For the past two years, the Ultimate Ears BOOM has been, in my opinion, the benchmark Bluetooth speaker. It was the first one to come out that really and truly changed the way I personally thought about BT speakers, because it was the first one that didn't sound like a tiny, ultra-portable speaker. Since then, we've seen a lot of really nice speakers step the game up, but despite being two years old, the BOOM has been able to hold its own against basically all of them.
Today, UE announced the successor to the BOOM, the BOOM 2. Naturally, this builds on what UE started with the BOOM and makes it better.
It's no secret that I love Ultimate Ears' Bluetooth speakers - the BOOM was my absolute favorite speaker for nearly two years. Then the MEGABOOM came out, and UE once again impressed the hell out of me with the amazing sound it can get out of such a portable package. Today, the company announced the smallest in what I still think can be classified as the "BOOM Family" - the UE ROLL. (OK, it doesn't necessarily have BOOM in the name, but c'mon - it's clearly part of the family.)
The ROLL is made to take the place of the UE Mini BOOM, which was the smallest member of the family.
As far as I'm concerned, Ultimate Ears is the best name in portable wireless speakers right now - the BOOM and MEGABOOM are my personal picks for best all-around Bluetooth speakers on the market. The Mini BOOM had its time, as well, and it was very good for its pint size. Today, however, Ultimate Ears has unveiled the Mini's successor, the UE ROLL. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the name, but it is fitting - it looks like a dinner roll. I have no idea if that's actually what they were going for, but whatever. That's what I'm taking it as.
If you're in the market for a super-portable Bluetooth speaker, you've got a lot of options. But if you're looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that doesn't suck, and further more can be had at a discount, your options become significantly more constrained. According to Cameron Summerson, who's probably tried more speakers in the last year than he's had hot dinners, the Ultimate Ears MINI BOOM is an excellent choice.
When it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers, the Ultimate Ears BOOM ($199) and MEGABOOM ($299) stand above the rest in my opinion. Each speaker has outstanding sound quality for its size, they're both incredibly robust, and Ultimate Ears backs them with an unprecedented two-year warranty.
They both also have a killer feature called Double Up that allows two speakers - either two BOOMs, two MEGABOOMs, or a combination of either - to be paired together for stereo sound using the Ultimate Ears apps. In my experience, this works very well and is super easy to set up. In the coming months, however, it looks like Ultimate Ears is going to allow 10, or perhaps even 20 speakers to be paired together in the same way that Double Up works, as reported by re/code.
When I reviewed the Ultimate Ears BOOM back in July of 2013, it quickly became my favorite portable speaker, and held that title all throughout last year. To this day, in terms of portability, form factor, and sound quality, I don't think you can get a better all-around package. Sure, there are more robust speakers (like the Fugoo speaker), and there are even speakers that sound better (like the Bose SoundLink Mini, which is amazing for the size), but when it comes to one do-it-all monster, the BOOM is it.
Naturally, when Ultimate Ears announced the MEGABOOM at CES, I had to jump in line to check it out.
We usually don't cover news on Bluetooth speakers here at Android Police, at least not ones without specific mobile-related features. But Cameron enjoyed the original Ultimate Ears BOOM speaker so much that we figured an announcement post for the bigger brother was warranted. The plus-sized MEGABOOM features the same sturdy design as the original in a larger and louder package, complete with its impressive software features. It will retail for a hefty $299.99 later this month.
At 22.6 cm by 8.3 cm and 877 grams, the MEGABOOM is larger than the UE BOOM, but not drastically so. That extra space gives you a 90-decibel maximum sound level from two 2" drivers and two 2x4" radiators with a frequency of 65Hz - 20kHz in all directions.
We've covered some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market over the last few months – everything from small and affordable to large and pricey. But I can promise you that we've never covered anything like the Ultimate Ears (UE) BOOM ($199). It's simply the best Bluetooth speaker I've ever heard, price be damned.
For those who may not be familiar with the BOOM, here's the skinny: it's a cylindrical, 360 degree, plasma coated, waterproof, stain resistant, NFC-enabled speaker. Really, it's a Bluetooth speaker that's designed for life. But the design is just part of what makes this speaker so good – it also has 15 hours of battery life, and (most importantly) it sounds incredible.
At $400 (I know, I know - stay with me here), the Logitech UE900s are well out of many people's perceived reasonable price range for a set of headphones. Especially earbuds. But I'd like to remind everyone that there is a definitely a market for headphones at this level, and it's not just reserved for the well-to-do and audio geeks. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to sound, you can spend thousands of dollars to find the "ideal" system. Audiophiles amass huge collections of equipment over their lives devoted only to reproducing sound - setups that can be valued at more than the cost of a nice midsized sedan.
Back at IFA 2012, Logitech unveiled its new series of Ultimate Ears accessories. Among those were a couple of portable speakers: the Boombox and Mobile Boombox. I've spent the last few weeks using both, and have been quite impressed for the most part. Without giving too much away right off the bat, both units sound surprisingly good compared to Logitech's previous Bluetooth speakers (and the competition), and are priced pretty aggressively for the features offered.