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Published on October 17th, 2011 | by Greg

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A Great Bluetooth Portable Speaker: Logitech’s Wireless Boombox

The boom­box lives on. We miss the days when portable speak­ers meant car­ry­ing a gi­ant boom­box on your shoul­ders, an­noy­ing and de­light­ing those around you. Bat­tery life wasn’t great, the sound was pret­ty ter­ri­ble, and they weighed a ton… maybe we don’t miss it so much af­ter all.

And while speak­er tech­nol­o­gy has im­proved a bit with new ma­te­ri­als, the rest of the boom­box has been ut­ter­ly trans­formed. Dig­i­tal mu­sic tech­nolo­gies have shrunk ev­ery­thing down, and bet­ter bat­ter­ies (and recharge­able ones) mean lighter weight and im­proved life. Log­itech’s lat­est portable speak­er en­try is the sim­ply named Wire­less Boom­box, and while the name is catchy, you’ll find that it shares lit­tle in com­mon with it’s pre­de­ces­sors from the 80′s.

For starters, it’s wire­less- us­ing Blue­tooth, not Air­play, which makes sense con­sid­er­ing the like­ly use cas­es. Pair­ing is sim­ple, and though they tar­get specif­i­cal­ly iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users, it’ll work with oth­er de­vices as well of course, and of­fers the typ­i­cal thir­ty foot range (which can stretch a bit in the right con­di­tions). At two pounds, it isn’t light enough to toss in­to a bag with­out notic­ing; but it’s an in­ter­est­ing en­trant in­to the space.Most Blue­tooth portable speak­ers we’ve test­ed are small­er and lighter, but cor­re­spond­ing­ly of­fer less pow­er and bat­tery life. And in a some­what odd twist, this unit feels al­most like a dock, but lacks an ac­tu­al con­nec­tor- it looks ex­treme­ly sim­i­lar to it’s sis­ter, the S715i, just with­out the dock. Fi­nal­ly, it isn’t re­al­ly weath­er­proof, though it should stand up to in­clement weath­er- we dropped it and kicked it over and had it out in some wind and mois­ture with no is­sues, but it can’t stay out in the rain (we’ve seen some non-wire­less, un­pow­ered speak­ers that can).

Like a lot of Log­itech gear, it’s well-built, sleek and black. We would’ve liked to see some sort of Squeeze­box in­te­gra­tion, since it’s wire­less, but Blue­tooth cer­tain­ly works well. The au­dio qual­i­ty was sur­pris­ing, es­pe­cial­ly at high­er vol­umes. In a small room, on­ly the Squeeze­box Boom and the Zep­pelin mod­els put out vol­ume and still man­aged to sound clean and rea­son­ably ac­cu­rate. Our testers weren’t thrilled with raw­er, acous­tic mu­sic, but on pop and rock mu­sic it was im­pres­sive, bright with­out sound­ing strained, and with plen­ty of oomph. The Wire­less Boom­box throws sev­er­al speak­ers in the pack­age, four tweet­er/mid-range drivers and four pas­sive bass ra­di­a­tors, that sound bal­anced and with a rea­son­able pres­ence. We wouldn’t pit them against any non-portable sys­tem- Log­itech’s own com­put­er speak­ers sound bet­ter at a low­er price point- but they pre­sent a nice propo­si­tion for any­one in the mar­ket for a portable sys­tem. The ver­sa­tile Log­itech Wire­less Boom­box on­ly has one ma­jor down­side- the stand feels cheap and it can make the unit rat­tle a bit.

Whether it’s for use in the park, or out on the deck or pa­tio, you want some­thing that bal­ances price, size, qual­i­ty and pow­er, as well as bat­tery life. With six hours by their mea­sure­ments, and be­tween 5:30 and 6:20 in ours with vol­ume at medi­um lev­els, you should be good for near­ly a full day at the beach or on a pic­nic. The mod­ern styling is a bit un­for­tu­nate, con­sid­er­ing the name- a nice square boom­box would cer­tain­ly sat­is­fy some of the lo­cal hip­ster crowd. There isn’t a re­mote, but since most folks will sim­ply use their Blue­tooth de­vice to con­trol it any­way, we don’t mind the omis­sion. A 3.5mm mi­ni-jack in­put is avail­able for those who want; we weren’t able to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween wired and wire­less with any re­al cer­tain­ty (for most tracks, at least). At $150, it bridges the area be­tween the low­er-end and the high­er-end, walk­ing that del­i­cate line and bal­anc­ing all of the fac­tors nice­ly.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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