Ultimate Ears or UE, as it is popularly known, as has carved a niche for itself as makers of high quality Bluetooth speakers that combine waterproofing with funky designs and a pretty good price too. The high end audio heritage really shows through in the products and the entire Ultimate Ears series is very highly regarded as being some of the best around. The UE Wonderboom is the latest release from the company, and we decided to put it through its paces. Follow along for our review.
The UE Wonderboom is exceptionally well-built and we have no reason at all to doubt the company’s claims regarding its general ruggedness. The speaker is available in a range of colours, and we got the really cool looking variant with an art print on it. The speaker is built like a tapered off cylinder with a front fascia that is coated in a fabric like material. It looks and feels very premium.
The top and bottom end caps are finished in hard plastic. The face of the speaker integrates large plus and minus buttons that serve as volume up and down keys. Pressing them together indicates battery status.
Up at the top of the speaker, you’ll find three physical buttons. There’s the requisite, on-off switch as well as a Bluetooth pairing key. New to the UE Wonderboom though is the button hidden under the Ultimate Ears branding. This button lets you perform extra functions like pairing with another speaker without having to dig into the app. You’ll also notice the fabric loop that can be used to hang the speaker should you want to.
Along the bottom edge, hidden under a robust flap is a microUSB port. Unfortunately, the UE Wonderboom doesn’t have an aux port so you cannot use a wired connection to listening to music. The Wonderboom is also lacking the threaded tripod mount present on some of the other Ultimate Ears speakers.
The UE Wonderboom is loud. Seriously loud. By using a combination of dual 40mm drivers and dual passive radiators, the Wonderboom goes as loud as 86 decibels. Predictably, sound signature has changed compared to the larger Megaboom and Boom 2 speakers but it still retains the large presentation.
In our experience, the Wonderboom managed to get very close to the sound performance of the Megaboom albeit with a noticeably lesser amount of bass. This is understandable due to the smaller physical dimensions, but we wish that UE had adjusted the tuning to tame down the highs. That’s not to say that the speaker sounds bad. Far from it. But at higher volume levels, the speaker starts sounding a bit shrill and short on bass.
Listening to pop music on the Wonderboom is an enjoyable experience. The speaker projects a wide sound stage due to the 360 degree design and it can fill up a moderate sized room very easily. We never felt the need to bump up the volume above 50-60 percent. At full volume, the speaker is good enough to serve in a small gathering though the lack of a deep bottom end gets a bit more pronounced. The waterproofing and IP67 rating means that you don’t even have to worry in case someone spills a drink on the speaker. If you’re so inclined, you can get another Wonderboom and pair them up for more volume. It is however not possible to set them up in a stereo configuration.
UE claims that the Wonderboom can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. This will of course vary by volume levels, but we got about 9 hours of use with the volume set to approximately 70 percent. Turn down the volume a little bit and 10 hours should be easily doable.
The UE Wonderboom is a really nice piece of kit that is well worth the asking price. At Rs. 7,995 (MRP), this is one of the nicest sounding Bluetooth speakers in the category. Sure, there are cheaper speakers available, but they just don’t sound as good, and they rarely go as loud. We did miss having NFC on board for easy pairing and the lack of an 3.5mm input is very perplexing but the IP67 rating certainly comes in handy. The UE Wonderboom is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a sub Rs. 10,000 Bluetooth speaker, and we highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the market for a premium Bluetooth speaker.
You can get the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom from Flipkart, Amazon and other online and offline stores. The new Freestyle Collection will be available later this month from Croma and other platforms for Rs. 6,995.