Logitech purchased the Ultimate Ears headphone line way back in 2008. Since then, slowly but surely, the UE logo has been creeping in as the upscale Logitech audio brand -- witness the UE AirPlay speaker from earlier this year.
As of today, the Logitech UE branding officially goes large with the introduction of seven new audio products. Among the new models are two mobile Bluetooth speakers, three new headphones with memory foam cushions, a noise-isolating in-earphone with four-armature speakers in each earpiece, and the next evolution of the Squeezebox Radio powered by Logitech UE's new mobile companion app.
Logitech UE Mobile Boombox
Logitech's first crack at the Mini Bluetooth Boombox didn't quite hit the mark in terms of design, but the sequel sees plenty of design improvements and a slightly improved sound profile while maintaining the old $99 price tag, making it an ideal companion speaker for music lovers on a budget. Smaller than the Jawbone Jambox, the tough UE Mobile Boombox comes in lime, red, blue, black, and white and carries the unique ability to connect two devices at the same time.
The Mobile Boombox can pair with up several devices at a time -- we're thinking a smartphone, an iPad, and a Bluetooth-enabled laptop fit the bill. With so many mobile Bluetooth speakers emerging in the market, however, its "canned" sound doesn't do much to separate it from the pack. If you've already purchased last year's model, there's no need to upgrade -- but if you're in the market for a small sub-$100 Bluetooth speaker (with speakerphone), put this one on your short list.
Logitech UE Boombox
Want to step up from the tiny Mobile Boombox? The $250 Logitech UE Boombox certainly fits the bill. Consider this the spiritual successor to the Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad, but the company has retooled the hardware from the ground up to support eight internal drivers and a sophisticated new appearance that should turn heads.
Its sculpted construction, logical simplicity, and booming sound earn this device a solid recommendation for music lovers shopping for an audio solution to use in and out of the home.
Logitech UE Smart Radio
The Logitech UE Smart Radio is the next generation of the company's Squeezebox Radio music player. That 2009 model was a favorite of ours for years -- sort of a "poor man's Sonos," with easy streaming of most music services such as Pandora, Spotify, and Rhapsody, as well as thousands of free online radio stations. The UE Smart Radio is essentially the same hardware device, but the user interface has been updated. Similarly, a new Logitech UE Smart Radio Controller app for iOS and Android devices will enable easy remote control over your Wi-Fi network. Look for a full review with comparisons to the legacy model coming to CNET soon. (Logitech says owners of the existing model will get the same software update and app support soon.)
Logitech UE 4000
The Logitech UE 4000 headphones are the smallest and most basic in terms of features out of the three new headphones debuting today, but that's not to say that they aren't worth the $100. All three, including this model, include breathable memory foam cushions (yes, like the ones in your mattress and pillow sets), but this on-ear model also includes a separate headphone splitter with a keychain dongle attachment so you can share music with a friend or a soon-to-be friend without suffering through mono audio.
A microphone and navigation buttons sit near the top of the electric blue cable to complement your smartphone, and a zippered travel pouch provides some protection against the elements in your bag. Full review coming soon.
Logitech UE 6000 Headphones
These are Logitech and Ultimate Ears' answer to the trend of larger over-ear headphones with active noise-canceling technology. Priced at $200 retail, they're much cheaper than the classic Beats by Dre. Studio headphones but still feature a similar foldable design and breathable cushions.
We haven't had a chance to get them in the labs for a full test just yet, but we're already favoring them over the Beats because you can still listen to them even when the battery runs out. Another advantage is that Logitech ships them with a generous two-year hardware warranty with replacements available if they break.
Logitech 9000 Wireless Headphones
The Logitech 9000 Wireless Headphones give both active noise-cancellation and wireless Bluetooth technology in one $399 headphone. That's a lofty price tag for one device, so we'll be sure to put it up against other units in its class when we get a test unit, but for now the specs sound impressive -- memory foam cushions with rotating joints for durability and comfort, Bluetooth wireless with the option of using an included cable for better fidelity or battery conversation, and active noise cancellation that filters out ambient noise. Anyone else thinking these will be popular with frequent fliers?
The external earcups have buttons to control track navigation and volume as well as playback, and the partnership with Ultimate Ears means you'll supposedly get audiophile sound quality with Logitech's research and design. We'll keep you updated with a full review, on its way.
Logitech UE 900 Headphones
We only get one new set of Ultimate Ears earbuds this time around, but the Logitech UE 900 is the new flagship in the lineup, with four armature speakers driving each earpiece and three-way crossover. For all you non-audiophiles unfamiliar with the term, "crossover" refers to a network of controls that feeds unidirectional frequencies to their corresponding signals. Each frequency gets its own dedicated signal for a "well-rounded, textured sound," according to the manufacturer.
We'll test that claim once we get our hands on an evaluation unit. From its time making headphones, Ultimate Ears carries with it an innate understanding of a headphone's pain points and thus includes two detachable, braided cables (one with a microphone and navigation controls, one without) to use in case one fails. They're also generous with the amount of tips they include with the headset, and you'll get five silicone tips and three Comply-branded foam tips -- with the eight different size and material options, Logitech UE claims the 900s will boast a "universal fit." We'll see -- keep checking back with CNET for a full review.