UE Boom review: Loud and indestructible

UE Boom review: Loud and indestructible
Photo Credit: OKJ Photography

Photo Credit: OKJ Photography

Introduction


A subsidiary of Logitech, Ultimate Ears (UE) is a brand synonymous in the custom IEM (In Ear Monitor) market and is used by numerous top musicians worldwide who demand more from the everyday ear pieces.

Using their expertise, Ultimate Ears has developed UE Boom - a bluetooth wireless speaker that can be carried along wherever you go!

Specification


UE Boom Specifications

Hardware Design


UE Boom Close Up / Photo Credit: OKJ Photography

The UE Boom stands out among other portable speakers with its cylindrical shape. I was told by people over at Ultimate Ears that the UE Boom's design is inspired by a tumbler flask.

Apart from the shape, the UE Boom has captured other beneficial traits as well.

Durability is one of those traits, though this was not achieved by simply slapping cold metal over it. The speaker grille which makes up the majority of the device is protected by tough woven fabric, making the UE Boom both rugged and waterproof.

When pouring water over the speaker, it easily flows out of the fabric - though you should make it a habit to shake it to ensure that no water is trapped inside the fabric. It will not ruin the device, but it will give you a nasty surprise when a supposedly dry looking device starting spilling out water when tipped over.

The rest of the device is rubberised, complementing the waterproof trait of the UE Boom as well as ensuring that you can grip the UE Boom securely no matter how you hold it. Even if you drop it, no problem. The UE Boom can take quite tumble, even after I dunk it like a basketball and roll it down the stairs, I have never been more confident of a product's durability than the UE Boom. (It deserves the level of recognition as NOKIA receives.)

UE Boom With Carabiner / Photo Credit: OKJ Photography

Another trait inspired by a humble tumbler flask is the removable ring at the bottom of the device, which allows you to hook it up to something like a carabiner. Unscrew the ring and you will be able to fit the UE Boom onto a 1/4 - 20 tripod mount, and this will come in handy with another feature which I will talk about below.

At the bottom, you can also find the usb charging port and a 3.5mm audio jack to connect the speaker to your device via a cable. (audio jack cable not included).

All these design features truly shouts versatility, and I do not see an environment in which the UE Boom cannot handle.

If you can bring a water bottle along for the trip, you can bring the UE Boom along with it too!

The UE Boom is also available in 6 different colour combinations (differs for each country). One thing I find weird was that the usb cable and travel adapter only comes in yellow.

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It's small body means that it is much more portable compared to a majority of other Bluetooth speakers currently in the market, and as you will see below, that doesn't necessarily mean that sound quality is compromised.

Usability


Sound Quality

The UE Boom produces 360 degree surround sound that is full, balanced as well as deep bass. It is definitely a boost to your media device (e.g. smartphone/tablet/laptop) which often comes with speakers ill-equipped to give you a pleasant experience, especially when watching videos or listening to music with company.

Audiophiles may find faults with the sound quality, but most people will not. Despite the small build, the UE Boom's dual performance drivers and dual passive radiators will perform well beyond most of your expectation. There is no need to pump it up to its full volume, but if you wish to destroy your ear drums, be my guest - deaf by good music, that's one way to go.

UE Boom With Tripod / Photo Credit: OKJ Photography

What's better than 1 UE Boom? 2 UE Booms of course! You can pair up 2 UE Booms using the UE Boom App to achieve even greater volume or enjoy what you are listening to in surround sound - which is naturally better done by 2 speakers instead of 1.

However, I did notice the sounds are slightly delayed when watching videos with 2 UE Booms being used in stereo mode - thus I recommend the stereo mode for music only. I did not notice any delay when using just 1 UE Boom, in almost all scenarios is more than enough.

By the way, remember that the UE Boom can be mounted onto a tripod? You can use 2 UE Booms, pair them up with your phone, and you literally got yourself the power of a DJ at the palm of your hand.

UE Boom App

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Like I said above, to pair up 2 UE Booms, you will need to download the UE BOOM app, which is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app is as minimalistic as the device itself and also show information about your paired UE Boom - such as battery level, device name, etc. A user manual is also included in the app, which certainly comes in handy.

However, the software still has a lot of room for improvement. For starters, the app will only display information of the first (main) UE Boom which is paired with your smartphone/tablet.

There is also no way to determine the volume level of the individual speakers, which is frustrating as I often find myself adjusting the volumes of each UE Boom to make both produce the same volume. It does not matter much when you are using it to double on the volume, but in stereo mode, it is noticeable.

Battery Life

The UE Boom last for 15 hours of use, but sound quality will deteriorate when the speaker hits the low 20%. I did not perform a battery drain to find out for myself exactly how long the battery lasts.

I had watched the recent WWE Battleground Pay-Per-View on it. (A tablet, the UE Boom, and 3 hours of entertainment while relaxing on the bed, that's the life.) The battery level of the UE Boom went down from 90% to 70% during that period

By that estimation, the claim of 15 hours is very realistic.

Conference Call

I was genuinely excited that I could use the UE Boom as a means for conference calling. The 360 degree sound capability of the UE Boom compliments the usual round table conference and its on-board microphone is more than adequate to get the job done.

Wrapping It Up


I love the UE Boom for many reasons. Being waterproof and incredibly durable, I know I can take it anywhere. And with its design, I am not ashamed to show it off as well. Its well thought functionality is much appreciated, from small details such as distinctive drum roll beats one hears when turning the device on and off to the ability to press the large + and - button together for the device speak to you its battery level.

The app may not be as well designed as the hardware, but I believe it will improve over time with updates.

I highly recommend those who frequent chalets, parties and BBQ gatherings to invest in the UE Boom for a truly good time with good music!

For more information, be sure to check out the official website of UE Boom.

Other Reviews


This section exists to acknowledge that fact that no matter how good a review is, it is definitely wise to seek other reviews and make your own judgement before making a purchase. Here are some other quality reviews of the UE Boom: