Sometimes with technology, what appears to be a fairly simple product opportunity in the market, isn't always delivered with timeliness or solid execution. Consider the current deluge of smartphone products in the market, all of which are enabled with Bluetooth wireless connectivity. And of course, every smartphone under the sun has some sort of music player functionality, whether you're an iPhone / iTunes type, Android or otherwise.
So why on earth didn't more of the major players think of this one a long time ago? With all these people walking around with Bluetooth-ready music to stream, why not design speaker systems and portable boom boxes with Bluetooth connectivity as well? Perhaps I've been living under a rock. I mean sure, there are a few Bluetooth ready speakers out there from the likes of Bose and Creative but there really aren't that many worth considering, when you think about it. And who the heck wants to "dock" mechanically? Uggh... dude, that's so 90s.
Recently I've been searching around for a reasonably priced solution to my fair weather audiophile requirements. I say "fair weather" because I'm not interested in dropping $400 - $500 on an over-priced Bose system or the like. I was interested in something with decent sound quality and portability that I could connect to my Android smartphone and take with me to the workout room, outside for cookouts etc. For that, I had a budget in mind of about $100 - $150 or so, for something decent.
I found the Creative D100 Bluetooth speaker system for about $80. Two words, "not decent." I mean really. Creative ought to be ashamed of themselves for producing something with such a boxy, dog-food-can sound. This is a manufacturer with extensive audio electronics design experience. Honestly, and I'm no Maxell Man looking to be blown out of my seat, you should consider the D100s maybe if you're looking to pipe in some elevator music in a library or Dentist office environment. I've got to tell it like it is. Simply, no nuts at all. Sorry.
Then, out of nowhere, Logitech pops into my inbox offering up their Wireless Boombox for evaluation here at HH. I'm thinking, okay, who was the marketing rocket scientist that came up with the naming for this product? I'm slightly miffed at Creative's weak attempt; now Logitech is stepping up with an 80s retrofit? God help them. I'm already cranky.... SURE, send it over. I'll be gentle, honest.
Hear that? Me neither. That's someone in Logitech PR holding their breath right about now. Well guess what. As the song goes, Just Breathe.
Actually, this is one of those oh-so rare occasions that a journalists and product evaluation writers are extremely paranoid of. I'm about to gush, well just a little. Logitech's Wirless Boombox, completely mops the floor with Creative's D100. It costs a bunch more at $150 but to say it's well worth it would be an understatement. I hate that word but alas I'm still cranky, so let's journey on, shall we?
Batteries? Yep, those are of the Nickel-metal hydride variety though and that AC adapter charges them while the system is in use, so you can take the Boombox on the go; you know, in case you have a break dance date with Vanilla Ice... Boombox? Really? I kid, just messin with ya, Logitech. It's nice to be green though and rechargeable batteries are the only way to fly for this system in my opinion. Score another one for Logitech.
Then there's that delicate, sometimes magical or perhaps mysterious rather, process of "pairing." As you know, with some Bluetooth devices it's hit or miss. You know the drill, put your smartphone or iPod in discovery mode and pray for a connection. Not so with the Boombox. My Samsung Infuse 4G Android 2.2-based phone found the Logitech Boombox and connected to it without a hitch. You can hit that little Bluetooth button on the top if you like but it just worked for me. That blue light you see here goes from blinking to solid blue when connected. And the next time I powered up the speaker system, my Infuse found it (as did an iPod Touch we had lying around) and automagically connected to it again.
So, sound quality, remember that's why I got all cranky-pants in the first place...
- Wireless audio: Bluetooth® (A2DP)
- 3” laser-tuned neodymium drivers:2
- ½” neodymium tweeters: 2
- 2” passive radiators: 4
- Rechargeable battery: Nickel-metal hydride
- Battery life: 6 hours
- Auxiliary input: 3.5 mm (cable included)
The Logitech Boombox has surprisingly good volume and tonal quality. The system can easily fill a large room or back yard deck venue. It's not going to blow your hair back like ol' Maxell Man but for a portable system it pumps the jam pretty well. Bass response is excellent for its driver size, as was its midrange and high end. The one drawback I observed was the absence of tone control. My personal tastes would have been to dial treble and bass so things were just a tiny bit more open.
However, I also noted that depending on the source music being piped in, that need for a bit more high-end or midrange was less apparent. From Cake, to the Black Keys, to a little G.Love, Foo Fighters, and more delicate stuff like Grace Potter, this portable Bluetooth-enable sound system handled it all with impressive reproduction and very little loss over its digital connection.
I should also note that range over the Bluetooth connection seemed pretty solid for me as well. I never really wandered more than 30 or 40 feet from the speaker but I didn't notice any flutter, distortion or drop-outs. I'll have to dig deeper here in the coming weeks.
For $150 or so, I'd say the Boombox is a solid deal. No need to break the bank for that fancy Bose bling and spare your tired ears from Creative's carnage. Logitech Wireless Boombox. No one ever said originality in branding was the hallmark of a solid product. I'll just hoist this bad boy over my shoulder and rock it. All good.