Setting up AirPlay on the Logitech UE Air is unlike anything we have seen before and we hope it will be the model for all docks going forward. Plug your Apple device into the dock connector and it prompts you to install the UE Air app. Open this and the dock is detected, along with the Wi-Fi network you are using. Type the network’s password into the app, this is sent to the dock and you’re done. We did have some quirks getting the app to recognise our D-Link DIR-645 SmartBeam router, but it worked without a hitch on others so we suspect this will be ironed out in a future app update.
As for the app itself, it doesn’t offer the level of acoustic control seen in the app for the Libratone Live, but there is bass and treble adjustment. Setup is slightly more involved with a PC as you have to connect to the Air’s dedicated Wi-Fi (part of the AirPlay spec) and direct your browser to an internal IP address (192.168.1.12), but from there it is also a simple case of following the onscreen instructions. Rivals take note.
A combination of factors had us worried about the dock’s sound quality. Logitech and UE have not made a premium dock before and both companies took a leaf out of Bose’s book neglecting to divulge any concrete specifications other than it has a 2.0 speaker arrangement with “dual tweeters and woofers”. Happily those fears were unfounded.
The Air is not the best dock we’ve heard, but it is extremely competent. Most admirable is its balance between bass and midrange. Many docks sacrifice the midrange believing the detail provided by the treble and the power provided by the bass can mask the shortcomings in the depth of sound the midrange gives. As a result the Air has a scale of sound that belies its lightweight proportions. Output doesn’t match powerhouses like the Zeppelin Air (150W), Libratone Live (150W) and i-deck 200 (140W), but it will fill a living room or entertain a moderately boisterous house party.
Where the shortcomings lie are at maximum volume where the dock loses some composure and detail and on particularly bass heavy tracks where the lack of a dedicated bass driver sees it come up short, reducing drive and emotion. There is also the common problem of sound separation that affects most docks (the speakers are too close together to generate a full stereo effect), but it isn’t as troubling as it was on the mono-esque Klipsch G-17 for example.
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