UE Boom 3 Speaker review
It can be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes, which makes it one of the Ultimate Ears’ best-selling portable outdoor speakers for all life’s thrills and spills. The Boom 3 comes with an IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating, making it waterproof and dust-proof.
The new speaker has a new two-tone fabric grille and a refined look, but does it stand up to our tests? Read on to find out:
UE Boom 3 Speaker: Design
As with the UE Boom 1 and 2, the newest model in the portable speaker line is a cylindrical design for 360-degree sound, and with a height of just 18cm, it is both small and easy to carry.
UE Boom 3 is available in sunset red, lagoon blue, forest green, and night black iridescent fabric finishes. One of the designs we tried featured a beautiful two-tone khaki and gold fabric finish, which shimmered beautifully when the light caught it. Even the fussiest customer will be able to find a combination they like on the Ultimate Ears website.
Apart from looking great, this fabric is extremely durable, having been designed originally for motorcycle jackets and fire equipment.
The UE Boom 3 is known for its incredible waterproof rating, which means it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes due to a tight interlocking weave and a fully protected charging port.
The Boom 3 also floats, which is handy if you plan to take a dip in the pool – though for most users, the waterproof rating will be most useful in the shower.
There is an on/off button on the top of the speaker as well as a ‘magic button’ that lets you pause, play, and skip tracks. In addition, you can use the magic button to access a few music providers directly from your playlist – to do so, you must set up this feature in the Megaboom app.
The feature only works with Apple Music on iOS devices, and Deezer Premium on Android devices – with so many Spotify users out there, Spotify integration would really enhance the experience.
There is no rubber casing on the UE Boom 2, and the large ‘+’ and ‘-‘ volume buttons are integrated directly into the fabric grille. However, if you’re using the speaker in the shower, you’ll find the volume buttons a little more difficult to use.
Features and performance
This little speaker packs a punch with a maximum volume of 90 decibels, two 2-inch drivers, and two 4-inch passive radiators. We found the sound to be spacious, with good frequency separation, due to the conical design.
Despite the bass that sounds good (if lacking in some depth) for the speaker’s size, we weren’t wowed by the mid frequencies, which feature heavily in vocals and keys – they seemed subdued in comparison to the bass.
Our treble frequencies also had a lack of clarity – we tried out guitar-heavy tracks such as Belle and Sebastian’s “Your Cover’s Blown” and felt the highest frequencies could have used a sharper kick.
If you’re not happy with the default equalizer settings, you can adjust them in the dedicated app, which offers four pre-sets: ‘The Standard’, ‘Cramped Spaces’, ‘Voices’, and ‘Bass Jump’. There is an adjustable tuner with which you can create your own custom equalizer settings – just slide the sliders on the bass, mid, and treble tuners until you find a sound you like.
UE Boom 3s can be linked together for stereo sound – although you can connect up to 150 Boom and Megaboom speakers for a huge wall of sound.
The UE Boom 3 can be charged using the included micro-USB cable or by using Ultimate Ears’ own charging dock, which gives you a couple of different options, depending on whether you’re on the go or at home.
In terms of portability, the speaker fulfills all the expectations: it’s light, easy to carry, and offers 15 hours of playback on a single charge. The Bluetooth connectivity was also flawless and we found the 150-foot range to be accurate.
While using it in the shower, we encountered no problems with the waterproof design. On top of the speaker is a fabric hook so you can hang it while you wash.
|Light and portable||Battery life isn’t improved|
|Rugged design||Relatively expensive|
|Powerful sound||Audio lacks sharpness|
Overall, the UE Boom 3 is a solid little speaker that addresses some of the shortcomings of its predecessor, the UE Boom 2. In terms of wireless range and waterproofing, it’s certainly an improvement over the previous generation, but Ultimate Ears still aren’t quite there yet.
I find it puzzling that Ultimate Ears have not significantly improved the audio quality, which, while powerful, lacks clarity and precision, particularly in the lower mids and treble frequencies. It is nice to be able to adjust the equalizer settings.
Both generations have the same battery life at 15 hours, which is a little low compared to the UE Megaboom 3’s 20 hours. However, the Megaboom 3 is a bit more expensive, so if you want to save some cash on a portable speaker, choose the Boom 3.