Squeezebox Boom Review
|Company Info: Logitech
Supported OS: Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP/Vista; Linux/Unix
Price Paid: $260 @ Amazon
Reviewer: Wayne Eggert
Date: September 20, 2009
I have owned a Squeezebox since the original Slim Devices Squeezebox (reviewed here) came out. I upgraded to the Squeezebox2 in early-2005 (reviewed here) since it supported streaming FLAC music, could connect to the new Squeeze Network they were debuting, and hardware was significantly more powerful. The Squeezebox3 came out toward the end of 2005 with a different chassis design, but the hardware was largely the same aside from different color lens over the vacuum flourescent display causing the text to turn aqua-blue instead of green. Logitech took over the Squeezebox product a few years ago and released the Squeezebox Duet and Squeezebox Boom -- both use much of the same Squeezebox2 Hardware.
Musical Listening Habits
I've got nothing but good things to say about the Squeezeboxes, but I have over the years wondered if it was worth converting all my CDs to FLAC or if I should just use online music services like Rhapsody / Pandora / Last.fm instead. I like having the ability to pick specific songs I want to listen to from my own library where I'm sure it will always be available. At the same time, I like a random genre-oriented radio style where I can "set it and forget it" and have similar music play depending on the artist / song I pick. So what I've ultimately figured for myself is I really need a mix of both local music libraries, online music libraries & random streamed music. I could do all of this from my laptop or desktop if I wanted, but it's a heck of a lot easier having a device dedicated to playing music instead of lugging a laptop & speakers around to different areas of the house.
Your musical listening habits likely differ -- maybe you like the iTunes concept of picking and choosing just one or two songs from each album. Maybe you only want to listen to radio stations. Either way it's good to know that the Squeezebox line can cater to many types of personalities in that it allows you to mix local music libraries with internet libraries and internet radio stations.
Don't Believe The Hype?
I really liked the idea of having the speakers all in one unit -- I could get rid of a huge stereo taking up space in our kitchen and the Boom would look nice on the counter or underneath the kitchen cabinets. The Boom's preset buttons were also a selling point for me. When I get home from work I like the idea of a low-hassle way to play a mix of music I like simply by hitting a preset button. I was still skeptical though of those little speakers -- I've had my share of subpar portable stereos that turn music into noise. With much hesitation I decided to order the Boom to help save some space in the kitchen and figured worst case I could eBay it if it wasn't up to par.
Packaging / Initial Impressions
When I bought the original Squeezebox it came in a white box with "SLIM DEVICES" written on it. If I remember correctly, the Squeezebox2 was a more professional black box with features and other product info listed on it like you'd see on product boxes in retail stores. So it was no surprise that the box design and packaging had changed immensely over the years and a much more professional "retail-ready" box design was creaed after Logitech took over the Squeezebox product. In my case, everything was packed well, but it just so happened that the Squeezebox Boom Amazon sent me looked like it might have been opened (maybe to check contents?). Otherwise, everything looked in new condition.
Here's what comes in the box:
- Squeezebox Boom network music player
- AC adapter
- Wireless infrared remote with battery
- Quick-start guide
- 60CM gold-plated male-to-male stereo mini-jack cable
- Microfiber draw-string bag.
My initial impression of the unit itself was -- wow this thing a lot narrower than I expected it to be (a good thing if you want to tuck it away in small areas). I noticed the "mini-remote" doesn't have very many buttons on it. And the microfiber draw-string bag? What am I going to use this thing for? But.. I could see where if you wanted to bring the Boom along on a vacation trip the bag would be useful in keeping it clean & the screen unscuffed.
Starting It Up
I immediately plugged in the power brick and was greated by the Logitech Squeezebox logo. Since I have had other Squeezeboxes, setup was a breeze -- it found my wireless network and I typed in my network's encryption key (it also supports wired networks). I can't say the setup was really any different from the other Squeezeboxes I've owned -- straightforward and within a few minutes it was connected to my network.
Let's next look at some of the technical specifications of the Boom and ways to control it..
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