Logitech expands its UE brand with seven new audio products
Veteran computer-accessory vendor Logitech on Wednesday announced the company’s latest batch of audio products under its Logitech UE brand. Ranging from speakers to headphones to a network radio, the announcement represents a major overhaul of the company’s audio offerings.
A little more than four years ago, Logitech (which had by then spent several years expanding its product line to encompass consumer audio) acquired earphone vendor Ultimate Ears. Ultimate Ears was one of the pioneers of custom-fit in-ear monitors for musicians, and the company had gained wider recognition thanks to its offerings in the burgeoning field of higher-end in-ear audio for consumers. At the time, Logitech’s headphone offerings were largely limited to VoIP, gaming, and Bluetooth models.
For several years, Ultimate Ears products continued to be released—at least as far as many consumers could tell—under the Ultimate Ears brand, and the product line was generally limited to midrange and higher-end earphones, though with some lower-priced, consumer-friendly models tossed into the mix. But over the past year or so, Logitech began using the Logitech brand name for its Ultimate Ears products, and with the company’s Wednesday announcement of seven new “Logitech UE” products, that transition is complete.
Logitech’s mobile-device speakers were long dominated by Apple-centric models with an iPod/iPhone dock. But the company recently started offering Bluetooth and AirPlay-enabled speakers, and the new models are exclusively Bluetooth.
The $250 UE Boombox uses eight drivers: two half-inch tweeters, two 3-inch midrange/bass drivers, and four 2.8-inch passive radiators. At 15.2 inches wide, 6.5 inches tall, and 3.1 inches deep, and weighing roughly 4.4 pounds, the Boombox can be toted around; its stainless-steel-and-rubber construction and die-cast-aluminum handle are designed for durability, and the 10-hour rechargeable battery lets you listen on the go.
The Boombox lets you pair up to eight Bluetooth devices simultaneously, and it can be actively connected to up to three, so you and a couple of friends can take turns choosing the music—you just pause one device and press play on another.
The $99 UE Mobile Boombox is an update to Logitech’s Mini Boombox, but the changes are significant. In addition to a new grippy, rubber casing available in several color combinations, the company says the Mobile Boombox offers improved performance compared to the Mini Boombox.
Like the UE Boombox, the Mobile Boombox can pair with up to eight Bluetooth devices, and it can be actively connected to two simultaneously. It also sports a 10-hour battery, though at just 4.4 inches wide, 2.6 inches deep, and 2.4 inches tall, and weighing just 10.5 ounces, it’s easy to toss in a bag or backpack. Logitech says two drivers and a single passive radiator provide bigger-than-expected sound, and the Mobile Boombox can also be used as a speakerphone both traditional phone calls and for video calls.
In a first for Logitech and the Ultimate Ears brand, the company has announced a line of full-size headphones. The $100 Logitech UE 4000 is an on-ear model using memory-foam earpads covered with leather-like material for comfort. Logitech says the UE 4000 is constructed from durable materials to withstand abuse; it also include a zippered travel pouch.
The UE 4000’s cable includes an Apple-style inline remote/microphone module, and the company includes a cable splitter so you can share your music with a friend; the cable splitter is designed to clip to a keychain.
The $200 UE 6000 is an over-the-ear model for better noise isolation, and it includes active amplification and noise-cancelation circuitry. Like the UE 4000, the UE 6000’s earpads are made of memory foam and covered in soft, leather-like material; and you get an Apple-style inline remote/mic module and a cable splitter for sharing your music. The UE 6000 also fold up, eyeglasses-style, for travel.
The top-of-the-line, $400 UE 9000 is also an over-the-ear, noise canceling model, but it adds higher quality components, as well as Bluetooth for wireless listening. (An included cable lets you go wired when wireless isn’t an option—for example, on a flight.) Controls for playback (play/pause, previous, next), volume, and phone-call functions are located on the earpieces, and the UE 9000 features the same sturdy construction and comfortable materials as its siblings. In addition, the headband is bendable and twistable for durability.
Logitech has also leaned on the Ultimate Ears legacy to release the $400 UE 900 Noise-Isolating Earphones, a product Logitech says offers sound quality surpassed only by the company’s custom in-ear monitors. Each earpiece hosts four armature speakers in a universal-fit enclosure. Included are five pairs of silicon eartips, from XXS to L, and three sets of Comply foam eartips to help you get a good fit.
The UE 900 also includes two sets of detachable cables, one with an Apple-style inline remote/mic module, and the other without, and those cables offer stiffer ear loops to secure the cable to your ears.
Finally, Logitech has updated its older Squeezebox Radio, renaming it the UE Smart Radio and offering it for $180. Like the Squeezebox Radio, the Smart Radio connects to your Wi-Fi network and lets you stream music from your computer; from Internet radio stations; and from streaming music services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Slacker, and Pandora—displaying track information on the radio’s color screen. A new Smart Radio Controller app (available for iOS and Android devices) lets you control playback remotely, and the system now includes a built-in six-hour rechargeable battery for toting the Smart Radio around the house.
The Smart Radio uses a single 0.75-inch tweeter and a 3-inch midrange/bass driver, and its compact size (8.7 inches wide, 5.1 inches tall, and 5 inches deep) makes it easy to fit on a desk, counter, or nightstand.
All seven products are available now.