Launches & Lunches – Logitech UE Event, Friday November 20, James, 18 Stanley St, Auckland
THE SECOND TECH launch event of the week also doubled as a Christmas party for Logitech staff and their PR company, favoured suppliers, guests, and journalistic hacks like me (he-he).
The setting was altogether more intimate than LG’s bombastic affair – impossibly leggy promo girls with ear to ear smiles strutted around offering a selection of meaty canapes, a relatively ‘differently’ dressed couple spontaneously broke into an expertly choreographed dance routine before my eyes, while Jason Kerrison was there for a half hour belting out an acoustic set before jetting off to his next media engagement in Queenstown.
That by itself may have been enough for most, but for this gadget-obsessed observer, the stars of the show were Logitech’s new Ultimate Ears (UE) product range.
Initially comprising two Bluetooth audio ‘boomboxes’, the WiFi
UE Smart Radio and three new headphones, these new products represent Logitech’s first UE salvo on the NZ market.
The larger UE Boombox can pair up to eight devices (and connect to three at the same time) and has no less then two tweeters and woofers, and four passive radiators contained within its funky enclosure. A battery life of up to six hours should ensure plenty of beach-time music before the Coppertone runs out. Retail pricing is set at $349.90 so it’s not exactly a budget product, but initial listening (amidst the clinking of glasses and general hubbub) suggested the Boombox was a pretty good sounding device with plenty of ‘welly’.
The much smaller (read – tiny) UE Mobile Boombox contains two miniscule 1-inch full range drivers, can pair up to eight Bluetooth devices as per its larger stablemate (it’ll connect to two at the same time) and has a claimed 10 hour battery life. Available in a range of wild colours, the Mobile Boombox has a RRP of $149.90 and is a perfect Xmas stocking filler for loony teenagers, or those of us who are still young and loony at heart.
The new headphone range comprised of the on-ear UE 4000 and around-ear UE 6000 and 9000 – I didn’t get much of a chance with the entirely passive 4000 – but the top two noise-canceling models sounded impressive in what was a pretty noisy environment. I spent the most time with the 9000, and the design aesthetic and build were spot on: these are also Bluetooth enabled. Sadly, I didn’t have enough
time to pair my review Huawei Smartphone to try them out using this connection.
Last but not least, the sad demise of Logitech’s range of Squeezebox music streamers (sniff) has spawned a much simpler device in the shape of
the new UE Smart Radio. As well as its ability to stream internet radio, the Smart Radio is also able to stream music from a PC or Mac – hopefully it’s this fact that may pave the way for the introduction of products designed for critical music listening (a la Squeezebox Touch) and not just a bedroom or patio blaster. Still, with a rechargeable six-hour battery life and a RRP of $299.99 the Smart Radio should find its way into a lot of homes. Android and iPhone apps are available for free from their respective app stores.
Of course, all this wining and dining has to lead somewhere, so Mr Kramer already has the UE Boombox in his hot little hands while I’ll hopefully pick up the UE Smart Radio and a pair of UE 9000’s within the next few weeks. Watch this space. GARY PEARCE