Ultimate Ears – the Logitech-owned company – has a history of manufacturing fun looking wireless speakers that get really loud. The latest UE WONDERBOOM is an addition to the growing UE portable speaker family which now includes the UE Roll, the refreshed UE Boom 2 and the larger UE Megaboom.
The UE WONDERBOOM is no different. Available in Lilac (purple), Stone (Gray), Subzero (Blue), Fireball (Red), Cashmere (Pink) and Phantom (Black), the WONDERBOOM looks similar to the UE BOOM 2, at just half the height and slightly fatter in its radius. It’s a pretty odd shape, to be honest. The thickness limits the portability by taking up more space in your bag, but darn, it sure is cute.
The UE WONDERBOOM has the same design language as the other UE speakers. It has a cloth covered grill and a rubberized bottom and top to keep the speaker stable while playing at high volume on a flat surface. There’s a power and pairing button on the top with a multi-purpose button as the UE logo and on the side of the speaker, you would find the oversized volume up and down buttons.
In terms of ports and functionality, the UE WONDERBOOM is pretty much what it is – a splashproof wireless speaker. Concealed under the waterproof flap is the USB cable for charging. There is no option for an Aux-in, USB or microSD playback – features we find that are already mainstream in most wireless speakers these days.
The UE WONDERBOOM is still using the micro USB charging port, which might require you to carry an additional charging cable as most modern Android phones are already using the Type-C USB standard.
To connect to the speaker, simply power the speaker on, press and hold the Bluetooth button for 2 seconds and find the UE WONDERBOOM under your smart device’s’ Bluetooth settings. Pressing the UE button will allow you to play, pause your music and even to switch to the next track.
You can also connect 2 UE WONDERBOOM wirelessly to create a larger soundstage. Just press on the UE logo at the top of both speakers at the same time and both will be paired in seconds.
The two over-sized volume buttons lets you control the master volume of your smart devices. Holding both buttons together will tell you the battery level of the speaker.
UE however chose an interesting way of telling the battery level. The WONDERBOOM will emit different audio tones to signify the different battery level ranging from High, Medium to Low. The lack of voice prompts on the WONDERBOOM seems to indicates the absence of any onboard memory for this function. This could be how UE is keeping the cost low with the product – by cutting on the frills and focusing on the essentials.
Logitech says that the WONDERBOOM has a 10-hour battery on a 2.8 hours charge. In my personal test at mid volume, I have never gotten anything more than 7 hours which falls short of what Logitech is claiming.
At the top of the UE WONDERBOOM is a rugged fabric hook which you could hook your finger into it while carrying the speaker around or simply secure it on a hook to play the music at a higher placement. I did think that the small hook does limit the usability but I guess you could probably hook on a carabiner to improve the usage scenario like hanging it on your bag while outdoors.
Like all the speakers in the UE series, the WONDERBOOM is also completely waterproof (IP67) and even floats while in the water. Do note that the audio might be slightly muffled when the speaker is wet as water molecules are stuck in the fabric of the speaker. Just hit it against your hand to shake out the water to enjoy your pristine music again.
The very first time you play music on the UE WONDERBOOM, you will be impressed with how loud this little guy can get. One thing that UE has constantly got it right is to pack larger than life audio in a small form factor and in this aspect, the WONDERBOOM continues to impress. The 40mm active drivers and dual-passive radiators does an amazing job of producing audio at an insanely high volume with very decent bass.
That said, the WONDERBOOM appeals most to bass lovers. Even at low volume, the lows can sometimes be overwhelming – but this improves when you adjust the speaker to mid volume. The mids are pretty clean and don’t sound muffled, which is perfect for most vocal tracks.
The Achilles heel of the WONDERBOOM is apparent when playing at high volume. When at almost max volume, the WONDERBOOM’s audio will start to crack at the highs and the harshness is overbearing when listening to it over an extended period of time. I am sure not many people will listen at the max volume but it’s a point to take note if you intend to use this outdoors at a party or BBQ where speakers are usually maxed out to produce sound to fill the open space.
When Apple removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, the company called it a courageous decision to do so. With the UE WONDERBOOM, I think Logitech was also courageous to produce a speaker that is so specific in its usage scenario.
The UE WONDERBOOM is a splashproof wireless speaker and nothing more. You can’t take calls with it, can’t connect it to the UE app for audio customization, neither can you connect an AUX-in cable for a wired connection. But Logitech knows its target audience. Young millennials that value portability and cuteness over audio fidelity would definitely consider the WONDERBOOM when purchasing a wireless speaker.
While it’s definitely not a speaker for the audiophile, the UE WONDERBOOM is overall a decent waterproof wireless speaker that has impressive audio reproduction in a small form factor. At S$149, it is also inexpensive when compared to similar offerings from Bose, Sony or Creative.
But if you’re looking at a speaker with more features, longer battery life and performs well at high volume, there are better options in the market.