I’m a huge fan of Ultimate Ears speakers. The MEGABLAST Alexa-powered speaker I recently reviewed hangs over my treadmill. The WONDERBOOM is a far simpler, and much less expensive speaker that, for under $100, will have you ready for the great outdoors this summer. It is small, powerful, gets great battery life and is, of course waterproof.
At $99.99, the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM is “the super-portable Bluetooth speaker with surprisingly big sound.” Both sides of the statement are true. At 102mm high, 93.5 mm wide and weighing in at just 425 g, the WONDERBOOM is small enough to go just about anywhere you do. And with two 40mm active drivers and two 46.1mm by 65.2 mm passive radiators, and delivering 360 degrees of sound, this small speaker pumps out a surprisingly big sound. It is why Ultimate Ears describes this speaker as “…your go-to accessory for conjuring the magic out of music. Enjoy 360 degrees sound that is bright, beautiful and with balanced bass.”
Much of what the WONDERBOOM offers is pretty much what you would expect from medium to high-end Bluetooth speaker from a reputable company. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides up to 10 hours of battery life can charge just 2.8 hours via the micro USB port. Its Bluetooth allows you to pair up to eight source devices and the speaker can be connected to two source devices at the same time. Also, you can wirelessly stream to two speakers from a single source for even bigger sound. The Bluetooth wireless range lets you be up to 33m (100 feet) from the audio source. And, of course, the speaker comes with a two-year limited warranty.
This small speaker looks a bit like a softball and is available with a wide range of different artistic designs so that you can get one that best fits your aesthetic.
A charging port is hidden behind a waterproof door at the lower back portion of the speaker.
It allows you to charge the device, but that’s all, the connectivity options available. There is no ability to plug the wired source into this particular speaker.
The volume buttons are on the front of the speaker and are quite large and visible. On the one hand, the large size makes it easy to activate them. On the other hand, as with so many of the current products from Ultimate Ears, the volume up and volume down buttons come together to create a cross. This is something I didn’t initially notice, but when I brought one of the speakers into my office at the synagogue, students pointed it out.
EASY PLAY, PAUSE, SKIP: Control your music right from the speaker. Pressing the Ultimate Ears/UE button on the top of the speaker lets you easily play, pause, and skip song.
At the top of the speaker, the company name is embossed in the hard black plastic. Above the name is the power button.
Below the name is a multifunction button that allows you to physically play, pause or skip tracks. Because this is a speaker designed for times when you’re active, there aren’t a lot of controls on the speaker itself. Personally, I see this as a positive.
It’s also worth noting that a cloth loop is permanently affixed to the top of the speaker. This lets you hang it from a tree or secure it did, for example, you’re using this on a simple. It’s a simple but effective approach that will help keep the speaker from falling into a lake or the ocean.
If, however, the speaker does fall into a lake or the ocean, you are in luck. You see, this speaker is not only completely waterproof, but it also floats. That’s why, as the company notes, it is, “great for showers, pools, beaches, muddy fields and reading days. If it gets dirty, just rinse it off.”
It works with regard to snow too! (And yes, this picture was taken on April 2, 2018… it was gorgeous yesterday and then today… this.
The speaker is also tough! In addition to the “sports a hanging loop on top so it can easily attach to any bag, bicycle, backpack or cannonball into a cove without thinking twice,” it was drop proof tested from up to five feet. All that adds up to a speaker you can take anywhere without worry that it will get damaged or lost!
Finally, as with so many of the speakers from Ultimate Ears, this speaker can be paired with a second WONDERBOOM so you can double up on the sound and fill whichever space you may be in.
- 360° SOUND:
Maximum sound level: 86 dBC
Frequency range: 80 Hz – 20 kHz
Drivers: two 40 mm active drivers and two 46.1 mm x 65.2 mm passive radiators
- POWER: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery for up to 10 hours of battery life between micro-USB charges. Charge time: 2.8 hrs
- WIRELESS CAPABILITIES: Pair up to 8 Bluetooth® enabled source devices. Connect up to two source devices at the same time. Wirelessly play (stream) to 2 WONDERBOOM from one source.
- COMPATIBILITY: For audio playback: smartphones, tablets, and other devices that support Bluetooth® and Bluetooth® Smart wireless audio profile [Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)].
- WIRELESS RANGE: Mobile range for music playback is up to 33 m (100ft)
- DIMENSIONS: Height (102 mm), diameter (93.5 mm), weight (425 g) (speaker only)
At $99.99, the WONDERBOOM is the same price as the UE ROLL 2 (a speaker I love) but, unlike the ROLL 2, it floats without the need for the “float” that ships with the ROLL 2. It is also far less expensive than the $179.99 BOOM 2, the $249.99 MEGABOOM and a third the price of the MEGABLAST. You can get Bluetooth speakers that are even less expensive than the WONDERBOOM, but they likely won’t be waterproof, won’t float and won’t deliver the awesome sound that makes Ultimate Ears’ speakers among my favorites. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Under $100; Big sound; Floats and waterproof; Loop for hanging; Can double speakers up; Good battery life
What Needs Improvement: No aux in port for wired connections