It used to be quite a familiar sight at major Indian airports back in the early ’80s. Hordes of Indians returning from the Gulf countries to visit their homes once in a year, with most of them carrying either National Panasonic or Sony built two-in-ones. These cassette player-cum-recorders used to be a big source of entertainment in those days. Many among us used to listen to Hindi and English songs over and over and over again—on these portable players, renowned for their high audio quality, durability, and handy shoulder strap.
Similar to many other analog products of the past, the act of recording to a cassette tape—or listening to pre-recorded songs on a tape—started its downward trend in usage and popularity after the ’80s, as the proliferation of digital formats such as CDs and MP3 players gave consumers access to bigger storage options, faster recording, and higher-fidelity options.
It’s time to get sentimental again. Whether you are indoors or in the open air, you can experience the music wherever the mood strikes, courtesy the Ultimate Ears Boombox speaker from Logitech. Most striking is its sculptured aluminum handle which is integrated into the body, making it easy to roam anywhere with powerful music at your side. And it is this design and portability that reminds us of the now forgotten cassette players.
Actually, this Swiss device maker has also brought to the market its Ultimate Ears Mobile Boombox, which is surprisingly small and powerful but a great device to enable you to surround yourself in music, wherever the mood strikes! Let us probe both the speakers in detail and find out how they perform.
Ultimate Ears Boombox
You have heard of Bluetooth, but you have never heard it like this. The UE Boombox is for people who crave for big, bold sound they can carry around the home and occasionally on the go. You can use your smartphone, tablet or a laptop to stream pristine music from across the room or across the street. You can also bring the Boombox to a party and connect it with multiple phones so everyone can take turns playing music.
The UE Boombox retails for Rs 19,995.
The Logitech UE Boombox is sleek and stylish, and the handle allows for ease of portability. It measures 38.6 x 7.9 x 16.4 cm in dimensions and weighs 1,980 grams. There is a a small UE logo on the front grille. The Boombox can play music over a wireless Bluetooth connection or through a regular wired setup using an external 3.5 mm cable. The left side of the speaker houses a vertical row of buttons and ports. On the right side, you’ll find two large volume buttons with clearly marked positive and negative symbols to denote intensity. There is a large Bluetooth connect button at the top to put the speaker in pairing mode, a simple power switch, a 3.5 mm auxiliary input port to connect external devices, and a power port on the bottom to juice the speaker’s rechargeable battery.
Technically speaking, it has easy-to-use Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming. At my end, pairing was fairly simple with a laptop, BlackBerry phone and MacBook Pro. Just make sure that your device’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.
In my usage, the Boombox delivered impressive performance with powerful sound; bass was deep and and there was no noticeable audible distortion. Believe me, the speaker gets pretty loud. The powerful sound is delivered by eight custom-tuned drivers; these allow the sound to travel far and engulf all those around for a very good musical performance. Basically, there are two 0.5-inch tweeters, two 3-inch woofers and four 2 5/8-inch passive radiators.
You can pair upto eight Bluetooth-enabled devices and connect upto three devices at the same time—with the Boombox. It is compatible with smartphones, tablets and other devices that support Bluetooth wireless audio profile (advanced audio distribution profile or 3.5 mm audio output). Its mobile range of play is up to 50 feet, maximum sound level upto 102 dBC and frequency range is 55-20 kHz. Its rechargeable battery gives six hours of continuous playback
My piece of advice: just connect, and play!
Estimated street price: Rs 19,995
Ultimate Ears Mobile Boombox
This one is surprisingly small, yet powerful. The Ultimate Ears Mobile Boombox retails for an affordable R8,995 and with it, you can go further without wires. The Mobile Boombox can pair upto eight Bluetooth devices and music switching can be done between two devices at the same time, which is as easy as pressing pause on one and pressing play on another.
The Mobile Boombox measures 11.1 x 6.7 x 6.1 cm in dimensions and weighs 298 grams. It has metal construction with molded rubber casing for worry-free transportation. In terms of usage, it has easy-to-use Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming. Its mobile range of play is upto 50 feet, maximum sound level is 78dBA, frequency range is 150 Hz-18 kHz and there are two 1-inch full-range drivers. Its micro USB rechargeable battery has upto 10 hours of battery life between charges. The speaker is available in five colours—black, blue, white, red and yellow.
The Mobile Boombox can double as a speakerphone with a built-in mic. This means that you can seamlessly go from listening to music to taking a hands-free phone call. You can also chat with friends and family, and then get back to the music without missing a beat.
A number of Bluetooth speakers have come into the market for around the price that the Mobile Boombox retails. In my assessment, the Mobile Boombox is a very compact Bluetooth speaker and is far better than most in its price range. It sounds great too!
Estimated street price: Rs 8,995