This is a review of Ultimate Ears UE Boom wireless bluetooth speaker: UE BOOM: 360° Sound Wireless Speaker | Ultimate Ears
I have been around the block testing and reviewing various Android gadgets and accessories. Honestly, there is not much that makes go Wow! The concept of external compact bluetooth speaker is not new, and some of you might be familiar with another similar product which has been dominating this category. I think introduction of UE Boom is going to change this!!! I want to mention this ahead of time, we are talking about Premium Product at a Premium Price. Yes, it will not be everyone's cup of tea in terms of being able to justify $199. But if you are willing to invest money into a high quality product with sound and sex appeal of EU Boom - I guarantee you will get every penny worth.
I have to first start with a package of this speaker, something that became a trend of premium priced products. You might be looking for a minute or two at this black cylinder before you realize it opens in the middle, flips open revealing the speaker itself and accessories in the separate compartments. Just the presentation of this package by itself is super cool and makes a very nice storage box for it. So beside the speaker you get this yellowish-greenish neon color travel wall adapter (rated at 2A) and flat noodle usb to micro-usb cable. In the middle of this cylinder box is the jewel itself, the UE Boom. First impression once you pick it up is the weight of the speaker which is going to tip scale at 536g (1lb 3oz). Yes, we are talking about a cool little cylinder that fits comfortable in your hand and weight over a pound. So what does the weight means? It means quality driver components packed inside of this external speaker unit. With measurement of 180mm x 65mm, it stands 7" tall with 2.5" diameter. The speaker grill goes all the way around, interrupted by a rubber strip with two big "+" and "-" touch controls (for volume up/down). The grill itself is made of some dense interweaving material, described as acoustic skin with plasma coating for water and stain resistance. I have seen YT demo of someone pouring water over it while playing the music, and it didn't even skip the beat. The speaker is intended for indoor/outdoor use, and with water resistance keeping it close to a pool will not be a problem. The speaker itself can be positioned vertically or horizontally, whatever is your preference. The rubber control strip should prevent it from rolling.
Beside volume up/down control, which also could be used simultaneously for UE Boom to announce it's battery capacity percentage, one side of the end cap has a power and bluetooth pair button, and the other side has 3.5mm auxiliary input, micro-usb charging cable, and a detachable loop/tab that will enable your clipping Boom to your backpack or maybe hanging it down from some hook. Speaking of charging, at full charge the speaker is rated for 15 hours of use!!! Once you power it up, you have a pleasant drum tone and it goes into a pair mode (the first time use). Within seconds you are paired up and ready to use it. At that point, better sit down and hit play. This is the most impressive sound I ever heard coming out of such a small speaker system. It fills up the room or any outdoor area with full deep non-distorted sound even at highest volume level. The sound is very crisp and clear, very loud (without distortion as I mentioned), and has enough of bass tone suitable for bigger speaker. Of course, don't expect deep bass of a subwoofer, but for this size it was very impressive. The sound radiates 360 degrees, so no need to turn it or to position it in certain direction. Apparently there is a way you can use 2 EU Boom from the same paired up source to extend this sound to a wider stereo spectrum. For that, you need to use a free app downloaded from Google Play. The app itself is very simple and self explanatory. What is super impressive is when you start it - it goes through a palette of available Boom colors (the speaker comes in different skins) and picks the right one you have. In there you have an option to run double pair up, Setting, and General on-line help with "getting to know" info. In Setting you have a choice to rename your UE Boom, obtain the battery level charge (also you can do that by holding + and - together), alert language, EQ setting (currently only 3 available), enabling alert sound, and also app and fw versions.
For audio playback it supports A2DP bt audio profile, in addition to direct 3.5mm cable input, and it can also pickup calls working as a speaker phone. It's minimalistic design didn't include call pick up button, which would have been a nice feature. Also, very common to other premium bt speakers - is lack of any audio playback controls. If you want to pause the sound, you have to go back to remote use with a phone. It's not a show stopper since I was able to use my portable external bluetooth receiver unit connected to 3.5mm port of UE Boom and paired up instead of the speaker itself. That allowed me to play/pause and skip the track. Also today after playing with MetaWatch smart watch - I also discovered that I can control phone audio right from my watch without even a need for bt remote receiver. Also another comment, for such a price I was surprised they didn't include 3.5mm audio cable piece. Although not intended for most of the uses, I think it would have been a nice accessory to include.
But in general all I can say is the second you hear the full loud sound of this speaker, your jaw drops. Yes, its an expensive accessory and will not be everyone's cup of tea because of the price. I also hope that after awhile (since it was just introduced), the price will drop making it more affordable. But even at $199 - you are paying for a high quality design and premium quality top notch sound, something you would expect from Ultimate Ears! My recommendation - if you can afford it, get it! Just in time for the summer, for your outdoor party - you will not be disappointed!. And with 2 year warranty, you know UE truly believes in it's quality.
Here are some pictures: