Thursday, May 14, 2015

Logitech UE Ultimate Ears Mini Boom

This is a review and recommendation of the Logitech UE Mini Boom Bluetooth Speaker

The Bluetooth Speaker Marketplace
Some segments of the Computer Industry are subject to insane competition.  The Bluetooth Speaker segment rather like Spinning Disk Storage or Computer Cases is ridiculously competitive leading to big names not really wanting to participate.

Logitech is a Swiss company though of course for cost reasons it's Bluetooth speakers are not made in Switzerland.

Over the years Logitech has tried to present itself as a cut above the mass market, zero profit Bluetooth Speaker scrum.  How is it doing?  We'll find out.

UE Mini Boom and Mobile Boombox
Initially Logitech had a product called the Logitech Mobile Boombox.  This was a Bluetooth speaker without NFC or some other features  manual here  I believe it is incorrectly referred to as UE Mobile Boombox in some literature.

UE is Ultimate Ears a subdivision of Logitech that was supposed to be up market and hence command better pricing.

Later, a generation 2 product was announced called UE Mini Boom.   You can tell the difference since the new product shows up as Bluetooth name

UE Mini Boom

The new products add amongst other things

- NFC pairing
- Smartphone App configuration


- Bluetooth Speaker
- Inbuilt Lithium Ion Battery charged by Micro USB
- Battery lasts > 10 hours
- Volume limiter to avoid distortion
- Stereo Audio In jack
- Volume +/- and power switch and Bluetooth Call button
- Extremely rugged and stable design
- Rubberised non slip surface

Advanced Features

- NFC: Pairs with Smartphones that have NFC  (practically any Smartphone except Apple)
- Microphone allows it to be used as a speakerphone in Voice calls e.g. Mobile Voice calls or Google+ chat
- Double Up: Feature allows 2 UE Mini Booms to be connected for a stronger sound
- Multi Host: It connects to 2 different hosts simultaneously
- Android app to change Equalisation, Bluetooth Name or load Firmware

Use Cases
Our use cases are dominated by the 3 unit features: Ridiculously loud, non slip surface, great battery life.

- We have a backup car without a radio!  We use this speaker sitting on the dashboard fed by an iPod nano using Bluetooth. Works a treat.
- In a motorhome or other portable living space, it just fills the vehicle with sound
- In a conference call, setup as a speakerphone leaves your hands free to otherwise surf write notes during a telco.
- Can be used as a powerful take it around the house Bluetooth speaker.  By the shower, on the patio, in the lounge, in the kitchen.  Just brilliant.

Logitech Competition
Whilst researching links I was astounded to find that the UE Mini Boom is being discontinued and Logitech now would like you to buy the X300 speaker

However to me this looks like in so many ways an inferior design.

- The clean looks are lost
- The battery life is inferior
- No mention of NFC or pairing or Configuration App

So Last Chance
It would seem then this is nearly your last chance to pickup this excellent and loud Bluetooth speaker for about 50 GBP  (80 USD) globally.   It's a really solid unit with some nice features.  Recommended.

UE Mini Boom FAQ
UE Mini Boom apps and update