Review Price £299.99
Manufacturer: Ultimate Ears
The Logitech UE Air AirPlay Speaker is a strangely branded item. For a start it carries both the Logitech and Ultimate Ears brands, the latter of which has not made a dock before. Secondly it is being promoted as a speaker when it is actually fitted with an Apple dock connector. None of which matters when forces come together like this...
The first thing to say about the Air is it is clearly a labour of love for both companies. Apart from a few iconic exceptions like the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin and Arcam rCube most docks have become variants on a shell/rugby ball theme, but the Air is far more graceful than that. Shaped like a single curved wing, the Air gives the pleasant sense of being familiar but new. If Batman owned a dock, it would be this one.
The Caped Crusader may be tempted to take the Air with him as well since it lives up to its name by weighing just 2.81Kg and measuring only 506 x 152 x 140mm, making it one of the lightest premium docks we've tested. Unfortunately he wouldn't be able to use it on the move since the Air is mains powered only, but it remains easy to shift from room to room in Wayne Manor.
Build quality is good too. An aesthetically pleasing mix of minimal piano black on the top and front slide out dock connector, a matt rear finish (with clear smiley face) to keep away the dust and the dominating material grill covering the front speaker. Those who like to remove their speaker grills should note the Air's is fixed.
Look at that smile...
That shouldn't be a deal breaker, however, as working itself further into our affections is the smart dock. Hidden away when not in use, the connector slides out with a simple press and, unlike much of the competition, it can hold an iPad. It is spring loaded like the excellent connector on the Monitor Audio i-deck 200, which protects both dock and device on connection and disconnection.
Also winning hearts and minds are the tasteful metal dock controls. Minimalism is the order of the day with a large volume wheel flanked by a mute button and a power switch, which doubles up as a source selector with short presses. The obvious question is where are the playback controls, especially since Logitech is a little stingy in not bundling a remote. The answer lies in the 'Air' moniker since the dock has AirPlay built in. This does leave users without Apple products stuck controlling music with their devices (Android users can look to AirSync, but we suspect Logitech isn't targeting this sector given the effort it has spent on its AirPlay integration…
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