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Old June 17th, 2013, 12:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Review of UE Boom wireless speaker w/pics!!!

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:































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Old November 21st, 2013, 10:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You guys might want to check out my review of JBL FLIP and also MICRO and a comparison to UE Boom mentioned in there: Review of JBL FLIP and MICRO wireless speakers w/lots of pics!!!

Boom definitely has an advantage of micro-usb charger and better battery life, but for $100 more and considering a better sound quality of FLIP - I'm not so sure Boom is a king of the castle anymore
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Old November 27th, 2013, 10:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I do not agree that Kaidaer speaker deserves your priase. I bought one last year and since then it has been cold-storaged after a few minutes of testing. I can only give it to someone who likes something that produces noise, but definitely not music, let alone the sound quality. There is no bass at all! Now I wonder whether your assessment on UE Ultimate is accurate. I only wish that I am wrong.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 01:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quahbp View Post
I do not agree that Kaidaer speaker deserves your priase. I bought one last year and since then it has been cold-storaged after a few minutes of testing. I can only give it to someone who likes something that produces noise, but definitely not music, let alone the sound quality. There is no bass at all! Now I wonder whether your assessment on UE Ultimate is accurate. I only wish that I am wrong.
OK, you are totally confusing me. You post a reply in UE Boom review thread talking about another product I reviewed in THIS thread, and in particularly mention Kaidaer speaker (was it even the same model?) where I clearly stated nothing about the bass and only crisp mids/highs. Then, you reference UE Ultimate?!? What product is that?

I'm not disputing that sound assessment is a matter of personal taste. But to expect a pumping bass out of 2" speaker for $7, you have to be unrealistic. There is a presence of bass where you can hear rhythm and bass harmony, but it's not deep. I still use that particular Kaidaer speaker and its sounds pretty good for $7 or whatever was the price of it. It's not in the same league as $200 wireless speakers, but for that price you can't beat it. I'm not reviewing it from audiophile perspective, and sound tones might be artificial in there due to enhanced mids/highs, but again - for crying out loud, this is $7 2" speaker... Also, Kaidaer has digital EQ, and I would recommend going through a few settings to make sure you select the best one for your taste.

Regarding UE Boom reviewed here or JBL FLIP and MICRO reviewed in another thread, those are high class wireless speakers with it's own strength and weakness. Don't expect earth shattering bass from those either, but the sound is top notch. Feel free to browse other reviews of the same products on Amazon or other websites. I'm sure you will find similar opinions.

Btw, welcome to AndroidForums. Very nice way to introduce yourself with a first post
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Old November 28th, 2013, 08:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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More nice pics and interesting info!

I enjoy these reviews quite a bit.
I recently picked up a Braven 440 that has to be my favorite portable speaker system ever at this point, but it's a QVC exclusive and not much is buzzed about it online.

This one looks positively awesome too, and the app just takes it to the next level. Wow!
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Old November 28th, 2013, 10:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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More nice pics and interesting info!

I enjoy these reviews quite a bit.
I recently picked up a Braven 440 that has to be my favorite portable speaker system ever at this point, but it's a QVC exclusive and not much is buzzed about it online.

This one looks positively awesome too, and the app just takes it to the next level. Wow!
Glad another Jersey fellow appreciates my write ups

I published a ton of reviews with lots of pictures: Twister Reviews of Android Accessories and Gadgets

Btw, Boom app has been updated recently with a new Alarm function and more EQ settings.

And speaking of Braven, 440 is definitely a better value. I have reviewed 855s and after a short while stop using it because bass was too overwhelming. I prefer a more balanced sound where I can hear the entire frequency content, especially vocal and melody details. Since Incipio (famous case maker) acquired Braven, will be interesting to see which direction they are going to follow with future releases.
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