People get ready, there’s a new wireless speaker in town, and it’s the Ultimate Ears UE Boom. The UE Boom stands 18 centimetres high, and weighs 538 grams. It’ll play songs and podcasts, plus work as a speakerphone. It will work as an external speaker for phones, tablets and computers – in fact any device that supports the Bluetooth wireless audio profile Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).
The speaker grille wraps almost right around the UE Boom, so the sound is 360-degree, and, based on my few days now with the device, it fills the space around it with a surprisingly big sound. That sound is courtesy of two 1.5-inch full-range drivers, and two 2-inch passive radiators. Stand it up to play, or place it down and have the speaker roll to orient itself for best sound output.
The design of the UE Boom was inspired by a water bottle. Displaying that design touchstone can be seen by the way in the which the speaker fits in the water bottle cage on a bicycle. The speaker is made from a fabric that is used in ski gear, and coated with a plasma to make it stainproof and water-resistant. So while it’s safe to use beach or poolside, it isn’t waterproof. It might survive a dunking, but that’s not a guarantee.
On the bottom of the UE Boom is a D-clip, that can connect to a carabiner and be slung around a waist, or a backpack, or suspended, or unscrewed so that the Boom can be placed atop a tripod.
The UE Boom connects to devices via Bluetooth, and can be controlled wirelessly by up to a distance of 15 metres. It can connect to up to two devices at a time, and will pair with up to 8 devices in total. If you own two UE Booms, or have a friend with one, with the use of the free iOS or Android app the two speakers can be connected to create stereo-to-stereo sound, or left/right stereo..
Played at a reasonable volume, you’ll get 15 hours of play on a full battery charge. Note though that the device does not have a replaceable battery. If wireless isn’t your thing there is a 3.5 mm speaker jack on the bottom. The volume can be controlled via the button on your phone, tablet or computer, or you can use the large + and – buttons on the side of the Boom. A word of warning though the first time you use the UE Boom. It is set to loud for the first play. And when I say loud, I mean LOUD.
UE Boom price and availability
The UE Boom is available in red, white, blue, and black, with green and pink to follow soon. It is in stores now, and sells for $199.95 RRP.
It is selling initially at Dick Smith, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Myer, The Good Guys, and Apple stores.