Tue, 28 Jul 2009 Logitech Squeezebox Boom review
All-in-one network music player that lets you listen to music and radio
- Manufacturer: Logitech
- Pros: Decent sound, good looks, great speakers, relatively simple set-up, Napster Library playback.
- Cons: Not everything is as intuitive as it should be.
- Min specs: Network Architecture Supported: Ethernet (10/100 Mbps), 11 Mbps IEEE802.11b, 54 Mbps IEEE802.11g; Media Formats Supported; Audio Format: AAC, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, WMA; Output: Audio - Line Out (1/8in Mini); Input: Ethernet - RJ45; Included Components: FM Tuner, Remote Control, Speakers; 2 Year Limited Warranty; 500x203x457mm; 3.5kg
- Price: £199.18 including VAT
- Star rating:
Logitech's Squeezebox Boom is an attractive network music streamer and internet radio with sharp looks and great speakers.
The Logitech Squeezebox Boom is largely similar to the Philips Streamium device we've also reviewed here. Both combine wireless music streaming capabilities with internet radio. Both also offer clock/alarm clock functions, while the Philips distinguishes itself with the inclusion of its photo slideshow functions. Neither, however, would look out of place on a mantelpiece or kitchen shelf and, crucially, both are incredibly easy to set up.
Press the Logitech Squeezebox Boom's power button and after the welcoming splash screen you get a message stating that you are at step 1 of a 5-step setup. You must specify whether your want to connect to a wireless or Ethernet network and then choose your region (in our case, Europe), followed by the network from the list of those the Squeezebox has identified.
To select an item you press the Logitech Squeezebox Boom's large scroll button, while turning this button scrolls through other options. Enter your WPA2 password and the pairing begins. Logitech provides a 30-second countdown.
We were delighted to find that we could directly enter the Wi-Fi password using the very efficient scrollwheel to select letters and numbers. The Logitech Squeezebox Boom then offered to acquire an IP address automatically.
Once this is done, we received notification that no SqueezeCenter (the Logitech app for your computer) was detected. However, we scrolled on to the SqueezeNetwork - the only other option since all players in the Logitech Squeezebox range need to be connected to one or other source.
We pressed play and were instantly listening to Radioio.com. To switch to another source we pressed Pause which switched the scrollwheel from a volume dial (there's a separate volume controller to its right in any case) to a menu selector. We were offered the option of visiting the Amazon CD Store, Podcasts, RSS feeds, Music Library, Internet Radio and more.
The Local option in the Internet Radio menu took us to a familiar list of radio stations from the independent radio network and the Beeb. A couple of seconds of buffering and were listening to some classic 70s California beach sounds thanks to Absolute Radio.
If you haven't set up the SqueezeCenter you'll be offered the option of accessing the Napster library. If you already have a Napster account you can log in from the Logitech Squeezebox Boom. If not, you can set up a 14-day trial (bizarrely, once we'd scrolled through and accepted the terms and conditions, we were then informed we had 19 days remaining. However, we weren't quibbling since we didn't need to enter any credit card payment details or go through a complex login.
We were then immediately given access to a 61-strong list of new releases on the site including Lung by Florence and the Machine, launched 3 days ago. At one stage, this paused for a few seconds to buffer, but in general, playback was smooth and uninterrupted. The audio quality of the Logitech Squeezebox Boom is impressive. You can save albums to your Napster Library for later playback - a single press of the Logitech's scrollwheel and it's done.
We liked the fact that you can enjoy a range of live music concerts from archive.org. This took longer to buffer and plays back at a noticeably lower volume. (Naspter also offers a live sessions).
Last.fm, Deezer, Classical.com and Mediafly are also offered while, in the US, Logitech owners also get access to content provided through the Rhapsody network and Pandora. Though this isn't an option outside the United States, you can make use of the Slim Devices Slim Showcase and you can upload music of your own to the SqueezeCenter in order to enjoy it from other places.
Not everything about the Logitech Squeezebox Boom is as intuitive as it should be, however. Because you end up using the scrollwheel for most functions and the back button next to it to go back up through menus, it's all too easy to end up backing out of the network or the Napster library area. This is less of a problem if you use the functional 88x38mm remote control.