Ease of Use — 9
The iRig UA is a universal guitar processor and interface for, which is a long-awaited next step for Android users looking for a mobile practice and performance solution for guitar. It is compatible with Android 4.2 or later with USB host mode. The actual device consists of a plastic housing with an LED indicator for clipping, the mini USB output and cable to interface with an Android device, an input for an instrument cable, an auxiliary input, volume control, and a headphone input. The iRig UA is powered via the Android device you interface with, but doesn't seem to draw any significant amount of charge from the device. You can download the Free AmpliTube UA with the purchase of the interface, which includes 5 amps and 9 stompboxes, but is expandable with in app purchases of additional amps and effects, including some licensed Fender and Orange amp models. I had absolutely zero problems using the AmpliTube UA app - it is pretty much plug and play.
Sound — 9
The iRig UA utilizes the AmpliTube UA software, which includes a wide variety of sounds suitable for the vast majority of purposes. While the iRig UA and AmpliTube UA are definitely worthy as a practice tool, they can be used for jamming and even small gigs with the right peripheral gear. I used the IK Multimedia iLoud to amplify the tones I was getting from the iRig UA and AmpliTube UA, and I was easily able to keep up with jamming with my friends in my den - and the tone with AmpliTube was excellent, as usual (I didn't test this with drums, and I think you'd have to find a stronger amplification solution for a full band/full volume situation). If needed you could run the iRig UA to a PA using the iRig Mix or other devices. There were no issues with latency, and as the packaging claims, "zero latency," I did not experience any discernible latency while using the iRig UA and AmpliTube UA at any time. I tested the device with both electric guitar and electric bass guitar, and with passive and active electronics. I've been impressed with the amp simulation provided in the AmpliTube models before, and it is the same with AmpliTube UA, where it reacts like a real amp in responding to pick attack and tweaking the volume control on my guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
In addition to working on Android 4.2 and later with USB host mode, the iRig UA also acts as an audio interface on Android 5. 0 and later. Also, you get a 24-bit converter and a sample rate of 44.1/48kHz, so we're talking professional grade audio. The plastic housing is light, but tough, and should survive any kind of normal wear and tear that you could expect a mobile interface to go through. I have owned IK Multimedia products pretty much since they've had the original iRig available, and I haven't had any of their equipment ever fail on me. I am not exceptionally rough on equipment, but I don't foresee durability being a problem for the iRig UA.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been a fan of IK Multimedia for a while now, mainly because they release awesome products for mobile practice and performance for the modern musician at reasonable price points. On guitar and bass forums you constantly see people asking for an amp suggestion for their college dorm, or small apartment, or something that can travel with them. I always immediately think of IK Multimedia and their iRig products, and the iRig UA now opens that option up to Android users. I like the device quite a bit, and I love the mobile apps that IK Multimedia has available and their continued updates and support of the apps they release. Their amp and effect models continue to get better, the apps continue to become more feature-rich, and they stay affordable. I know that I'll be especially happy when they get the AmpliTube Studio features in the AmpliTube UA app. What is my final impression of this device after a week or so of testing it, practicing with it every day? We're talking about a widely affordable device that can fit in the palm of your hand or in your pants pocket, and provides amp and effect modeling for practice or even performance. It's great.