$100 Logitech Boombox Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Holiday Gift Guide)

By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 27, 2012 10:15 AM EST

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Logitech's Boombox is a surprisingly lightweight and portable Bluetooth speaker, and with a $100 price tag to match, it is a popular choice for gifts this holiday season.

The Boombox is part of Logitech's Ultimate Ears product line, and it hit the Apple store in late-August. The gadget has recently become more widely available at retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy, and has made it way to many shoppers' holiday lists.

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Like the Jawbone Jambox, the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox is small, lightweight, and ultra-portable. Using Bluetooth technology, the accessory can wirelessly play music stored on the user's devices, or music streamed from apps such as Spotify or Pandora. The Boombox can also be used to amplify phone calls or the audio on Web videos.

Logitech's offering costs $50 less than the Jambox, but packs plenty of style and sound quality. Its round, compact body covered in a rubbery exterior looks nice, and gives the impression that it can take a few knocks and drops without being affected.

When it comes to any type of speakers, however, sound quality is paramount, and in this case, the sound quality is quite impressive for such a small gadget. Music played through the Boombox sounds full, and calls patched through it sound very clear.

Logitech started out with computer mice back in 1981, but the sluggish PC market has prompted the company to expand to accessories for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The company's Boombox, TV Cam HD, and Ultrathin iPad Keyboard are a few examples of its shift toward current trends.

The UE Mobile Boombox measures 4.4 x 2.4 inches, and is 2.6 inches thick. It's a bit bigger than the Jambox, but it weighs just 10.5 ounces. The gadget is available in eight colors, though some retailers carry only five colors.

The Boombox works with virtually any Bluetooth-capable device, including iPhones and iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers and laptops. Users can also toggle between two devices at the same time, and the speaker will remember up to eight devices.

Connecting the speaker to a device involves a pretty standard, straightforward process: activate Bluetooth on the device, then press the Bluetooth button on the top of the speaker. Music sounds well-balanced and full, with solid and clear midrange sounds and vocals. Occasionally, however, high notes or snare drum may sound harsh or somehow metallic. Meanwhile, the sound hole in the back of the speaker aims to compensate for the gadget's small size by enhancing low-frequency sounds.

Blasting bass-heavy music up to top volume may not be the speaker's best use, but songs cracked at 65 to 75 percent of volume capacity sound full and are rarely distorted. Some Web videos on YouTube, however, may not sound as great on the BoomBox as they would on other speakers patched through a laptop.

In terms of battery life, Logitech's tiny Boombox delivers up to 10 hours, with music played non-stop at roughly 75 percent of volume capacity, and even with several calls coming through. Unlike the Jambox, however, Logitech's speaker does not alert the user when battery is running low. It just dies.

Overall, the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox is a solid speaker delivering quality sound, and with a $100 price tag, it gives the $150 Jambox a run for the money. Will it make it to your holiday shopping list?

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