(Pocket-lint) – Ultimate Ears (UE) is well-known for its excellent Bluetooth speakers, all with a distinctive look made from rubber and fabric materials. They’re also known for their bright and vibrant colour options and giant volume buttons.
Which UE speaker is the right one for you though? With several options available offering various features at different price points, we have broken them all down from the MegaBlast to the Wonderboom to help you find the best UE speaker to suit your needs.
The UE Megablast is the top speaker in the Ultimate Ears portfolio – the loudest and most powerful. It offers the distinguishable UE design with giant volume buttons and a combination of rubber and fabric, with a power button on the top and a Micro-USB port on the bottom. There is also a contact charging option but the Power Up accessory is sold separately for £35.
The Megablast features two 25mm tweeters, two 55mm active drivers and two 85 x 50mm passive radiators inside for a frequency range between 60Hz and 20kHz and a maximum sound level of 93dBC. It has 360-degree sound and it’s an excellent performer in terms of sound quality. It also offers a Bluetooth range of 45-metres and it is compatible with the UE App and Equaliser.
The Megablast comes with Amazon Alexa built-in, replacing the need for an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, though we didn’t find the Alexa experience as smooth as Echo, even though the sound quality is far superior. Multiple microphones are on board with beam-forming technology and noise cancellation for far-field voice recognition, and the Megablast promises 16 hours of battery life.
The UE Blast is the smaller version of the Megablast, offering exactly the same design, ports and features, including Amazon Alexa built-in and far-field voice recognition but in a much more compact device.
The Blast still delivers 360-degree sound but it ditches the tweeters found in the Megablast and opts for two 35mm active drivers and two 81 x 39mm passive radiators instead. It offers a frequency range between 90Hz and 20kHz and a maximum sound level of 90dB. Like the Megablast, it also has a Bluetooth range of 45-metres but it doesn’t offer the Equaliser feature of the UE App.
Due to its smaller size, the UE Blast has a slightly smaller battery capacity compared to the Megablast, delivering up to 12-hours instead of 16-hours. It still has the Micro-USB port on the bottom, as well as the contact charging option for the Power Up, however.
UE Megaboom 3
The UE Megaboom features a more seamless design than the Blast range. It has a “Magic Button” on its top which allows users to play, pause and skip tracks without using their phone, as well as access playlists with a long press from services including Apple Music and Deezer.
The Megaboom offers 360-degree sound and delivers great sound quality, via two 50mm drivers and two 55 x 86mm passive radiators. It has a frequency range between 60Hz and 20kHz, a maximum sound level of 90dBA and it is compatible with the UE App and Equaliser, whilst also offering a 45-metre Bluetooth range.
The Megaboom doesn’t have Alexa built-in. The UE Megaboom 3 has a battery life of 20-hours though, more than the Megablast, and charging is more convenient thanks to a repositioned Micro-USB port on the back and a built-in contact charging port for the Power Up on the bottom. The Power Up is sold separately, however.
The original UE Megaboom is a few years old and it has been replaced by the Megaboom 3, though you should still be able to get hold of this model if you so wish. It offers a more rugged design than the Megaboom 3 with a rubber band down the front, and it has a 3.5mm aux-in port too, something its replacement doesn’t offer.
Inside, the Megaboom has the same speaker array as the new model with two 50mm drivers and two 55 x 86mm passive radiators. The original Megaboom has a frequency range between 65Hz and 20kHz, a maximum sound level of 90dBA and it offers a Bluetooth range of 30-metres.
There is no Alexa capability on the Megaboom and you also don’t get the “Magic Button”. It too gets a 20-hour battery life, but it is charged via the Micro-USB port that is at the bottom of the speaker making it a little less convenient. The original Megaboom is not compatible with the Power Up charging dock.
UE Boom 3
The UE Boom 3 is the smaller model of the UE Megaboom 3 and the successor to the popular Boom 2. It offers the same design as the Megaboom 3 but in a smaller and more compact model, and there are personalisation options too if you pay a little extra through the MyBoom service. The “Magic Button” is on top like the Megaboom 3, offering play, pause and skip capabilities, as well as access to playlists (music service dependant) and you get the more streamlined design too.
Inside, everything is exactly as it was on the Boom 2 so you’ll still get that excellent sound. There are two 50mm drivers and two 50 x 80mm passive radiators, delivering a frequency range between 90Hz and 20kHz and a maximum sound level of 90dBA. Like the Megaboom 3, it offers a Bluetooth range of 45-metres and it is compatible with the UE App and Equaliser.
The Boom 3 isn’t smart like the Blast, but it does offer a 15-hour battery life, which is charged via the re-located Micro-USB port on the back, or the Power Up contact charging port on the bottom.
UE Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 is the smaller and more compact model of the original Megaboom. It is an excellent speaker for its size, offering portability and great sound quality within its convenient body, which is a perfect fit with a bicycle drink holder. There is no Magic Button interface like the newer Boom 3, but there is a 3.5mm aux-in jack.
Like its replacement – the Boom 3 – there are two 50mm drivers and two 50 x 80mm passive radiators, delivering a frequency range between 90Hz and 20kHz and a maximum sound level of 90dBA. Its Bluetooth range is a little lower at 30-metres instead of 45-metres and it isn’t compatible with the UE App and Equaliser either.
Battery life sits at 15-hours on this speaker, like the Boom 3, though it is charged via the Micro-USB port that is positioned at the bottom of the device rather than the back, making it a little more awkward. The Boom 2 isn’t compatible with the Power Up contact charging dock either.
UE Wonderboom 2
The Wonderboom 2 updates the original Wonderboom and brings with it stereo pairing, for those who want a more sophisticated sound. It also features an outdoor sound button, which drops the bass and projects the treble, making it much better for listening outdoors.
It has two 40mm active drivers and two 46.1 mm x 65.2 mm passive radiators delivering a frequency range between 75Hz and 20kHz and a maximum sound level of 86dBA, or 87dBA in Outdoor Mode. Its Bluetooth range is 30-metres and it is IP67 water and dust resistant.
The Wonderboom 2 has a 13-hour battery life, lasting a little longer than the original model, while still offering the same compact and powerful delivery of your music. If you don’t want to stereo pair, you also have the option to group with another Wonderboom speaker.
The UE Wonderboom is the smallest and most compact Ultimate Ears speaker but don’t let that put you off. It’s a brilliant little speaker, perfect for bringing everywhere with you thanks to its portable size, even if it has been replaced by the Wonderboom 2.
There are two 40mm active drivers inside, coupled with two 46.1 x 65.2 mm passive radiators, delivering a frequency range between 80Hz and 20kHz and a maximum sound level of 86dBC. It only has a 30-metre Bluetooth range like the original Megaboom and the Boom 2, and it isn’t compatible with the UE App and Equaliser but it’s still a great option.
The Wonderboom isn’t a smart speaker either and it doesn’t have any fancy features like the Magic Button on the Megaboom 3 and Boom 3, but it is possible to pair two Wonderboom speakers together and it has a 10-hour battery life, which isn’t bad given its small size. The Power Up charging dock isn’t supported but the Micro-USB port is conveniently placed at the back for easy access.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.