UE (Ultimate Ears) already has a couple of portable wireless speakers in its arsenal: the “Mini Boom” and “Boom.”
The latter is a firm office favourite and five-star product, and the range has recently spawned a big brother, the mightily named UE Megaboom.
Build and design
To look at, you’d think this was simply a larger version of the much-loved Boom. And you’d be pretty much right. It shares the same cylindrical design and styling, including the natty ‘plasma-coated’ finish, which UE claims is stain and water resistant.
The speaker is topped and tailed in a rubberised, matt material, which also runs down the middle of the unit, incorporating a couple of volume controls as it goes. On top of the speaker are power and pairing buttons (you can also pair using NFC on compatible smartphones). On the bottom, you’ve got a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a micro-USB socket for charging.
More after the break
The volume buttons run down the middle, which makes adjusting them somewhat awkward
One thing to point out here is that it’s tricky listening to the speaker while its charging. You really need to lie it on its side or position it upside down, neither of which does the sound any favours. On the plus side, once charged, you should be able to enjoy around 20 hours of uninterrupted playback, unless you need to take a phonecall using the built-in mic.
The speaker is designed to stand upright, so using the volume controls means gripping the speaker and giving them a firm press. Press and hold both buttons and the speaker chirps up, telling you the percentage of battery life left.
Of course, you’re more likely to alter the volume via your smartphone, which also shows a battery-life indicator for the UE...
Features and settings
You’ll need to download UE’s app for iOS and, which opens up all the speaker’s extra features such as the alarm clock function and “Double Up”. Double Up does what it says on the tin, and allows you to hook up two Megabooms together (or one Mega and one normal Boom) to listen in stereo.
The app also gives you access to the UE’s sound settings. There are four presets in total: ‘The Standard’, ‘Bass Jump’, ‘Cramped Spaces’ and ‘Voices’. We’d steer clear of the last three. They play around with the sound balance, but in our opinion don’t improve sound quality – indeed, in most instances, they make it sound worse.
We’d stick with The Standard or, if you want to turn the bass down a notch, tap the Custom mode and drop the EQ levels to zero.
Start with some classic hip-hop - Grandmaster Flash’s White Lines does the trick - and the UE’s punchy, energetic delivery comes straight to the fore. The track’s bassline sounds weighty and taut (but never megaboomy, happily) and the speaker never skips a beat.
The Megaboom’s ability to disperse sound really stands out too, and you’re able to enjoy a decent spread from various positions. Even with this great expanse of sound, the UE still manages to keep its composure and focus.
There’s solidity and precision through the bass, the midrange and treble. It’s an enthusiastic listen, bristling with life. Music is well balanced, even if the very high-end isn’t the ultimate in refinement. Playing a spot of classical music proves the Megaboom has a more subtle, delicate side too.
Sooth your senses with a few excerpts from Swan Lake and the UE’s happy to slow the pace, and let its excellent dynamics take over. Strings and woodwind instruments rise and fall as the tune flows along.
The Megaboom is a great addition to UE’s family of wireless speakers and it’s arguably the most polished performer in the range.
Battery life and build quality are excellent, and whether you use it indoors or outside, you’re in for a musical treat.