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The Squeezebox range has long been at the forefront of the ever growing market for streaming audio devices. Whether the original Squeezebox (then made by Slim Devices) or the latest Squeezebox Duet, with its funky on-remote screen, all bring together a cracking combination of top-notch sound quality, a multitude of features, and supreme ease of use.
However, all previous Squeezeboxes need to be plugged into an existing Hi-Fi to actually get any sound out of them, making them far from a one stop solution. Well, Logitech has now rectified this with the release of the Squeezebox Boom. As well as the circuitry for receiving a digital music stream over a wired or wireless network, the Boom also incorporates an amplifier and array of speakers. So is this the ultimate digital music solution? Let's find out.
As with previous Squeezeboxes, the Boom's styling is simple and elegant with its glossy black body and cuboid shape. Looking at the pictures, you could be forgiven for calling it a little dull but in the flesh the superb build quality and choice of contrasting matt and gloss materials has a definite air of quality to it.
What's more, there are a number of other features that take this already good first impression and raise it to a whole new level. The first is the screen, which uses a fine grid of dots made using Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) technology. This makes it bright, fast reacting, detailed and readable at even the most acute angle. Combined with subtle touches like ambient-light-dependent auto-dimming - the display dims when it's dark - and you have a seriously versatile, easy to use display.
We also love the middle rubber section on the Boom's top. To the front is a snooze/sleep button, which lets you set sleep times of one song or 15/30/45/60 mins and snooze your alarms for 10 mins, but the really neat bit is the recess behind. This houses the remote when it's not in use so, at least in theory, you'll never again be left turning the living room over trying to find it. What's more, the remote is magnetic, which is a nice touch.
The remote itself is actually a bit of a let down, though. Its spongy rubber buttons and lightweight plastic construction just lacks the finesse of the rest of the unit leaving it looking almost out of place. At least it functions as you'd expect and has a decent range. There's even a dedicated snooze/sleep button so you don't have to get out of bed before rolling over for another ten minutes beauty sleep.