Mention Ultimate Ears or UE for short to anyone that is into music these days and they will tell you that they make one of the best in-ear monitors in the market. From 30 Seconds to Mars to my favorite boy band Backstreet Boys and even electronic duo Daft Punk, more and more Artists, Athletes and Celebrities are using Ultimate Ears these days.
Of course this would mean that when the UE Boom was announced, expectations are definintely higher for this very interesting looking portable speaker.
Called the first ever social music player, the UE BOOM is a wireless speaker that’s packed with a specific set of features that sets a new standard for listening to music. Offering 360 degree listening pleasure and a super long battery life of 15 hours that might make your laptops and smart phone green with envy, this is one speaker that packs quite a punch.
While the design takes a while to get used to, I have to admit I was very intrigued by the two large music volume controls. In the form of a large “+” and “-” sign, these also double up as a battery check when they press both together. As there is no display indicator on the UE BOOM, a voice tells you how many percent of battery is left. There is also a little hook for you to hang the UE BOOM or secure it if you are not putting it on the table.
Another interesting point to take note is that the UE BOOM is actually splash and shock resistant. Of course its not gonna be able to go diving with you or take impacts like a two story drop, so this is not for your extreme sports outing. Rather this means that you can take the UE BOOM on camping trips, BBQ outings or even a ride along east coast park knowing that your investment can take the accidental knocks or spills. And if anyone is asking, I seen the UE BOOM take a water bath during my hands on session although I really wouldn’t want to risk pouring coke on that $299 piece of electronics.
I know what you must be thinking now, $299 for a speaker that comes in white, red, black and blue is definitely not cheap. And if you are the type that equates weight to quality, the UE BOOM weighing in at 538 grams is not going to help either. Yet if you dive into the product deeper and explore the many possibilites that this speaker can do, the cost somehow makes more sense.
Pairing it up with my HTC One X, I put the UE BOOM through my Spotify playlist of songs ranging from Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around… Comes Around, Live Forever by Ferry Corsten feat. Aruna and Soundgarden’s Live to Rise. While it is not going to beat your Logitech UE 600 or Logitech Z623, the UE BOOM still sounds lots better than most of the competition. Instead of a dominating bass output, the UE BOOM does a decent job of separating the lows, mids and highs instead of a “rojack” or mess of noise that you get from other portable speakers.
Another feature that caught my attention is the app for the UE BOOM. Yes, the UE BOOM has a niffy control app thats available for Andriod and iOS users. Other than the usual volume control that is expected, the app has the ability to display the correct colour of your UE BOOM and the super cool ability to pair up two UE BOOMs together. What this means is that you can actually get Stereo mode (left and right) if you have a pair of UE BOOMs. This of course opens up much more possibilities like outdoing the neighboring BBQ Pits and bringing your romantic outdoor dinner date up one notch. The possibilities are limited to your own creativity. Sadly there are no plans to provide a development kit for this app at the moment as the idea of connecting more than two UE BOOMs would definitely bring a new dimension to outdoor events or just to annoy your neighbor.
Overall the UE BOOM is one really interesting piece of audio gadget. While the price is definitely by no means small, the amount of features, the long 15 hours battery life and the fact that this portable speakers actually produces very decent music does make it worth a 2nd consideration.
Ultimately I would recommend those looking for something more than just your “cloned to death” portable spakers to give the UE BOOM a look.
Photos courtesy of Logitech Singapore.
by Kenneth Wong
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