Sonos Move 2 vs Ultimate Ears Epicboom: which burly beast is best?

Sonos has built much of its reputation on its range of premium smart speakers, so much so that the American brand remains a market leader in this particular field. If you want refined home audio within a fantastically adept ecosystem, Sonos is often the ideal place to start. 

We liked the original Sonos Move model, granting it four stars at release, and despite an inflated price tag, the Move 2 is another fine addition to the Sonos stable. Like its predecessor, it's a large portable speaker, but it's more the sort of thing that you carry from one room to another and then set down rather than stick in your backpack and lug around for an entire day-long excursion. 

The Ultimate Ears Epicboom, meanwhile, is similar in size and shape to the Move 2, albeit with a lower price tag and a smaller raft of in-built features. They might look similar, but there's a lot that could separate these two capable performers when it comes to making an informed consumer decision. 

Sonos Move 2 vs UE Epicboom: price

Portable speaker: Sonos Move 2

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

We won't sugarcoat it: the Sonos Move 2 does not come cheap. The hefty semi-portable launched earlier this year for £449 / $449 / AU$749, and we can't see the price dropping any time soon. The Black Friday sales in November might see some cheeky deals pull that inflated price tag down a bit, but we'd advise that you don't hold your breath.

The Ultimate Ears Epicboom, meanwhile, is about a hundred quid cheaper, boasting a test price of £330 / $350/ AU$500. It's still a premium price to pay for a portable Bluetooth speaker, mind you. Considering it's so fresh to the market, we'd be surprised if that price dropped at all before next year.

** Winner: Ultimate Ears Epicboom**

Sonos Move 2 vs UE Epicboom: design

Ultimate Ears Epicboom

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Move 2 is sold as a portable Bluetooth speaker, but it's a far cry from the small-form daintiness of the five-star JBL Flip 6 or the funky Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3. A sort of mini-monolith around which tiny Pagans might worship were they so inclined, the Move 2 is similar in size and shape to a mid-sized domestic appliance. You could conceivably lug it to a barbecue or wedding party, but it's designed to be the sort of thing you move from room to room or maybe out into your own back garden via the recessed carry handle on the back.

On the surface, the Move 2 is very similar in appearance to the original model, sporting Sonos' fine build quality alongside an impressive IP56 water- and dust-proof rating. If you do bring it outside, it won't be vulnerable to the elements. 

The icons and touch controls on top have been redesigned to match the Era 100 and Era 300 speakers, including the neat volume slider. The buttons around the back for power, Bluetooth pairing and mic on/off have been reworked as well, and there's a rather tasteful olive green finish to complement the usual white and black options.

The UE, meanwhile, is pretty similar to the Move 2 in terms of form and design. If anything, we'd expect an Ultimate Ears product to be a world apart from Sonos' aesthetic playbook, but it's pretty restrained considering the colourful designs we're used to seeing from UE. If anything, we're slightly disappointed that it doesn't go further in the funky stakes. 

Again, the Epicboom is a robust mini-monolith that pushes the bounds of what you’d consider portable without entirely straying from its brief. Could you take it out on a walk? Yes, but it’s better used as a semi-stationary speaker that can be carried to a location and then set down for the day, rather than as a handheld that quite literally goes wherever you do. It is a fair bit lighter than the Move 2, and there's a small strap at the back to help carry it around.

Like the Sonos Move 2, though, it's more than capable of dealing with the elements should they become an issue. With an IP67 rating and the ability to float in water, this is still very much a go-anywhere unit, with the Epicboom surviving a dip in our office sink without smoking at the edges. It retained a bit of water after testing, though, so just be wary of that before you start dunking with abandon.

Overall, though, the Move 2 is a little classier, a little fancier and, ultimately, a little more premium in its design. 

** Winner: Sonos Move 2 **

Sonos Move 2 vs UE Epicboom: features

Ultimate Ears Epicboom

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Move 2 is more than just a Bluetooth speaker. The feature-laden Sonos Move 2 supports 24-bit/48kHz hi-res music files from Qobuz and Amazon Music, whereas Alexa and Sonos Voice Control are on hand for hands-free playback. With AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth streaming compatibility, it scores big over the Epicboom when it comes to connectivity and playback options.

One of the Move 2's biggest improvements is battery life, which now stands at an impressive 24 hours, over double the 10-11 hours we were able to squeeze from the original Move model. That battery, incidentally, is replaceable, while a wireless charging base is included in the box.

The Move 2 also has the considerable boon of being compatible with the excellent, user-friendly and comprehensive Sonos app, which makes set-up and pairing an absolute breeze. You get access to many streaming services through the app, while there's scope to add the Move 2 into a greater Sonos multi-room. Additionally, Sonos’s Trueplay room calibration tuning for adjusting the Move 2's sound to where it's placed in a room (or outdoors) is a useful feature.

The cheaper Epicboom isn't quite as impressive on this front, as it's 'only' a Bluetooth speaker and doesn't have the streaming smarts of the Sonos. What it does have for its portable needs is a handy Outdoor Mode, which further boosts the Epicboom’s sound when played in the great outdoors by offering up an extra 1dB of power for a less bassy, more forthright sound profile.

Battery life of 17 hours or so for the Epicboom is decent, but it’s comfortably beaten by the Move 2's 24. The Epicboom does have its own UE app, which allows pairing with multiple other UE models such as the Boom 3, the Megaboom 3, the Hyperboom or even another Epicboom. It's pleasant, intuitive and easy to use, but it's not as in-depth or as feature-laden as the excellent Sonos platform. 

Ultimately, the Epicboom isn't on the Sonos Move 2’s level when it comes to offering a truly refined ecosystem or as many wireless streaming options, but it fulfils its brief with standard Bluetooth features and more of a focus on outdoor use, ruggedness and intuitiveness. A win for the Move 2, though, feels inevitable. 

** Winner: Sonos Move 2 **

Sonos Move 2 vs UE Epicboom: sound

Ultimate Ears Epicboom sitting on a chair

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Move 2 is an improvement on the original Move, adding layers of musical interest and excitement while still spreading sound impressively with power and detail. Sonically, it's a hugely capable performer.  

For parties, in particular, it's a real blast. Songs are thrown around with abandon, and it has no trouble staying composed while raising the roof. There's more grip and depth to the bass than the original Move, while notes sound cleaner and more precise, and there's real meat and richness to the unit's general sonic tone. The latest Move does sound a touch bass-heavy thanks to its clear emphasis on boldness and punch, but the Move's slightly forward balance will reward you regardless of where and how you listen.

The Epicboom, meanwhile, offers a big, bold sound with breadth aplenty and a solid, well-rounded presentation. Crank the speaker up to its loudest echelons and the music will retain its integrity admirably, holding together without distortion or harsh edges at the treble pitch. It's a good all-round performer, especially when you take the UE's smaller price tag into account.

We've voiced our doubts, however, as to the Epicboom's ability to offer dynamism and musicality, and while it’s clearly capable of producing a wide, powerful sound, its inclination towards a slightly artificial tone can be a limiting factor. Listen to the UE side-by-side with the Move 2 and you'll find more richness, tonality and depth within the latter’s presentation.  

If you want something that offers a clear, natural yet genuinely textured reproduction, the Sonos is a polished performer. Switching back to the Epicboom is by no means a letdown, but there are inevitable shortcomings that are illuminated during our back-to-back tests. Even though it sports a much higher price tag, you can't escape the clear sonic difference between the two models.  

** Winner: Sonos Move 2**

Sonos Move 2 vs UE Epicboom: verdict

Portable speaker: Sonos Move 2

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Move 2 is certainly an improvement on its predecessor, and while it doesn't quite manage to hit the heights of the full five-star rating, it feels like things are heading in the right direction. Battery life is improved, the sound quality has been refined, and it's as well-built and unassumingly aesthetic as most Sonos products these days.  

The Epicboom, conversely, has bit more rugged likeability about it, despite not being as premium or as refined overall. It's more rough and ready than the slightly aloof Move 2, although it's hindered by a less muscular, less involved sound and a smaller bag of tricks than its Sonos rival. 

That said, the Epicboom is significantly cheaper than the Move 2, something that really could sway your decision when push comes to shove. If you value all of the fancy things the Move 2 can do (wi-fi capabilities, spatial audio etc.), Sonos' speaker makes a degree of sense, especially with its clear sonic advantages. For those looking to save around £120 though, the Epicboom is far from a fool's investment, even when you take into account its comparative sonic and functional shortcomings.  


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Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs.