The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom is the latest addition to the Logitech-owned company’s line of portable waterproof speakers. This seemingly unassuming device is the size of a coffee mug, but don’t let its small demeanour fool you. It’s surprisingly booming sound and robust build makes it the perfect companion for rocking out to your favourite tunes whether you’re in the confines of your home or enjoying the sun by the poolside.
UE Wonderboom Review: Design & Build
The Wonderboom looks like a fat soda can that fits quite comfortably in the palm of one’s hand. While there are quite a few colour options to choose from, I reviewed the ‘Avacado’ green one, which everyone at the office fondly referred to as ‘the grenade’. Even the small elastic ring at the top further contributes to this illusion. Alongside this ring, we also find the Bluetooth and power buttons. These are accompanied by the Ultimate Ears moniker which also functions as the play/pause button. You can’t miss the large volume buttons present at the front. Finally, we have the micro USB charging port which is concealed by a flap at the back.
While it might appear that this flap could be a point of failure, it so happens that the entire speaker is water resistant regardless. This flap is meant to be an added layer of protection as charging the speaker with water inside the port would certainly be catastrophic. The Wonderboom’s IPX7 rating ensures the speaker will survive being submerged to a maximum depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about losing the speaker to the depths of the ocean – or perhaps your kiddie pool – as it floats all on its own.
I was quite impressed with the overall build of the Wonderboom. It is solidly constructed with its rubbery plastic and fabric materials that are used all over. The speaker is even stated to survive drops from as high as five feet, meaning the speaker would be just fine even if it gets smacked off the table occasionally.
UE Wonderboom Review: Features
Using the speaker could not have been any simpler. You press the power button to turn it on, long press on the Bluetooth button to enter pairing mode and connect your source device. It’s that easy. Furthermore, Logitech does not provide any app for the Wonderboom as all the controls you need can be performed using the provided buttons. Pressing once on the Ultimate Ears logo at the top lets you play or pause the soundtrack. Double press lets you skip the track. Pressing the volume buttons at the same time will let you know the remaining battery of the Wonderboom by letting out a series of beeps – one for low, two for medium, and three for high. I was not a fan of this interface as I couldn’t figure out the exact amount of charge left in the speaker.
The speaker can connect to eight source devices at a time. Obviously, only one source can be used to output audio, but you can immediately cycle to another source device without having to disconnect and reconnect the speaker. You can even connect two Wonderboom speakers together by pressing the UE button on both units simultaneously. Furthermore, there is a battery saving mechanism built in which powers down the Wonderboom if it remains inactive for fifteen minutes.
UE Wonderboom: Performance
The Wonderboom surpassed my expectations both in terms of its loudness and sound clarity. I tested the speaker by pairing it with a few different Android smartphones, a laptop, and even to a PC using a Bluetooth dongle. Other than a few connectivity issues in the Bluetooth dongle setup I used on the PC (likely due to the cheap quality of the dongle and not the fault of the speaker itself), all these sources performed exceptionally with this speaker.
I even went as far as staying up all night with my siblings and watching Avengers: Infinity War on my seven-year-old flat-screen with the Wonderboom as the sole output placed in the middle of the living room. Saying that this speaker sounded better than the TV’s inbuilt speakers would not be an exaggeration. In fact, I was even able to pick up on Thanos’s threats from the adjacent room quite easily.
Moving on to the actual sound quality, both the highs and mids on this speaker are wonderfully clear in everything from dubstep to classical tracks. While not entirely chest thumping, even the bass is surprisingly good considering the speaker’s size. I did experience some distortions at maximum volume, but this wasn’t an issue persistent enough to be a deal-breaker. On the other hand, Logitech doesn’t specify weather this speaker uses aptX or AAC codec. It is likely that it uses neither and simply relies on the standard SBC codec.
Battery life is also not far off from what was advertised. The Wonderboom is rated for 10 hours of playback with moderate volume levels. Crank the volume to max and you’ll lose a couple of hours at most. As for the range, it’s rated 100 feet (30M) distance holds true as long as you don’t have any obstacles in the way or any interfering signals. At around 50 feet, I was able to maintain an uninterrupted connection between the Wonderboom and my Huawei P20 Pro through three concrete walls. Your mileage may vary.
UE Wonderboom: Verdict
The UE Wonderboom is one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers you can buy right now. It currently retails just under Rs.6,000. At this price, the Wonderboom doesn’t really leave much to complain. It is small enough to be easily portable and is loud enough to truly be the life of the party. Its 360-degree output ensures everyone can rock to it regardless of where it is placed. Both the range and battery life are excellent as well. You can also connect two of these and double up on the fun.
In retrospect, the distortion at max volume and slightly weak bass response in some soundtracks are minor grievances I was happy to overlook for how well the Wonderboom performs in daily use. The only real problem I had with this speaker was with its battery level indication method. Surely Logitech could have implemented something better than a series of beeps which can only give you a ballpark of the remaining battery. Despite this one gripe, the Wonderboom is definitely worth the buy and certainly gets my recommendation for music lovers of all types looking for a durable and portable solution.