Remember Ultimate Ear’s BOOM Bluetooth speaker? Well the company is back with a new and a best Bluetooth speaker, except this time it’s bigger and better than before. It’s called the UE MEGABOOM and I was given an early production unit to nab the UE MEGABOOM Review.
First things first: the UE MEGABOOM is dimensionally about twice the size of the first BOOM. However, it only weighs 1.7 lbs (lightest in its class), 0.5lbs more than the original BOOM. So fair to say it’s not as dense feeling as their first Bluetooth speaker. Nevertheless, it would seem that it has about twice the amplitude of the original BOOM, which means more firepower without all the weight. I dig it.
The MEGABOOM is also IPX7 rated (vs IPX4 in the BOOM), which means it can survive in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. And yes, those ports, the charging and headphone jack, are sealed right out of the box (with the BOOM you had to attach a rubber covering). And what’s more remarkable, is that Ultimate Ears has managed to incorporate a fabric covering over the speakers, which helps improve sound quality (it reduces negative resonance) and all the while repel liquid thanks to a plasma coating.
Powering the UE MEGABOOM is a massive 3,600 mAh battery (good for up to 1000 cycles and replaceable for just $50, shipping included). Included is a 24 watt microUSB quick charger for, well, fast charging. To be honest I have yet to get through a single cycle on the battery because it provides up to 20 hours on a single charge (at 50% volume). Nevertheless, charging should be painless enough since it will be fairly infrequent, and quick when it does occur.
BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy (by default this will kill the battery in 45 days if left on) is standard issue, which may seem moot in terms of a Bluetooth speaker, but actually isn’t. You see, you can power on the UE MEGABOOM directly from your handset or tablet, provided you’ve got a compatible device. It’s convenient if the MEGABOOM is out of reach at the time. Of course you’ll need to have the UE app downloaded and installed. But if you do you can influence the MEGABOOM’s EQ.
That all said, Ultimate Ears told me they spent countless hours tweaking and improving the Bluetooth radio inside of this speaker. And it has paid off, as I can attest to its quality, as I often left my phone in my bedroom, requiring it to transmit through a wall (and me) into my bathroom’s shower where the speaker was placed. Yes, I used the MEGABOOM in my shower, almost daily, and thanks to the “small spaces” EQ setting it sounded awesome.
And much like the UE BOOM of a time past, the MEGABOOM can be paired with another MEGABOOM speaker to form a stereo pair. Unfortunately, I don’t have a second one in my possession, but in all my experiences with other wireless speakers, this has a massive and positive impact on the quality of sound since the sound stage is vastly increased.
Now, when it comes to the BOOM vs the MEGABOOM I have to be honest and say I’m still a proponent of the original. And only because it’s more portable and practical to carry, especially if you’re traveling long distances or backpacking. But as I pointed out earlier, the MEGABOOM only weights 0.5 lbs more than the original. However, that all said, the MEGABOOM’s amplitude and added features make it almost impossible to pick one of the other. IPX7, while moot to some, will make it a much more practical speaker since it can be used on the beach, by the pool, or next to the bathtub, all without the fear of it breaking if it does take a dip. So ultimately, who’s to say you can’t, or shouldn’t have one of each?