The Ultimate Ears Boom is a cool product. It has the looks, the build and the extra features to be an extremely attractive speaker.
And it sounds great, too.
It’s fun. Just plain and simple fun to listen to. The UE Boom has bags of detail, heaps of energy, and a wonderfully engaging sound.
It’s meant to be positioned upright, and the 360-degree effect promised by Utimate Ears is effective – the soundfield is wide and spacious. It’s a satisfyingly weighty and involving sound.
It can go surprisingly loud, too, and retains its composure at higher volumes. It has a better balance across the frequency range than most other speakers of its type and price.
There’s bite and attack, punch and impact, and the Boom keeps the music cohesive and exciting with an agile sense of rhythm.
It’s not picky with genres, either, so you can enjoy Nina Simone and David Bowie alongside Amanda Palmer and Warrant.
The Boom doesn’t veer towards a thin and bright sound like the JBL Charge, Bayan Audio SoundBook or the Creative Airwave HD, nor does it have lashings of deep bass like the Bose SoundLink Mini.
It could do with a touch more refinement and transparency, but overall the Boom is a speaker that you can enjoy from the second you turn it on.
It’s not all about sound quality, though. The Boom has a couple of tricks up its sleeve, and you’ll need to download the free iOS/Android UE Boom app to access some cool extra features.
The highlight is the ability to link two UE Boom speakers together.
You can choose ‘Double Play’ (which plays both speakers together for bigger, louder sound) or play them in stereo mode.
You’ll have to buy a second Boom to make it work, but we think it’s worth it.
Position the two Booms equidistant from your listening position, as you would with normal hi-fi speakers, and they create a very convincing soundstage.
You have to designate each speaker as either the right or the left channel.
The UE Boom app is one of the most useful and well-designed apps we’ve come across. It even recognises which coloured UE Boom you’re connecting to – a clever touch.
What else can you do with the app? You can rename the Boom, scroll through an illustrated manual, access EQ settings (‘Out Loud’ and ‘Intimate’ were our favourites), check the battery percentage, and also set an alarm.
You can pick which song to wake up to from your smartphone’s music playlist, or simply pick the ‘Last Music Played’ option.
The alarm works even if the Boom is turned off, and there’s a normal beeping alarm as back up, in case Bluetooth is disconnected.
Make sure you have the latest software upgrade to get the alarm and EQ features. The app will prompt you when there’s an update available, and you can upgrade the Boom via an internet-connected computer.
Build and design
The UE Boom is a tough and sturdy construction, with a ‘plasma-coated’ finish that’s water and stain-resistant.
We sprinkled a few drops of water on it, and sure enough, they don’t soak through. The compact, cylindrical design makes it ideal for portable use, and the Boom lasts for a respectable 15 hours on a full charge.
The huge up and down volume buttons look cool, but you do have to press them firmly. Hold them together and a voice lets you know the current battery level.
The power and Bluetooth pairing buttons are discreetly in-laid on the top of the speaker, and light up when in use.
There’s also an accompanying drum beat for each action – it’s a fun effect.
Bluetooth pairing is fast and easy, and you can connect via NFC. Tap your compatible device against the rubber strip along the side of the Boom, and you’re connected in mere seconds.
Hidden underneath the speaker is the USB charging port and 3.5mm input.
Bright yellow cables and adapters for charging via mains or USB are also included, and there’s a built-in mic to use the Boom as a speakerphone.
We’re impressed with the Ultimate Ears Boom.
This compact speaker has some great features that you simply don’t see in most wireless speakers, and it’s designed to be as easy to use as possible.
More importantly, it sounds fantastic. There could be some subtle tweaks, but its big, spacious sound – with excellent detail and rhythm – is exciting and engaging.
Give the UE Boom a go – we think you’ll have as much fun as we did.
MORE: Best bluetooth speakers