size aside, the UE Boombox is the definitive Bluetooth speaker that just sent the new benchmark in portable audio.
- Solid sound quality for a Bluetooth portable speaker along with significant amplitude
- Cool design that looks to be almost unibody construction
- Easy to setup and pari
- No battery status indicator
- Doesn’t charge via mini or microUSB
- Body tends to mar and ding relatively easily