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Ultimate Ears Boom review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £170
inc VAT

A robust portable speaker that might not sound fantastic, but won't fizzle out in the rain

The Ultimate Ears Boom, made by the prestigious audio company bought out by Logitech a couple of years ago, is a consumer-friendly portable speaker that’s made to go with you wherever you want to take your tunes.

Ultimate Ears Boom

Built from a combination of shock-absorbent plastic and water-resistant armour, the cylindrical Boom is made to take some punishment. It’s able to withstand a drop from several feet onto hard concrete, keep playing in a downpour and even shrug off mud or spilt drinks thanks to a stain-resistant treatment, all of which means it could be the ideal portable speaker for taking to a festival. The built-in karabiner clip lets you hook the speaker to your rucksack, or it will just as easily fit in a car cup holder or bicycle bottle holder.

Inside, there are two 2in drivers and two passive radiators that point outwards at different directions to surround you with sound. The speaker works well outside and when there are no walls for audio to bounce off, especially compared to more traditional directional speakers. The Boom produces impressively loud audio, which has a reasonably clear mid-range but a slight lack of bass. We’ve seen similarly-sized speakers with more rumble than this.

Ultimate Ears Boom

The mesh material covering the speaker drivers is acoustically transparent, so it doesn’t muffle the sound, but we would have liked a crisper high end; some of the detail gets lost during hectic electronic and rock songs. The speaker uses the SBC Bluetooth codec, which is lossier than the higher-quality aptX codec, although the difference is rarely perceptible in small portable speakers. There’s no analogue input for non-Bluetooth sources.

The speaker supports NFC, which makes it much easier to pair your smartphone to the speaker: you just have to touch the two together. If you or a friend has an additional Boom, you can pair them up using the iOS or Android app and run them in stereo mode. The app detects the colour of each Boom so you can arrange them correctly, and gives you control over volume.

Ultimate Ears Boom

UE says the Boom should last up to 15 hours on a single charge. In our playback tests, we saw a huge 26h 18m – this speaker should just about get you through a festival weekend.

At £170, the UE Boom isn’t cheap, but it does have an extensive list of features. NFC is quickly becoming a must-have for easy pairing, and the speaker’s incredibly tough construction makes it ideal for taking outside the house. The Boom’s sound quality isn’t outstanding, but the 360-degree design means everyone can hear your music regardless of where they stand. However, if you can live without NFC, then the Schosche BoomBottle is similarly tough, costs less, and has even better battery life.


Speaker configuration2.0
RMS power output18W
Power consumption standbyN/A
Power consumption onN/A
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo, integrated microphone
Digital inputsBluetooth (SBC)
Dock connectornone
Headphone outputnone
Satellite cable lengthsN/A
Cable typenone
Controls locatedmain unit, app
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsnone

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