Ultimate Ears UE Boom Review
This Bluetooth speaker has good battery life and a pleasant sound if you add a little bass. As a bonus, it is resistant to splashing water.
Ultimate Ears UE Boom: the promise
The UE Megaboom ‘s little sister, the Ultimate Ears UE Boom, is a cylindrical Bluetooth speaker that, according to the manufacturer, broadcasts 360-degree sound thanks to two active speakers 3.8 cm in diameter and two more 5 cm liabilities. Designed to be used on the move, the UE Boom incorporates a battery whose autonomy would be around 15 hours. Another specificity is resistance to splashing water.
- Good autonomy
- Ability to offer true stereo
- Water-resistant case
- High price
Ultimate Ears UE Boom: the reality
With about 530 grams on the scale, 6.5 cm in diameter, and 18 cm in height, the UE Boom is a speaker that is easily transported in a bag. And on the design side, Ultimate Ears has something for everyone since it offers its speaker in twenty-four different colors.
Hiccups in the design
The Ultimate Ears UE Boom is resistant to splashing water (IPx4 certification), but beware; it is not waterproof. Avoid dropping it in the pool. Small design flaw, the micro USB and audio jack connectors are placed “under the box.” It is, therefore, necessary to put the UE Boom in a horizontal position to listen to music via a wired audio connection.
At the same time, the layout of the speakers is intended for vertical use. Again, we thought about placing it upright, connectors up, but this time, it’s an obvious design concern that poses a problem for us, especially since it spoils the sound reproduction a bit. Too bad also that the cover of the connectors is small and removable, hence a risk of loss.
Wireless and hassle-free, even with two sources
Using the UE Boom is very simple with its two large volume buttons and two buttons for switching on and Bluetooth pairing. If your mobile device has the NFC function, this last operation is carried out by a simple touch. Tom-tom rolls indicate small originality, the start-up, and the speaker’s pairing! Note that the UE Boom can connect simultaneously to two mobile devices, but you have to interrupt the audio playback to start that of the other.
Good sound quality, but bass to be reinforced
According to our measurements, for such a small speaker, the UE Boom sends heavy 102.4 dB. In other words, quite enough power for a sound system in a large room. Moreover, we did not notice any saturation, even at full speed. Still, we refrain from sending the watts in practice because, volume up, the treble takes over, and the sound becomes garish.
Moreover, the quality is quite good at a more reasonable volume, with detail, but the rendering is a little cold because it lacks bass. As a result, we had to use our tablet’s equalizer and boost the frequencies to 60Hz and, to a lesser extent, 150Hz, to add warmth to the sound.
In this configuration, the sound reproduction is excellent for all types of music. Is the promise of 360 degrees sound kept? Partly yes, because the sound quality remains good, regardless of the listener’s position around the speaker. On the other hand, stereo reproduction is no longer the same. We had to position the speaker vertically with the volume buttons in front of us for optimal rendering.
The UE Boom offers good battery life.
While traveling, the Ultimate Ears speaker offers less autonomy than the manufacturer’s data according to our test criteria. However, the performance is slightly above average with around 11 h 30 min (with a sufficient noise level for a small room). Enough to spend several evenings without recharging via the micro USB main charger. To not be taken aback, press the two-volume buttons for a female voice to indicate (in French) the remaining battery level.
Practical, the UE Boom has a microphone for answering phone calls and offers decent sound quality in conversation. Too bad it does not have a button to take the call.
A practical and well-designed application
The manufacturer also offers a free application for iOS and Android. Pleasant to use, the UE Boom app has an equalizer with four predefined modes and a custom setting. It transforms the speaker into an alarm clock with the choice of time, volume, and music to be played (audio file stored on the mobile device).
If you have two speakers, the application can associate them according to two modes, stereo (one as a left speaker and the other as a right speaker) or dual (both speakers send the same sound). The only downside, the battery level is not directly displayed on the home screen and requires going to a menu.
THE VERDICT OF THE TEST
The UE Boom is a compact and practical speaker to go on a walk. It delivers good quality sound, but you’ll have to add a bit of bass via the player’s equalizer. Autonomy is far from equaling its big sister (46 hours), but it remains satisfactory. If you are won over by one of the 24 colors available, you should not be disappointed by its performance.