Logitech UE Air Speaker
Looks great; easy set-up; good clear sound
Some distortion at high volumes
Watching an episode of Mad Men, we were amazed at the size of a sound system back in the 1960s. It was large cabinet – a piece of furniture. Today, we have the Logitech UE Air Speaker. It’s an elegant, AirPlay-enabled device that would barely be noticed if not for the booming sound it delivers.
The Logitech UE Air Speaker can connect to your network either by Ethernet or Wi-Fi. A dock on the front allowed us to connect an iPhone, and we were then prompted to install a free app that did the device configuration for us. The only physical connection thats needed is power. All up, the UE Air Speaker was ready to use just a couple of minutes after unpacking.
Using the Wi-Fi option, we directed music to the UE Air Speaker from multiple sources including iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macs. All were able to connect and control the system without any hassles.
Once installed, this is a unit that anyone can use. If friends come by and want to share their tunes, you can use the dock port that pops out from the front of the unit. There are volume and mute controls so you don’t have to keep tapping the iPhone’s screen. If a friend comes over and doesn’t have an iOS device you don’t have to disown them – there’s a 3.5mm input that lets them share their music as well.
Although the UE Air Speaker is half a meter wide, it’s only about 17cm tall and 20cm deep with the dock port out so it will easily sit on a shelf. The power supply is quite small and can be hidden easily. It’s a black unit with a cloth-covered front and looks modern and understated; there’s only one LED visible on the front of the unit, indicating that the network connection is OK.
Our one criticism of the build quality was the pop-out dock. The first time we used it, it wouldn’t retract correctly. After a slightly firmer push it seemed to work as intended but always felt a little plasticky and didn’t inspire confidence that it was survive a lot of use.
We listened to a lot of different music with the UE Air Speaker and were generally very happy with what we heard. The iOS app provides control over bass and treble levels so we could tune the UE Air Speaker to our preference. In almost all situations, the UE Air Speaker delivered great sound.
On a few occasions, when we really pumped the volume up, there was noticeable distortion. In a cheap speaker deck we’d expect that but the UE Air Speaker is priced at the premium end of the market so we were expecting some smarts to prevent distortion. With the volume kept below the 90 percent mark and with music encoded at decent bitrates – 128K and above – the UE Air Speaker was excellent.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
The Logitech UE Air Speaker is a very competent AirPlay-enabled speaker system. It’s easy to set up and delivers very good sound quality. However, we felt it wasn’t quite as good as similarly priced speaker systems from other companies.