Logitech UE BOOM Portable Speaker Review

Ultimate Ears UE BOOM Black
by Brett Thomas on June 10, 2013 in Audio & Media

The UE Boom from Logitech boasts an impressively hip advertising campaign and a promise to make music more “social” again. But past all of the buzzwords and pretty packaging, is this cylindrical speaker worth all of the hype? We take a close look… and can’t help but be blown away.

So Social: It’s the Life of the Party & Final Thoughts

The tagline for the Boom encourages you to “Rage, riot, party and play the music you love out loud.”  For the love of… dear Lord, who wrote this stuff?!    I hope the boys at Logitech are reading this review, because this is a business person you’re talking to and… f%$@, it’s probably perfect for a target market of way-too-cool college-age prepsters.  That being said, those of us who know the ruse of marketing and/or are coolness-challenged are not amused.  Actually, we are highly amused, and mostly at other peoples’ expense… but, still!  

With all of the Boom’s marketing cruft towards “social” music, normal people might get the wrong impression – the Boom does not tweet, Facebook, text, or even email.  All it does is connect wirelessly (seamlessly with Bluetooth and NFC) and make noise pretty much anywhere you are, allowing you to take the party with you wherever you are (Dear Logitech:  if you would prefer to use that tag line instead of one involving “rage” and “riot,” please contact me).  By being able to very easily take your music places, it creates a more social experience – as does one other very nice feature of the Boom:  two-device pairing. 

UE Boom Social

Thanks to someone very smart at UE, your personal crappy music collection doesn’t have to be the only music that plays at the party.  The Boom supports pairing to two devices simultaneously, and can play music from each of them.  This makes it possible to play one of your songs and have a friend join in with one of his/hers.  Both songs will play simultaneously if you’re not careful (the first player should pause – finally, a use for that “play one track only” mode!)… but if you are paying attention, it’s totally possible to pull off some really cool cross-fade effects from one little speaker.  Since pairing a device is so easy, it’s even possible to share the music once the party has achieved the illustrious goal of “drunk and disorderly,” though managing your tunes seamlessly might be a little trickier at that point. 

This feature on its own puts the Boom heads and shoulders above the rest –  if everyone will be forced to listen, it’s nice to finally have a speaker that encourages someone else to play along with the mix, without requiring some convoluted Apple iTunes web-based group-voted playlist!  It truly does take the device to a new level, and issues a real statement that whether you want to listen or want to participate, you’re invited.  

It’d be nice if UE considered expanding this further with software (round-robin playlist by multiple pairings, anyone?  Bueller?!)… I think there is a goldmine here and a truly unique product niche.  I see a future part of the UE Boom application where the owner can see all the devices currently associated to the speaker and maybe even put them in an order (or refuse them to play) – and the Boom sends a message to each phone prior to its turn to queue up a song on “one track” mode, and then “pulls” (by sending a Bluetooth ‘play’ command) that track when ready.   Hitting up five or six different people who all want to volunteer to play a LITTLE bit of DJ at the party is easy (a lot easier than finding one who wants to volunteer for the job all night!) and encourages participation.

Honestly, my greatest fear for this would be that so few people EXPECT this of a speaker that Logitech gets the wrong message by its usage statistics from people not even thinking of the function.  After all, I had it for a week before I figured this out – and missed two great opportunities to use it!  I will be sure not to miss another.  It’s not even like it’s truly hidden in the documentation (though it shows a tablet and phone, implying two devices from the same owner) – it’s just not something people would think of, based on prior limitations on the system as a whole.

Final Thoughts

“I haven’t heard this much noise come out of a package so small in all of my life – and I have a two-year-old daughter.”

So, with all of this said (and all the marketing mocked and flamed) – is the UE Boom a good product for its price?  I can give an enthusiastic “yes!” to that, without hesitation.  If I did not have a wireless speaker and needed one, this would be worth the (somewhat painful) price of entry.  But more importantly, even if I already had a prior one, I would want this to replace it at my earliest convenience.  It is small, lightweight, and packed with features.  It is durable enough for all of its intended usages, including getting a little wet (note:  I did not submerge the device for any length of time to simulate being knocked in a pool) or being dropped.  And quite frankly, even if it never expanded beyond the “one other person” limitation, the multiple people on one speaker is just brilliant (Please, please, pleeeeeease consider improving this, UE!). 

However, all of this wouldn’t add up to a fart in the wind if it couldn’t do well as a speaker, its sole purpose for existence.  In this, it excels – the quality is way better than one could possibly ever expect from a device like this, and is surprisingly worthy of the Ultimate Ears branding.  The UE Boom is a device that is designed to run well and run loud, and when you consider that it fits in an 8″x3″x3″ space, that’s amazing.  Even the Bluetooth is a bit over-amped (at 50 feet theoretical, but 25 feet verified), and the whole thing just keeps cranking for hours.  Seriously, I haven’t heard this much noise come out of a package so small in all of my life – and I have a two-year-old daughter.  What is most important here is that this wasn’t three hours of a lab test from me – I put it through a couple serious weekends of yard work, family and friends… it left quite an impression on us all. 


Don’t get me wrong, the Boom has its little quibbles – the lack of mobile volume control being a primary (and ridiculous) one; clearly a product of people who focus on their sound rather than their UI.  That being said, the worst I could say about any of its faults is to use the word “quibble” – I am genuinely scraping the barrel to come up with something I dislike aside from the overly-trendy marketing and the price.  As to the former, no amount of annoying, buzz-word dripping, socially glamorizing advertisements that Logitech uses to market the UE Boom will take away from the fact that this is a tremendously well-designed product…it will likely do just what it is intended, and bring in a different audience alongside serious audio-/techno-philes.  As to the price, well…I’m a firm believer that when the worst thing I can say is that it costs too much, it probably doesn’t. 

… And when a non-audiophile can say THAT about a speaker, you know Logitech has a winner on its hands.  

Logitech UE BOOM Speaker

Page List

1. Introduction, Sound Quality & Battery Life
2. So Social: It’s the Life of the Party & Final Thoughts

  • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

    Quite an impressive piece of kit, this is. I have to admit… I’m surprise that it sounds as good as it does. It seemed questionable at first, but this IS a UE product, so it did seem unlikely that it’d want to risk tarnishing its name over a poor product.

    I definitely think I could use one.

  • Guest

    So I found out battery is “proprietory” and no replacement is ever going to be available. All Logitech can offer is “the product has a two year warranty”. I’d will suggest for those that bought it (Got Suckered) taking it back with the ‘expired’ lithium battery a week before that two years is up. This is appalling. Knowing this, I will now never buy a Logitech item ever.

  • guest

    I really enjoy mine and glad I have it. Definitely happy I went with this over the pill

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Glad to hear it! No pun of course.

  • Rumi

    There’s no denying this unit gives you terrific sound, but in terms of good value, I have to disagree. By purchasing the UE Boom, you’re essentially leasing speaker for approximately two years. The life of this product dies with the battery. All rechargeable batteries have a limited charge cycle and its ability to charge decreases over time. I have confirmed with logitech, they have no intention of replacing the battery. This already a luxury accessory… and for most it’s difficult to come to terms with spending $200 on a bluetooth speaker. Now factoring buying one every 2 years or so. I’d gladly shave off a few hours of playback for a user replaceable battery. I wouldn’t even mind paying Logitech a fee to replace the battery after the warranty expires. Who wants a $200 brick?

    • Paul Trantow

      It’s replaceable. Li-ion 18650. I just bought a new UE and the instructions (at least the newest batch) explain battery replacement.

      • bradrossphotography

        I have the same instructions and they do not mention replacing. The mention removing and disposal of the battery & PRODUCT. Meaning they do not talk about replacing the battery. The instructions even talk about ungluing the housing to get to the battery.

  • zara
  • cmaesi

    great review!!! really helpful. is it true that battery is replaceable? and also how about service for ue booms shipped outside us?

  • James

    I bought one of these at the start of summer to throw in my
    gig pack and use when I need music to listen to. The range is great on that
    little guy. Very powerful and things like vocals and instruments sound really
    nice. A lot like a more expensive Sonos speaker. I originally had read about it
    on Poc’s Tech Blog (source:
    ), which is what led me to give it a try. Now that I am looking at their site,
    it looks like they also featured it in their Xmas (“holiday”) gift
    guide. I say, if you want something portable that is both loud enough for a
    large room but also warm enough to enjoy the nicer genres of music, give the
    Boom a chance. You will be surprised what it can accomplish with its size.

  • fubastic

    I got one recently, and I agree that the fact that you can’t control the volume from the app is just silly and frankly annoying – this is the only review I found that points this out. Wouldn’t it be better/easier if you didn’t have to worry about separate volume settings for the speaker and the device? There is also no way to know what the current volume setting is, other than going all the way up at which point the boom produces a disturbingly loud tone to indicate that it has reached its limit (I don’t like this). I’ve also had some problems with paring multiple devices – one device takes over and the other one won’t play even though it is connected, and there is no way to override except to turn bluetooth off on the first device, which is pretty irritating. Those are basically the only two issues I have; hopefully they can be fixed with a future firmware update (though I’m not holding my breath – they will probably just release a new product and make you buy that instead). I agree that the sound is good (for the size); it would be nice if there was more base, but given the size I guess you can’t expect too much.

    I like the review.