I know what you’re thinking – can this flashy, wild-colored, “astronaut”-promoted wireless speaker really be a quality product? I mean, come on, we all have seen the heavily celebrity-promoted Beats by Dre and Monster headphones and the premium prices those sets command. And sure, it’s not like Beats and Monster headphones are bad, it’s just that you’re getting a $100 quality headphone for $300+. In essence, you’re paying for the flash.
So when the marketing campaign for the Logitech UE Boom consists of faux-astronauts, semi-hipster college-aged models, a booth at Bonnaroo, and the second coming of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile (injected with a dose of swag steroids), I have to admit being a little bit unsure of how this review experience would play out, even despite Ultimate Ears’ fantastic reputation in the professional music industry. I realize that UE’s slogan for the Boom is “Make Music Social”, but astronauts that look like Troy Polamalu? Hmmm…
Well, after spending about a few weeks reviewing the UE Boom, consider myself a true believer. The UE Boom is one of the best products I have ever reviewed. It above and beyond exceeded my expectations, and it looked swag-tastic doing it.
First, as a disclaimer, the UE Boom is different than the UE Boombox (which we reviewed separately), though their names are similar. Think of the UE Boom as an even more portable version of the Boombox.
The UE Boom is packaged in a sleek yet sturdy cylinder case. Included in your purchase is the Boom wireless Bluetooth speaker itself, a powerbrick, and an accompanying micro USB cable. The Boom is available in six color schemes, and I was graciously sent one in white with neon yellow accents. The device is charged upon arrival, so you can use it right out of the case. Linking the device to my iPhone 4S was super easy – all I had to do was hold down the Bluetooth button located on the top of the Boom for a few seconds and it paired automatically to my phone.
I was able to travel a decent amount (about 10 feet) beyond the listed maximum Bluetooth range of 50 feet and still get consistent sound. I currently have the unit set up in my lab space for review by myself and several of my lab mates, and we’re not having any issues with lab benches, shelves, or any other possible interfering structures between our music playing device and the Boom. I also enjoyed the minimalist design of the Boom, which kept the device clean looking. But don’t confuse minimalist with archaic, as the Boom has some innovative features, starting with the battery life “meter”. Hold down the “Plus” and “Minus” buttons together for about three seconds and the device will voice how much battery is left. That’s pretty awesome. Also, the Boom is water resistant, so while you shouldn’t play pick up sticks in the pool with it, you can be assured that a little splash of water at your pool club should be fine.
The sound from the UE Boom is simply amazing. It can be played LOUD and still retain considerable quality across the range of highs, mids, and even some low frequencies. The folks at Logitech also worked some magic to get high quality and clarity bass frequencies into the small and portable Boom, all while maintaining a harmonic balance of sounds. You won’t be getting that overproduced bass sound with the Boom, a very welcome change of pace from products like the Beats by Dre Pill and other similar celebrity-branded headphones and speakers.
For my fellow techies out there, you’ll be pleased to learn that the UE Boom has two 1.5″ drivers with only 4 Ohms impedance, plus two 2″ passive radiators. The frequency range is listed at 90Hz – 20,000Hz, and this fits with the sound production. You’ll be getting some low frequencies that sound great for a device this portable, but it’s not like you’re rocking two 15″ subs here.
Since we were only given one unit to review (still, thanks!), I was not able to do much with the iPhone app, since the primary function of the app is to sync two Booms together. Nevertheless, there are some functions the app can do with a Boom riding solo, such as monitor the battery life (though the voiced meter is way cooler!) and change the sound profile depending on your location and volume needed (outdoors, indoors, podcasts).
Overall, I am super impressed with the UE Boom. The only issue I encountered with it involved syncing to older Bluetooth devices. While syncing to my iPhone 4S and lab mate’s new Mac Book Air went smoothly, when my other lab mate tried to sync the Boom to her older laptop, the connection would kick out after every song, requiring a search for device every few minutes. Considering that the Boom encountered no issues whatsoever syncing to new Bluetooth devices, I am led to believe this is a laptop problem and not a Boom problem. Also, considering that you likely will sync up the portable Boom to your equally portable smartphone or iPod Touch (and not your laptop), I figure this issue is pretty minimal.
The Ultimate Ears Boom is great for individuals who are out and about but still want excellent sound no matter where their travels may take them. Look beyond the energetic marketing campaign and see the product for what it is – a fantastic portable Bluetooth speaker that offers incredible sound quality and functionality, either individually or with your friends. Making music social never looked so cool – or sounded so good.