Logitech has been on a roll lately with some very nice Apple accessories. Just last week, I raved about their Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2, and today I had an opportunity to blast out tunes with the new Mini Boombox ($99.99).
There's no denying it -- the Mini Boombox is well designed. It's a little curved box that comes in either basic black or a bright, cheerful red. The front is a perforated grill with a tiny Logitech logo that lights up to tell you the status of the Bluetooth connection, the sides are made of a matte material, and the top and bottom are made of a glossy black material. There are rubber feet on the bottom to ensure that your Mini Boombox isn't going move if you really crank up the volume.
In case you're wondering why this little noisemaker costs so much, it's probably due to the touch controls built into that glossy top. There's only one switch on the device -- a small power switch on the back. There's also an auxiliary port for plugging in a non-Bluetooth device, as well as a mini-USB port for charging the Mini Boombox.
The Mini Boombox works with any device that supports the A2DP Bluetooth wireless audio profile, such as the iPad and iPad 2, iPhone 3G and later, and all but the first version of the iPod touch. That auxiliary port will take input from any device with a 3.5 mm audio output.
In addition to pumping out music, the Mini Boombox can also act as a speaker phone, supporting all generations of the iPhone and any other phone that supports the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile (HFP 1.5).
Once the Mini Boombox is out of the box, it's a simple matter of making sure it has a charge or charging it up, turning it on using that switch on the back, and then pairing it with your iPhone or other device. To do so, tap and hold on the Bluetooth / speakerphone icon that is glowing in red on top of the Boombox, and then the Logitech icon on the front of the speaker begins to flash blue and red. At that point, bringing up Settings > General > Bluetooth on your device allows you to pair to the Boombox.
When playing music from your iOS device, you can stream it to the Mini Boombox by tapping the AirPlay icon and selecting the speaker. The sound from the Mini Boombox is surprisingly full for such a small device, including fairly robust bass and clear highs. You're not going to get Bose-quality sound out of the Mini Boombox, but if you're in the market for a Bluetooth speaker, it's definitely worth considering.
During last week's TUAW TV Live, I did a comparison of the sound from an iPhone 4S speaker and the Mini Boombox. You can watch that video at the end of this post starting at 5:22 and see how this little gem works.
While a bit expensive compared to other Bluetooth speakers for iOS devices -- the IPEVO Tubular speakers ($79.00, currently on sale for $59.13) is a good example of bargain brand that works well -- the Mini Boombox is much less expensive than the $299.95 Bose SoundLink or $199.99 Jawbone Jambox. Sure, the Bose SoundLink speaker is incredible, but I'm not sure that I found the sound to be worth the extra $200.
For a balance of small size, excellent battery life, smart design, hidden controls, and price, the Logitech Mini Boombox hits the sweet spot. There's still time to pick up one of these diminutive boomers before the holidays, so get to it!