What is so great about this Squeezebox is the fact that it comes with speakers, eliminating the need for any additional hardware. All a user has to do is to plug in the Boom to the mains, connect the Ethernet (if there are no wireless networks available), adjust the settings for the first time, and you are done.
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The Boom is compact and only takes up a small part of your desk. The control panel, as well as the screen, are located up front, making it easy to instantly change the unit's settings.
The control panel consists of six preset buttons (that allow quick access to favourite tracks, Internet Radio stations, playlists, or albums), a Power button, a large wheel for scrolling, a back button to revert to a previous menu, a play button, and a button that adds a track to the end of your current playlist. It also comes with a volume rocker as well as rewind, pause, and forward buttons for added music playback control.
On top of the unit is a Sleep button that has two functions -- pressing and holding during normal use activates the sleep timer, while pressing it while the unit's alarm is sounding activates the snooze function. The small aperture found on top of the device acts as a dock for the remote.
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Finally, users can find a line-in jack, headphone and sub-out port, Ethernet, and AC port at the rear of the unit.
As soon as the unit is connected to the Internet, it will give you a PIN code that you have to input when creating your SqueezeNetwork account. Doing this will immediately activate your Boom, giving you access to online music services (Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius, Last.FM, etc.), Internet Radio, and even Podcasts.
Besides being able to stream audio from the Internet, the Boom can also play music tracks stored on any server or networked computer using 'SqueezeCenter.' This proprietary program is about 37MB (Version 7.2) and must be installed to the computer that stores your audio files. After installation, the program will automatically scan your 'Music Folder' and 'Playlists Folder' (all assigned) for all compatible files (MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, WAV, and AIFF) and will be ready to push audio files straight to the Boom. The only files that the unit cannot play are DRM-Locked songs, which are files purchased from an online music store like iTunes.
The SqueezeNetwork and SqueezeCenter can remotely control your Squeezebox Boom, which is good if you are currently near a computer. If you are nowhere near a computer though, the Boom can be controlled via the main panel or by remote control.
The remote control sports a simple layout but is easy to use. Buttons present include power, sleep, home, play, add, four-way navigation keys, volume up and down, rewind, pause, and forward. The back part of the remote is also magnetised, which is useful if you want to stick it onto a metallic surface (so that you don't lose it).
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The Boom fared well during our audio test: streamed music sounded clear and crisp, it did not distort at high volumes, and rocked any small room. Of course, because of the size of the speakers, the Boom can only be pushed so much, so users who want better sound quality should go for another Squeezebox product and hook it up to a bigger system.
Finally, the Boom comes with an alarm clock function that is customisable: it can let you choose which days the alarm will go off, adjust the alarm sound (current playlist, playlists, random mix, musical sounds, natural sounds, and sound effects), and can even repeat the alarm if necessary.
Overall, Logitech's Squeezebox Boom is a great device to have in any small room. The unit will be available in early October with an RRP of $499.95.
See page over for product specifications and final rating.
Logitech Squeezebox Boom Specifications:
- Â¾-inch high-definition, soft-dome tweeters and 3-inch high-power, long-throw woofers
- Bi-amplified design with all-digital signal path, high-performance PWM processor, class D amplifiers and digital electronic crossover
- StereoXL technology widens the soundstage beyond the physical boundaries of the speaker
- 6-button presets allow one touch access to favourite radio stations and playlists
- 7-day alarm clock
- Infrared remote control
- Bright, high-contrast VFD display with ambient light sensor and auto-dimming
- Built-in 802.11g wireless with dual internal antennas
- 10/100 Base-T Ethernet port
- Line-in via 3.5mm stereo jack
- Headphone/subwoofer out via 3.5mm connector
- Plays MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, FLAC, Apple lossless, WMA Lossless, WAV, and AIFF music files
- Connects to your home network to access music stored on your computer via SqueezeCenter or Internet Radio, and music services via SqueezeNetwork.
Logitech Squeezebox Boom | $499.95 | | www.msicomputer.com.au
For: Built-in Wi-Fi; Easy to install and use; Small form factor; Networkable; Can stream audio stored on computer; Instant access to Internet radio and music services; Simple magnetised remote
Against: Cannot play DRM-locked audio files; Interface takes some time to get used to
Conclusion: A Logitech Squeezebox with built-in speakers.