The UE Wonderboom is Wonderful!
THE VERDICT
The UE Wonderboom is a compact, squat little speaker that’s fun and durable. The speaker also has surprisingly good sound that belies its small stature. While it's not perfect, the Wonderboom is better than most of the competition.

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Design9
Features8
Value8
Ease of Use9
Sound Quality8.8
The Good
  • Overall good sound quality from a really small speaker. Good battery life and very durable.
The Bad
  • No speakerphone capabilities. Mid-range could be improved.
9Overall Score

The Wonderboom is the latest attempt by Ultimate Ears to make a durable, compact speaker that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. The Roll 2, which we also gave high marks to, was one of our favorite speakers for anyone looking for these qualities. However, the new UE Wonderboom trumps the Roll 2 in almost every way. It’s just as rugged, plus it has better overall sound quality making it our new go-to device in the micro-Bluetooth speaker category.


RELATED: JBL Flip 4 Review


 

Design

The Wonderboom stands nearly 5 inches tall and is wrapped in a tightly woven fabric material. The front is emblazoned with UE’s now iconic oversized plus and minus symbols. The top and bottom are made of a soft rubberized material which serves to cushion the speaker’s internals from accidental drops. A stubby fabric loop attached to the head of the speaker means you can hang it on your bike, your backpack or in your shower. Since the cord isn’t as long as that of the Roll 2, you may need to attach a Carabiner or hook to facilitate hanging the speaker.

ue-wonderboom-review2

At the base of the UE Wonderboom,  is a water tight rubber flap that conceals the micro USB charge port. This is the only wired connection you can make to the speaker. The Wonderboom doesn’t offer any other wired options such as a 3.5 mm input, so you’re stuck using Bluetooth to transmit audio to the speaker.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Review
One thing you can say about UE is that they’re not afraid of color. Their speakers are among the most colorful on the market and the Wonderboom is no different. The UE Wonderboom comes in 6 color options: black, gray, blue, red, pink, and lilac so odds are you’ll find one that fits your style.

 

UE Wonderboom – A Very Durable Speaker

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom is a rugged little speaker that can take a lot of abuse. Case in point, I dropped the speaker several times on a carpeted floor without it suffering any ill effects. UE claims the speaker can survive falls of up to 5 feet and based on my experience I have no reason to doubt that assessment.

 

The little boom is also waterproof. It has an IPX7 Waterproof rating meaning that you can plop it in 3 feet of water and it shouldn’t skip a beat. If you happen to accidentally drop it in the pool, the Wonderboom is buoyant so it will stay afloat until rescued. Grime or dirt that sticks to the speaker can easily be washed away with a quick bath in the sink or a squirt of a hose.

 

Features

As with all UE speakers, the oversized plus and minus buttons on the front control the volume of the diminutive speaker. The top of the speaker has three buttons; a power button, a Bluetooth connect button, and a play/pause button. The playback button is disguised as the UE logo. I initially didn’t realize this was a button until I accidentally pressed it. If the button was slightly indented it would be more apparent that it was a button. Tapping the UE logo once plays and pauses your tracks, tapping it twice skips tracks and if you have a second Wonderboom you can use this button to pair them. Unlike some of UE’s other speakers, there’s no need to use an app for the Wonderboom. Speakerphone capabilities are notably absent from the Wonderboom.

ue-wonderboom-top-view

As far as battery life, UE claims that you can get about 10 hours of playing time out of the little Wonder. During testing, I managed to get slightly more. Of course the louder you play the Wonderboom, the faster you’ll drain the battery. If you really keep the volume cranked I wouldn’t be surprised to see the battery life dip down to about 7 or 8 hours.

 

Connecting the UE Wonderboom to your device via Bluetooth is quick and painless. Press and hold the Bluetooth button on the Wonderboom and it should quickly appear in your list of available devices. Under normal conditions the Wonderboom has a Bluetooth range of about 100ft.

 

Sound Quality

As with all small speakers, there are some trade-offs. However, I found the Wonderboom to be surprisingly adept. When compared to the UE Roll 2, the Wonderboom has more bass punch and better mid-range. It also has better treble performance than its saucer-shaped cousin.

 

On most tracks, the UE Wonderboom was a solid performer. Vocals were clear and crisp, although really turning up the volume resulted in noticeable distortion. The same can also be said with its bass response. On most tracks the Wonderboom did well, however, some low-frequency notes were out of the little speaker’s range.

 

No matter how you look at it though, the Wonderboom kicks out more bass than a pint-sized speaker should be capable of. I caught myself on a couple occasions saying “Wow, I can’t believe that just came from that tiny speaker”.

 

The UE Wonderboom also has solid mid-range. For casual listening it was impressive. As with the treble and bass if you push the volume too far the mid-range starts to sound a little harsh, but you get this with any small speaker. UE claims that the Wonderboom has 360-degree sound and that assessment is pretty much spot on. Plop the speaker down in a room and nearly everyone gets treated to the same audio performance.

 

The Verdict

The UE Wonderboom is an impressive little speaker. It’s about the same price as the UE Roll 2 and between the two, the Wonderboom is better. It has better bass response and a more cohesive mid-range than its saucer shaped sibling. As far as durability, the Wonderboom is a champ. It’s tough enough to survive most drops and it’s a great shower or poolside speaker for casual listening thanks to its waterproofing. The bottom line is that the Wonderboom is one of the best micro-Bluetooth speakers available.


Where to Buy:

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