After reviewing the fantastic UE Boom this past summer, I was very much looking forward to checking out the smaller, more compact Mini Boom version after heading back from CES 2014. Over the past month since jetsetting back to the east coast after CES 2014 in Las Vegas, I have been reviewing several Bluetooth speakers, including the current speaker at hand – Logitech’s UE Mini Boom.
The overall design of the UE Mini Boom is similar to its big brother version. Team Logitech sent me an eye popping orange and white unit to review, and it looks fantastic. Simply put, the UE Mini Boom screams swag, and that’s a good thing. The UE Mini Boom is about half the size of the Boom and weighs only 301 grams, which makes for an even more portable speaker. Pairing with my ultrabook and iPhone was straightforward for both devices. I don’t own any NFC-enabled devices, so I was unable to test NFC syncing.
As I always say, the most important factor for any audio device is sound quality. Surprisingly, the sound quality from the UE Mini Boom was a bit less impressive than I expected.
First off, the audio engineering is quite different compared to the Boom. The UE Mini Boom has two 1.5″ drivers for your high and mid-range frequencies, plus a 3″ X 1.5″ passive radiator for the low frequencies down to 130 Hz. Additionally, the UE Mini Boom lacks the 360 degree sound coverage of the Boom, and the difference between the two is definitely noticeable in terms of sound projection. The most surprising issue with sound quality is the lack of frequency balance for the default EQ setting. The UE Mini Boom is set to “Out Loud” right out of the box, and this EQ setting elevates the mids and highs way too much relative to the low frequencies. When I changed the EQ setting to “Intimate” using the accompanying iPhone app, the sound profile was more balanced as the low frequency volume was subtracted a bit (EQ settings are only changeable from the UE Mini Boom app). The third and final EQ setting – “Voice” – further subtracts out low and mid-range frequencies to give the high frequencies more prominence.
Obviously I don’t expect miniature speakers to blow the house down with bass, and honestly I would prefer less bass compared to excessive distortion. In this fashion, the UE Mini Boom satisfies my wishes. Still, though, I’m surprised the audio engineers opted for the LOUD and unbalanced “Out Loud” setting as the default as opposed to the better refined (but a little lower volume) “Intimate” EQ setting.
While I was a bit disappointed with the sound quality of the UE Mini Boom, it’s only because I have the highest expectations for UE products. We have reviewed UE’s Boombox and Boom, awarding both products extremely high ratings because they blow out the competition in their device category and price range. At a price of $90-100, the same cannot be said for the UE Mini Boom. At this price point, the UE Mini Boom is in a sort of “no man’s land” – it’s better than entry level speakers (though not extraordinarily better, especially considering their price points, as you will see from my other reviews coming up), but it’s also far enough behind the Boom that it’s worth it to spend about double for a vastly superior product. Plus, that vastly superior product is also an UE device, so they can’t get too mad at me.
If you really want to go the entry level route, the price point of the UE Mini Boom doesn’t justify the quality compared far cheaper but similar speakers. If you are instead looking for top notch quality, spend the extra money and get the UE Boom instead.
Logitech UE Mini Boom Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – $85.82