Logitech's UE Air Speaker uses Apple's wireless AirPlay technology to play streamed music from a compatible iOS device. The UE Air is a large, but good looking speaker system that's ridiculously easy to set up and use, but its sound quality is a little disappointing considering its price tag.
The Logitech UE Air Speaker makes a good first impression. It's a rather large product, measuring over 500mm wide and almost 170mm high, so do keep in mind that you'll need a bit of space to store it. The UE Air is light and is therefore easy to move around should you wish to utilise it in multiple areas of your home. Its minimalist, all-black design is both attractive and functional. Visit Group test: what's the best speaker set?
The fit and finish of the Logitech UE Air is reasonably impressive, but not perfect. We like the gloss black plastic on the top, despite it being a real fingerprint magnet, and the hideaway iOS dock cradle that houses aniPhone, iPad or iPod touch is a nice touch. However, the dock does wiggle from side to side when opened if pressure is applied, which is disappointing given the unit's £299 price tag. See also Philips Fidelio DS9/10 review.
The Logitech UE Air Speaker is one of the simplest products to set up and use that we've ever tested. On top of the glossy piano black unit are three metal controls — a large volume dial with a small dimple for your fingertip in sits in the middle, flanked by a mute button on the left and a power button on the right. A hidden LED to the right of the power button glows green when the unit is on, flashes green in sleep mode and flashes orange when there is a network or firmware issue. Another hidden LED on the front of the dock cradle denotes the same, though this can be hard to see unless you have positioned the UE Air Speaker at head height or above. Our only complaint with the controls is the fact there is no visual volume indicator and the volume dial itself feels a little loose.
The Logitech UE Air Speaker takes about 35 seconds to start up, which is a little slow. However, once you've turned it on, setting up an AirPlay connection is as simple as ever. Simply slide out the cradle and dock your iOS device (connected to your Wi-Fi network) where you will be prompted to install the UE Air app. Then simply enter the Wi-Fi password when prompted and the UE Air speaker will connect with your phone. In addition, you can set up the UE Air to play music from your computer through iTunes by going through a configuration process that takes less than a few minutes.
The Logitech UE Air Speaker doesn't come with a remote control, which makes sense given the fact your iOS device acts as the controller. Given the device also has an auxiliary input for non iOS devices, however, a remote could have come in handy for some users. When it's in sleep mode, the UE Air Speaker can be ready to go in about two seconds, so we recommend not completely turning it off (by holding down the power button for five seconds) unless you aren't planning to use it for a while. When playing music through AirPlay there is a slight delay when changing tracks (about three seconds) and playing a song initially can take up to five seconds.
The sound quality on the Logitech UE Air speaker is best described as well-balanced rather than great, so it will definitely disappoint audiophiles. Volume is loud enough to fill a large room or two, even at around 75 per cent, so this is a system that will suit a small house party. However, turn it up a little louder and there is evident distortion and a lack of clarity. The overall sound is slightly muddy.
On a positive note, the UE Air Speaker produces good detail — particularly in the midrange - offers punchy but not overpowering bass reproduction and its stereo separation is no less lacking than many other all-in-one speaker docks on the market.
One real plus of the Logitech UE Air Speaker is the fact you can adjust normally untouchable bass and treble settings through the app. We found the default settings provided the best balance but users will appreciate the ability to tinker with basic audio elements that Apple doesn't normally allow by default. Turning up the bass too far, however, tends to cloud the midrange more than provide a deeper thump.