Home / TVs & Audio / Portable Audio / Logitech UE Smart Radio / Sound Quality and Verdict

Logitech UE Smart Radio - Sound Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Logitech UE Smart Radio – Improvements

The most significant upgrade the Logitech UE Smart Radio gets is an internal battery – which was only an optional extra with the Squeezebox. This will last for up to six hours’ playback, dramatically increasing the portability of this dinky radio.

A battery does dilute the messaging of the Smart UE Radio a bit, though. If it’s a radio that’s tied to a Wi-Fi network, is a battery all that useful? Of course it is.

For use out in the garden, in the bath or just between rooms, the internal battery comes in hugely handy. And a little recess in the rear of the radio’s body makes it super-portable too. It’s not entirely wedded to wireless, either. There’s a 3.5mm input on the UE Smart radio, letting you plug-in virtually any audio source. Bluetooth connectivity is not included, however, so if you’re out of range of Wi-Fi, you’re back to relying on wires.

Logitech UE Smart Radio – Sound Quality

Most radios the size of the Logitech UE Smart radio use a single speaker driver, usually a 3-inch cone. Although this radio doesn’t go as far as including stereo speakers, it does feature a 3/4-inch tweeter.

The effect of this tweeter is immediately apparent. The UE Smart Radio sound is far more detailed and critical than most small sets. Bass is punchy too, and volume impressive for such a dinky box. Even at high volumes, the Smart Radio keeps it together too. Mid-range tonality isn’t great – flat and texture-less - but there are always going to be compromises with an audio gadget this small and affordable.

With higher-quality content, the UE Smart Radio sounds good, wiping the floor with most rival radios. However, the problem is that the increased treble presence of the tweeter highlights the dismal bit-rates that many internet radio stations are broadcast at.

Even well-known stations can sound like a mess. It’s more evidence that if you’re not planning on using a dedicated music streaming service or connecting to your computer’s music collection, you might as well not bother.

Logitech UE Smart Radio – Value

Although the Logitech UE Smart Radio sells for roughly the same price as the Squeezebox Radio, its near-identical twin, we shouldn’t complain too much that there hasn’t been a price drop in the three years since the introduction of that model. This “new” radio features an internal battery, worth over £20 by itself. And several non-connected radios without batteries cost around £100. However, the UE Smart Radio could benefit from more optimisation on both hardware and software.

Verdict

The Logitech UE Smart Radio is almost exactly the same as the Squeezebox Radio, released in 2009. You get an internal battery and updated software, but Logitech hasn’t messed to much with the original formula. There’s still progress to be made, but with few low-cost alternatives out there, it’s a top choice. Good sound quality, solid integration of most of the UK’s top streaming services and flexible hardware earn the Smart Radio a thumbs-up.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Usability 7
  • Value 8

Chris Beach

January 19, 2013, 9:05 am

Its a pity that Logitech seem to have decimated the SlimDevices brand and range. When they were bought they had the tiny devices for those with amps/speakers, radios like this, and boomboxes for those wanting better sound but didn't have a hifi. Basically like Sonos but cheaper and with better management software (as its so open people can continue to add stuff).

I don't know why Logitech didn't think there was a market for multi-room audio.

Luckily the original devices are still available in places :)

torjs99

January 19, 2013, 11:47 am

21st century and not stereo?

toboev

January 19, 2013, 2:34 pm

I see these sort of boxes as bedside radio-alarms. For that use stereo is irrelevant. I would like to see in the reviews some analysis of 'fitness for (various) purposes' -

eg, the device works well as a bedside unit because (screen readable from all angles, not too bright/intelligent dimming options, 7-day alarm options, easy to control whilst bleary eyed, friendly UI to make BBC podcasts easy to find, transport controls for podcasts...)
the device works poorly as a main room unit because...no stereo, poor remote, screen unreadable from a distance,...whatever..

PS the above is all conjecture - I have no idea whether this thing has a remote or 7-day alarms etc. I'm just trying to illustrate my point about fitness for purposes.

ianb11

January 22, 2013, 8:52 am

why would you read the screen when the remote has all the information displayed. The remote can be an iphone, ipad or android device. The unit sounds great.

I would prefer a better BBC app with all stations and podcasts.

lyndaler

December 15, 2013, 3:49 pm

Initially thought it would solve the problem of static in an area of the house that is problematical. I'm not sure whether we bought a lemon or it is just inconsistent. We get choices some days that we don't get on others. Some days, though networks are 'repaired' and we have 'connection' to our internet, we can't get any Internet Radio....not even the heading. Sometimes choices disappear for days. VERY inconsistent. Am ready to punt it. Would never buy another. Not as intuitive as some people may believe.

comments powered by Disqus