Saturday June 24, 2017

Squeezebox Boom Review

Short-comings
The Squeezebox Boom is a great device, but as with any device you're going to hit the mark with some users, completely miss with other users, and come somewhere just short of hitting the mark with most of the users.  The idea is to come as close to hitting the mark with the biggest portion of your users as you can and I think Logitech has achieved this.

Here are some short-comings I found with this device:

1. Not really a "portable boom box"
You can't power the Boom with batteries, it must be plugged into a wall outlet.  There's no handle like a normal Boom box would have.  This didn't affect me, as I don't plan on walking down the street with the Boom blaring, but I could see why some people are disappointed when they realize it's not as portable as it seems.

2. No "Home" button on the front control panel
The "Home" button takes you to the main menu screen, so it's odd there's no "Home" button on the front control panel.  There's a "Back" button, and I've found holding this button down gets you back to the main menu pretty quick.  I was still surprised the remote has this button but the front panel doesn't.  It's just a small gripe.

3. Mini-remote is really only useful for volume/skipping
Without any letter/number buttons on the mini remote, it's kinda useless for typing in any search queries.  I see it as very useful for controlling volume and skipping songs from across the room, so I'm glad it's included.  Just don't plan on using the remote for more than simple menu navigations.

4. Display Screen / VFD is a tad small
I'm used to the larger VFD on my Squeezebox2 and being able to see it pretty easily from across the room is nice.  The Squeezebox Boom's screen isn't horribly small, but it's definitely smaller than my Squeezebox2's screen.  But you know what?  The Boom's mainly targeted toward kitchens, bedrooms and outdoor BBQ's, not to sit on an entertainment center and be seen from far across the room.

5. No Digital Audio Out
I really wish it had digital audio out.  I don't know why -- I probably wouldn't use it anyway, but having it available on all the previous Squeezeboxes I've had.. it felt like I was taking a step backward.  The nice thing is the Boom's speakers sound so great I can easily overlook this since I didn't have to resort to hooking it up to a separate stereo.

That's all I can think of right now.  All of these are just small short-comings I saw with the device.


What I Loved
There's a lot to love about the Squeezebox Boom.  It's worked out perfectly for me and I just wanted to take a few moments to highlight a few of the things I really liked about this device and overall functionality.

1. Boom is a Beast!
The Boom's got some good weight to it.  Not so much you need a forklift to carry it, but just enough that when you're pressing the front control buttons it's not sliding all around on a countertop or nightstand.  It's amazing, but some companies don't put thought into that kind of stuff and produce some really cheap feather-light device that requires you to hold it with your other hand whenever you press buttons.  Not so for the Boom!  Press buttons to your hearts content and it's not going anywhere.

2. Magnetic "remote holder" on top
Thank you Logitech, for realizing the mini-remote you included can easily get lost or knocked off the Boom by my cat.  The top of the Boom is magnetized and the remote clings to the top of it.  What a great idea!

3. Presets!!  I love my presets!
I used to have an XM Radio and forgot how nice it is to have a one-click button to play a favorite station.  Six doesn't seem like many, but you can switch them out easily any time you want or use the menus to access other favorites.

4. The Knob
If they had used directional arrows instead of a knob, I might have given the controls a bad review.  Especially with not having any letters/numbers on the remote.  But the knob works.. and it works very well.  You can spin that sucker around and zip through the alphabet.  I usually spin it fast to get near the letter I want then go slow.  It makes a faint click noise as you turn it, so you get some audible feedback of how many letters you've gone.  Who'd have thought I'd have yet *another* way to control my music!


Things I Can't Comment On (yet)

1. Alarm Clock - I don't need the Boom to function as an alarm clock so haven't even tried it out.  Maybe in the future I'll use this feature to have it automatically start playing music just before I get home.


Overall
The Squeezebox Boom is another high quality Squeezebox product.  I use it practically every day cause I'm always in my kitchen for at least an hour or two and can easily click a preset button to start playing music I like without any fuss.  The music carries into adjacent rooms too.. just don't plan on having it fill your *entire* house with music.  With that said, for its size it really packs a punch!

If you're looking to compliment an existing Squeezebox setup and fill in some gaps where sound doesn't reach, the Boom is perfect.  If you don't have a computer and want to easily stream internet radio, the Boom is perfect.  If you want to be able to have a portable Squeezebox setup you can easily carry around to any wall outlet, the Boom is again pefect.  If you want to blast music for a large party or at a club where huge speakers are a must.. you probably want to look elsewhere.


Ease of Use: 4.5/5.0
Build Quality: 5.0/5.0
Usefulness: 5.0/5.0
Sound Quality: 4.5/5.0


Final Rating (rounded to nearest .5): 5.0/5.0

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