'UE Boom' Bluetooth Speaker Review: Hard As Nails

The UE Boom is available now for £169 from Ultimate Ears.

Key Features:

  • Water and stain-resistant coating
  • NFC + Bluetooth
  • 15-hour battery life
  • Speakerphone Capability
  • Pair with another to create stereo pair

The Verdict:

The Bluetooth speaker is something that's easy to make, but difficult to master. Almost any audio company you can think of is making one - and almost all of them fall short in some regard, even if it's just price.

Creating something that's as powerful as it is portable is much much harder than it sounds, but if you wade through the hordes of BT boxes that are in the market you'll find that there are a few that tick all the right boxes.

The UE Boom is one of those speakers.

Physically it's not huge by any stretch -- around the size of two drinks cans stacked on top of each other -- but relative to its size the sound is truly impressive.

UE claims that by using a 360-degree layout of the speakers they've been able to fill a room with sound far more easily while still getting the bass response that so many portable speakers lack.

The company isn't wrong, the sound is clear and defined and copes incredibly well at high-volumes. Place it in a corner or up against a flat wall or surface and the UE Boom then comes into its own, perfectly amplifying the lower end to give it a sound that honestly defies its size.

UE have nailed other aspects of the Boom as well, the battery life for example, is superb. UE claims over 15 hours of playback and we'd whole-heartedly agree, it just seems to keep going.

We've been using it for weeks in the kitchen as a speaker in the mornings and evenings and honestly we've only had to charge it twice.

The design gets another thumbs up as well, it's small, not too heavy and ruggedly simple and that water and stain-resistant coating means that there's never a situation where you think 'maybe I shouldn't take it, just in case'.

UE now offers an iOS and Android app which lets you customise the Boom further, adjusting the equaliser or turning it into a stereo pair with another Boom.

It's not as complex or as adjustable as say Bose would offer but it's simple and intuitive enough that it has some genuine functionality.

To sum up, the UE Boom may not offer the same sound as say, a £300 speaker from Bowers & Wilkins but what it does offer is something that's remarkably close, only costs £169 and will survive pretty much anything you can throw at it.