The UE Wonderboom is Ultimate Ears’ latest wireless speaker – it is portable, gets ridiculously loud, has deep sound and is completely waterproof. Can this little wonder continue the winning streak UE has had with its popular Boom lineup? Let’s find out.
Ultimate Ears made waves in the speaker market with the release of the UE Boom in 2013. Many users and reviewers alike praised the Boom’s loudness, water resistance, battery life, and industrial design. Though it was expensive, the Boom was trendsetting and became very popular as a must-get lifestyle gadget. UE didn’t stop there though – after the success of the original Boom, they introduced a big lineup of successor speakers, including the massive, super-loud UE Megaboom, and the handy, super-portable UE Roll.
The UE Wonderboom is Ultimate Ears’ latest entry-level speaker. It borrows the best features that customers love about each speaker of the series – such as the big, deep sound of the bigger Booms, and the waterproof, super portable body of the UE roll.
Connectivity: Bluetooth (A2DP) – 33m Range
Controls: Volume, Pair, Play/Pause/Next/Previous
IP67 Dust & Water Resistant (Up to 1 meter depth, 30 Mins)
Up to 10 Hours Battery Life, 2.5 hours recharge time (MicroUSB)
Frequency Response: 80 – 20000 Hz
Output Level (SPL): 86 dB
Audio Amplifier: Integrated Active
2 X 40mm active drivers
2 X 46.1 mm x 65.2 mm passive radiators
Height x Diameter: 10.2cm x 9.35cm
S$149, 2 Years Warranty
In the Box
In the box: 1 x Wonderboom, 1 x Flat Micro USB cable, Manuals and warranty Information.
The packaging opens up like origami – we love it. UE Puts a lot of care and effort into making every aspect of their products look good, just like they did with the original Boom. A very special thanks to Logitech/Ultimate Ears Singapore and SPRG Singapore for loaning us one UE Wonderboom for this non-paid review.
Appearance, design and build quality
On first glance, the UE Wonderboom looks like the other speakers in the Boom series – it is round and covered with a water resistant fabric, which is sandwiched in between the speaker’s hardy rubber exterior. Like its siblings, the Wonderboom connects via Bluetooth. The 33-meter connection range on the Wonderboom is useful for outdoor listening and more than enough for the indoors. Unfortunately, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack or microphone.
The Wonderboom weighs 425g, and measures in roughly the size of a large mug. Compared to the UE Boom 2, the Wonderboom is much shorter but wider – it feels like a squashed, flattened version of the original speaker. Quite portable!
On top you’ll find the power and Bluetooth pairing buttons, as well a little hang loop for easy carry, and where users can hook a carabiner or hang the speaker. There’s also a UE button which enables users to control playback and pair the Wonderboom with another for louder sound.
On the sides, you’ll find the the volume control and the speakers themselves – two 40mm active drivers and two 46.1 mm x 65.2 mm passive radiators which promise loud 360 degree sound.
On the bottom half of the speaker, you’ll find a micro USB charging port protected by a flap which gives the speaker its water resistance. The Wonderboom is ‘drop resistant’ too – UE says that the speaker can withstand falls for up to 1.5 meters in height, and it seems to work as intended. Our Wonderboom worked perfectly after a solid drop onto a hardwood floor, and we believe that it can definitely withstand some heavy abuse.
Overall, we think that the speaker is very well designed and built. There were no obvious weak points in the body and we didn’t see any flexing or creaking when we applied considerable amounts of force to various parts of the Wonderboom. We love the design, build quality and appearance of the speaker. Everything – from the unit itself to the packaging, is well thought out and extremely well designed.
The Wonderboom’s waterproofing is its main selling point – unlike most bluetooth speakers which are only weather and water resistant, the Wonderboom is rated IPX7 can be completely submerged in water at a depth of 1 Meter for 30 minutes. Although you can’t listen to music underwater (Bluetooth signals can’t penetrate water), the Wonderboom floats on its own just fine, unlike the UE Roll which needed to be placed on an inflatable float.
We’ve put the waterproofing through its paces in a pool, and it definitely works as advertised. We think that the Wonderboom is great for outdoor use – even in harsh muddy environments like biking trails. If the speaker ever gets dirty, users can just rinse it off with water and it looks good as new.
Pair Up Two Wonderbooms
Source: Ultimate Ears
You can also pair two Wonderbooms together for a louder listening experience, but this can’t be done in stereo – you’ll only get mono output. You also can’t pair the Wonderboom with other UE products which support the Party Up feature, which enables listeners to daisy chain up to 50 speakers wirelessly.
It’s a little disappointing to see that the new entry level speaker from UE doesn’t support Party-Up – let alone stereo pairing, when more affordable competitors such the X-Mini Click 2 have this feature. Still, we understand this UE’s design choices since these are usually more premium features are found in their flagship models.
Audio Quality - Great Bass, Not So Great Highs
The Wonderboom gets ridiculously loud. Our unit was easily able to fill a very spacious living room with music, even at half volume. Turning up the volume to maximum gets uncomfortably loud indoors – in our battery life test, we had to stuff the Wonderboom in some soundproof material and chuck it in a cabinet to get it to bearable levels! Even though its incredibly loud output is overkill for indoor listening, it is fantastic for outdoor use – perfect for picnics, pool parties and the like.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Wonderboom’s sound signature is its bass – the speaker puts out very, very boomy, deep sound. It’s deeper and boomier than the sound produced by the Wonderboom’s predecessors and many of its competitors. This speaker is fantastic for users who love bassy music, such as Funk, EDM and Dub.
Unfortunately, the Wonderboom’s deep bass is also its weak point – it’s not ideal for users who listen to treble-heavy genres like classical or pop. The highs are really muffled and drowned out by the speaker’s bass output, and the mids, though present, can barely be heard.
We felt that our favourite tracks such as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” felt a little off – with the basslines and drums overpowering the typically crisp guitar riffs and vocals. Even bass-heavy tracks such as “Lose Yourself to Dance” felt a little too muffled to bear at times.
Despite the Wonderboom’s extra boomy bass, we have to say that audio quality is quite decent for a speaker of this size. While the Wonderboom is not the best sounding speaker out there, its extreme volume is great for outdoor use.
UE says that you’ll get 10 hours of battery out of the Wonderboom at 75% volume – and this claim holds up well.
Our unit lasted around 8-10 hours on medium volumes, and powered through three hours straight on full volume. The battery around 2.5 hours to charge, but you can easily hook the Wonderboom up to a power bank if you want a little more battery life out of it.
Don’t take it near water when charging through – the flap protecting the charging port gives the speaker its IPX7 rating.
JBL Flip 4 - 12 Hours
UE Wonderboom - 10 Hours
UE Roll 2 - 9 Hours
X-Mini KAI X3 - 8 Hours
Bose Soundlink Color II - 8 Hours
UE Wonderboom vs The Competition
UE Wonderboom v UE Roll 2
The Wonderboom beats the UE Roll 2 in every department save for portability. Although the Roll 2 is softer, weaker and lasts one hour less than the Wonderboom, it weighs about 20% lighter and easier to carry or hook on person. The sound on the Roll 2 is also more even across all frequencies, compared to the extremely bassy Wonderboom.
It sells at the same price as the UE Wonderboom (S$149), so its ultimately a choice between power and bass versus portability and balanced sound here. Bottom line: If you need a more portable option and need to get it from UE, consider the Roll 2. Otherwise, the Wonderboom is simply superior!
UE Wonderboom vs X-Mini KAI X3
The Wonderboom beats the X-Mini KAI X3 in terms of raw volume and battery life (10 hours vs 8 hours). Though the KAI X3 doesn’t have waterproofing, X-Mini’s designers have said that this was meant to provide a clearer audio experience as waterproof and water resistant materials muffle the higher frequencies.
The Kai X3 does exactly that – producing very clear and crisp highs and mids along with strong bass – unlike the UE Wonderboom, which pumps out overwhelming bass. It is also more affordable at S$129, has a MicroSD card slot, comes in slightly lighter and smaller than the Wonderboom, and can be paired for stereo sound.
Bottom line: If you prefer more balanced audio, stereo sound pairing, and don’t mind upward-firing speakers – the KAI X3 is a competitor to consider. Otherwise, the Wonderboom’s water resistance and ruggedness blow the X3 out of the water (literally).
UE Wonderboom vs JBL Flip 4
The JBL Flip 4 is an extremely compelling alternative to the Wonderboom. It has the same water resistance, a solid build and frame similar to the UE Boom 2, but lasts 2 hours longer on battery (12 hours vs 10 hours).
Although it is more expensive at S$179, the JBL Flip 4 gets deeper and bassier than the Wonderboom – albiet undertuned in the highs and mids. You can also pair it in stereo and with multiple JBL speakers, or use it via a 3.5mm AUX wired connection.
Bottom line: If you don’t mind something taller and want more connectivity options, consider the JBL Flip 4. Otherwise, go with the perfectly portable and loud Wonderboom.
UE Wonderboom vs Bose Soundlink Color II
The Bose Soundlink Color II is another popular alternative to the Wonderboom with slightly more features – there’s NFC and a 3.5mm AUX port for easy + reliable connectivity, and it also has a microphone which can be used for calls and to work with voice assistants. In terms of sound signature, the Soundlink 2 puts out clearer highs, but loses out to the Wonderboom’s immense volume and bass. Although it can’t pair with another Soundlink for stereo sound, the Soundlink Color itself is a stereo speaker.
However, the Soundlink II loses out to the Wonderboom’s price (S$149 vs S$219) and water resistance (IPX4 Splashproof vs IPX7 Waterproof).
Bottom line: If you have cash to spare and want more connectivity options – especially a microphone – you can consider the Soundlink Color II. Otherwise, the Wonderboom offers similar functionality and a cheaper price and louder volume!
The Verdict - Excellent!
Price and Availability
The UE Wonderboom costs S$149 and comes with a 2 year warranty. It is available in the colours above and can be found island-wide at various retailers such as Challenger/Hachi Tech, Harvey Norman, Courts, and Lazada.