Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Review: The Toughest Speaker Around
The Wonderboom is possibly the toughest Bluetooth speaker around. Buy it if you're after an ultra portable yet durable speaker, but think carefully about the features you want if you don't need a bombproof design.
Way back in 2013 we reviewed the original Ultimate Ears Boom bluetooth speaker, and since then, Ultimate Ears (UE) have continued to innovate and become a dominant force in the Bluetooth speaker market.
The Wonderboom is just one of several speakers in the UE range. Marketed as a “virtually indestructible” compact Bluetooth speaker, I put one through its paces to see what it’s really made of. Watch our video review below, or read on to see what we thought.
Measuring 103 x 92.5mm, the Wonderboom looks less like a speaker, and more like a military ordnance. The mixture of fabric and rubber provide a nice contrast, and a small but strong fabric loop at the top is provided for easy hanging.
Featuring 360 degree sound, a 10 hour battery life, support for up to eight devices paired at once, along with a 33m range, and waterproofing down to one meter for a maximum of 30 minutes, the Wonderboom certainly sounds impressive on paper.
The built in battery takes 2.5 hours to charge via the built in microUSB port, and lasts up to ten hours. This charging port is cleverly hidden behind a rubberized cover, which prevents water or dust from getting in. Just remember to keep it covered before going for a swim!
With five buttons situated on the top and front of the unit, a huge variety of tasks can be accomplished. These buttons are particularly helpful if your Bluetooth device is not waterproof. Using these buttons, you can:
- Power on/off
- Adjust volume
- Play/pause/skip tracks
- See power/playing status
- Double up two Booms
One very cool feature is the ability to double up or sync two Wonderbooms together. Simply by holding the UE logo on two units, they will both pair up and begin playing music from the same source. No more fiddling about trying to stream audio to several devices at once.
If you already know that the Wonderboom is not the speaker for you, then why not check out our Sonos One review ? A smart speaker that is significantly larger, less portable, and less rugged!
The Wonderboom is unbelievably tough. I subjected it to a brutal regime. I used it as a football, a step, and a dog ball. I threw it as hard as I could against a brick wall, concrete floors, and trees. I smashed it. I battered it. I even drove over it! It’s incredibly resilient, and I even got punched in the face by it — it bounces like a tennis ball!
After all this torment, the Wonderboom stills plays music perfectly, and the only scar to show for all this is a bit of dirt.
I’m very impressed with this durability, and if you like to put your speakers in a cement mixer, or generally abuse them, then you won’t be let down by the Wonderboom.
The Wonderboom has excellent sound quality. Its dual 40mm drivers and Bluetooth smart wireless audio profile mean it can get very loud. At a maximum of 86dB, it can get so loud that it’s painful to listen to. Sound quality doesn’t get sacrificed in doing so, however.
Bass and treble quality is excellent, although the mids do suffer a little — nothing too terrible. This little speaker won’t compete with your home Hi-Fi however — and it’s not designed to. Costing $99, the Wonderboom is a portable, and waterproof, Bluetooth speaker.
While sound quality is good, larger UE models such as the Boom 2 do sound better. If the Boom 2 can be likened to the Amazon Echo , then the Wonderboom is certainly the Echo Dot of the UE range. Imagine the Boom 2 has been squashed until the sides bulge and you’re on the right track.
Naturally, being submersed in water does have an interesting effect on the sound quality. The speaker grill “spits” water everywhere, especially on bass heavy songs. Audio quality generally sounds slightly muffled underwater, but as the Wonderboom floats, you shouldn’t have any difficulty hearing it.
Should You Buy The UE Wonderboom?
The Wonderboom is an incredible speaker. It’s waterproof, practically indestructible, and reasonably priced. While the sound quality isn’t totally amazing, it’s still pretty good. The combination of hanging hook and buoyant design mean you can take the Wonderboom nearly anywhere.
While the Wonderboom is an outstanding device, it is missing a mobile app. You may be curious as to why a Bluetooth speaker needs its own app, but trust me, it’s a useful feature.
With larger speakers such as the Megaboom, extensive control over settings and pairing is provided via the app. It enables easy pairing with hundreds of other speakers, and provides the ability to set alarms. That said, it’s still possible to pair with Amazon Echo or other smart devices, with or without an app.
The Wonderboom is very easy to use, but it’s missing several useful features that the app provides. If you don’t need the complexity of the larger models, and you want a floating speaker, then the wonderboom is an amazing product. You may wish to consider the Boom 2 if you’re looking for better sound quality, but that comes at the expense of a few other features — and it doesn’t float!
Thanks to Ultimate Ears, we’re giving away a Wonderboom below. Don’t worry, we didn’t abuse this one!