01
Oct
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Back in early July, I reviewed what has since been my favorite portable Bluetooth speaker: the Ultimate Ears BOOM. It really lives up to its name, delivering top-notch sound quality that's nearly impossible to find in most speakers twice its size. Of course, that kind of quality comes at a price – a $200 price, to be exact. And if you wish to utilize the Double Up feature that lets you use two BOOMs at the same time, that price doubles. It's hard enough for many users to even justify one BOOM.

Today, Ultimate Ears announced the MINI BOOM, the BOOM's little brother. At basically half the size of the original, the MINI BOOM is instantly portable, and comes in at half the cost ($99). But don't let its pint-sized exterior fool you – this little guy packs a wallop, and easily lives up to the BOOM name.

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Pros

Cons

  • Big, powerful sound in a small package
  • Sleek design
  • Good battery life
  • "Double Up" feature
  • NFC Pairing
  • Missing some of the larger BOOM's features
  • No on-speaker track controls
Appearance and Features

If you've read my past speaker reviews, then the MINI BOOM may look pretty familiar to you. Good reason, because it looks identical to the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox in essentially every way. Same form factor, shape, size, material, and button configuration. This, of course, raises the question is it the same exact speaker?

Let me just put that concern to rest right now: it's definitely not the same speaker. The sound profiles are completely different, so one can only assume that the MINI BOOM likely has very different innards compared to the Mobile Boombox. But it doesn't stop there with the differences; the MINI BOOM also has features missing from Logitech's take on the ultra-portable speaker, like the same Double Up feature that I love on the larger BOOM. But I want to stop myself before going overboard with the comparisons to the Mobile Boombox – while they definitely look the same, the sound is vastly different. And that's that.

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Since we've already established that it looks and feels exactly like the Mobile Boombox, I'm just going to give you the long and short of the build quality: it's solid as hell. The top is where you'll find the controls for volume and Bluetooth, and the back sports the power button, microUSB charging port, and 3.5mm input jack for wired playback. Both sides are adorned with UE logos. That's pretty much it. It's simple and it works. Unfortunately, there's no battery indicator light, just like with the Mobile Boombox.

Screenshot_2013-10-01-08-58-33 Screenshot_2013-10-01-08-58-51 Screenshot_2013-10-01-08-59-13 Screenshot_2013-10-01-08-59-29

When it comes to features, the MINI BOOM is basically in a league of its own for a speaker this size. It features NFC pairing, can handle up to two connections at once, and remembers the last eight paired devices. As I've already mentioned, it also has the same Double Up feature found on the BOOM, which allows two devices to be paired and function simultaneously in either double or stereo modes by using the MINI BOOM app. Like with its big brother, this feature worked flawlessly.

The app also lets you change audio profiles (more on that below), rename the speaker, check the remaining battery capacity, and find out firmware version/serial number information.

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One feature you'll find on the BOOM that didn't make its way over the MINI BOOM, however, is its splash resistant coating. Sorry guys, can't get the MINI wet.

Lastly, let's talk about battery life. The MINI BOOM is rated for 10 hours of battery life and, no surprise, it delivered that. I was able to use both MINI BOOMs in stereo mode at my desk for an entire workday (and then some) without issue. If you run it at full volume, however, the time is going to be shorter, perhaps by two hours or so. Still, a solid eight is nothing to scoff at.

Sound Quality

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In the area of sound quality, the UE BOOM is one of the best ultra-portable Bluetooth speakers I've ever heard. It's so sharp and crisp, and not lacking anything in the low-end department. Of course, the G-Project G-BOOM recently stole my heart thanks to its combination of low price and incredible sound quality, as well – but it's more of a "boombox" than a portable speaker and doesn't really compete with the MINI BOOM. Anyway, I'm getting off topic.

Given how much I love the UE BOOM, I was really excited to hear the MINI BOOM, and it didn't disappoint. If I didn't know better, I would swear that it's at least twice its actual size, because it doesn't sound small. It packs an unusual amount of low end for its ultra-compact size – it's nice, but not overpowering. The attributes are very balanced across the board, creating a rich, dynamic listening experience. This, of course, can also be tweaked within the UE MINI BOOM app, as that's where you'll find the three sound profiles: Out Loud, Vocal, and Intimate. I found myself using Out Loud for the most part, as it just sounded the best to me.

For such a small package, the MINI BOOM can also put out some volume. Naturally, it's not as loud as its big brother, but that's to be expected. Don't sell it short, however, for its size, it really can push some sound.

Unfortunately, the other feature of the larger BOOM that didn't find a home in the MINI BOOM is the 360 degree speaker – get behind the MINI BOOM, and the sound is drastically dampened. That kind of makes sense, however, as I don't see the use case for each speaker being the same. The BOOM is more appropriate for parties or other social gatherings, where the MINI BOOM makes perfect sense on the desk or other intimate environments.

Conclusion

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In my UE BOOM review, I recommended the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox to anyone looking for an extremely lightweight and ultra-portable speaker. Today, that recommendation changes. The UE MINI BOOM is superior to the Mobile Boombox is basically every audible way, and it comes in at the same price point. Thus, my new recommendation is the MINI BOOM – there's really nothing to not love about it. It sounds and looks great, has good battery life, and is small/compact enough to take essentially anywhere.

At $99, I don't think the MINI BOOM is overpriced for its intended use. With that said, if you only have a Benjamin to spend and want the absolute most for your money, it's hard to ignore G-Project's G-BOOM. Of course, it isn't ultra-portable and its battery life isn't all that great, so that's also something to consider. If ultimate portability and sound quality is what you're after, however, look no further than the UE MINI BOOM.  

Update By request, here's a quick comparison between the speaker on my Nexus 4 and the MINI BOOM.

Buy: Ultimate Ears, Amazon

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Elva lemke

    Like Tom responded i didn't believe that anybody able to earn $8546 each month on the net.. Tips here. BIG44.­c­o­m

  • Justin W

    Do you think you could post a video (or soundcloud or something similar) with a comparison between your phone's speaker and the mini boom? I'm interested in it but I really need to know how they sound in comparison.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I'll see what I can do here in a bit.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Video uploading now.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Here you go: http://youtu.be/27Aej-xsX80

      Went ahead and added the video to the post as well. Hope it helps!

      • Justin W

        Awesome, thank you!

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          Did it help?

          • Justin W

            Definitely, and I'm surprised at how loud the speaker is, especially for it's size.

  • lordmerovingian

    How does this compare to the Bose Sound link? At work we have the Bose and the sound quality is immensely impressive for such a tiny device.
    Don't think the Bose has NFC, and battery life is about 7 hours I think and it's double the price, 199.99.

    • tyb1

      I'm curious about the same thing. I am still debating about the Sound Link Mini

      • Justin W

        @lordmerovingian:disqus I actually am thinking about going with the Sony SRS BTX300. It's double the price (of the MINI BOOM - $199), got NFC for BT pairing, and around 8 hours of battery life. The reviews on it are stellar also - average of 4.7/5 with 37 reviews.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I don't have the Sound Link to compare it to, but isn't that kind of large? I would think that would compete more with the BOOM, not the MINI BOOM.

  • John Smith

    this speaker has been around for almost a year. it's been on stuck on sale at $79 forever at Best Buy.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      ...if you actually read the review, you'd know that this is NOT the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox. It's the UE MINI BOOM - a completely different speaker that was just released today. It just looks like the Mobile Boombox.

      • John Smith

        my bad. but all of these boom names sound so similar it's easy to get them confused.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

    How's this compare to the JBL Flip?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Not sure - I don't have the Flip. Sorry.

  • Jason Eala

    I would love to hear this one in person. My friend had the Boom and it sounded great.

    http://bestportablespeakersguide.com/

  • John

    Your review sealed the deal, and I just ordered one on Amazon. I was originally vacillating between several others as I needed a speaker with a mic to throw in my laptop bag for traveling .You helped clear up the distinction between the UE mob BB and this UE mini boom. I'm looking forward to it!

  • thewafflehouse

    I'm curious, could you actually use the DoubleUp to play music out of both the Mini Boom and the Regular Boom at the same time? Or is the DoubleUP only able to work with one type?

  • http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&linkCode=ur2&tag=dfgecvb-20 Janet

    MINI BOOM is not too bad for its money. I had them before. But later decided to go for something more stylish and solid. Got Klipsch... Of course, they are super expensive for portable speakers, butso far I do not regret about buying. If you like nice stuff and ready to pay $300+ for speakers, go for them.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BAQJ97I/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00BAQJ97I&linkCode=as2&tag=thougpictuand-20

  • Andrew

    since the ue boom is twice the price of the mini boom you think it's better to get 2 mini booms and have them produce a louder sound than a single boom?

  • soundslike

    Whats the difference between the mini (99) and the boom (199) besides the size.
    Why would I buy the boom? sound? volume?battery live

  • hallary

    Has anyone tried - Azon Deal Shopper (just google it) There is a little gold box on the site that gives discount promo codes for any product on Amazon. Got my portable speakers for cheaper than the listed rates. Don't know how I found Azon Deal Shopper, was just googling.