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UE Megaboom Review

Portable Bluetooth speakers are hot these days. Manufacturers cannot seem to stop making more of them. In the case of Ultimate Ears, they’ve taken their Boom speakers, which were pretty good to begin with, and made them bigger and better. Their new speaker is quite aptly named the Megaboom. Is it just bigger, or is it really better as well?

UE Megaboom

The Megaboom is a ruggedised, capsule-shaped speaker measuring 22.6 cm tall and 8.3 cm in diameter. It’s big, big enough to pump music for a house party, but still portable enough that you can just about take it anywhere you can bring a water bottle.

The capsule speaker is designed to stand vertically, so that it can deliver all-around 360° sound. Internally, it has two 2″ drivers and two 4″ passive radiators. Ultimate Ears’ specifications put the Megaboom’s maximum sound level at 90 dBA, which according to this chart is equivalent to a train whistle at 500′ away. Indoors, the 360° sound has an amplifying effect when trapped within four walls. So, yes, this is powerful. It will work pretty well at the beach or pool party too.

Speaking of beaches and pools, one of the new and exciting feature of the Megaboom is that it is IPX7 certified. This means that it is waterproof, and you can completely submerge the Megaboom underwater, up to 1 m deep, for up to 30 minutes. Oh yes, you can play a track or two, or more, underwater. I’m not saying that’s something practical to do. I think people who actually want to listen to music while swimming should get some gear more suitable for that activity. However, if you plan to put the Megaboom on an inflatable in the pool, have no worries that tipping over into the water will do any damage.

UE Megaboom

 

To protect against water ingress, the Micro-USB port and 3.5 mm audio jack on the bottom of the Megaboom is covered by a rubber gasket seal. A nice feature is that the screw mount for the gasket fastener is compatible with standard camera tripods. This means that you can mount the UE Megaboom onto a camera tripod. Together with its 360° sound, you can truly put the Megaboom in the centre of a room.

The Micro-USB port is used only for charging; there is no USB audio support. The Megaboom’s battery runs for a very impressive 20 hours, and its included USB smart charger supports voltage levels up to 12 V for faster charges.

Of course, the real purpose of a Bluetooth speaker is to wireless play audio. To this end, the Megaboom supports longer range Bluetooth, and provided your audio source supports it, you can stream from up to 30 m away. That’s plenty of distance.

UE Megaboom

The Megaboom can pair with up to eight Bluetooth source devices, and play from two of them simultaneously. You can have both your notebook and smartphone sending audio to the Megaboom, so while you play music from one of those devices, you can still hear other sounds from the other device.

If someone brings a second Megaboom to your party, you can play to two of them simultaneously from a single source device. You’ll need to install the UE Megaboom app from the respective Android or iOS stores. Then, you can either setup the two speakers to either play stereo music, or simply double the sound for extra loudness. The app will also allow you to pair the Megaboom with the older Boom speaker.

The Megaboom comes in a plastic case, which fits the Megaboom together with all the needed accessories, which include a charger, Micro-USB cable, and various plug heads. You could use this case to carry the Megaboom around since it does have a carrying handle, though it’s neither pretty looking nor seem robust enough.

UE Megaboom

Overall, the sound quality coming from the Megaboom is impressive. It’s not just loud, but it really packs a punch, particularly for a speaker its size. This is especially evident in the bass that it delivers. If I had to be critical, I found that the trebles have been slightly overwhelmed by the bass and mids, and there’s somewhat a lack of finesse in the high frequencies. It’s not made for audiophile listening, and seeing that people are mostly going to use the Megaboom for casual listening, and to liven up their parties, these details are less important.

The Ultimate Ears Megaboom will be available in Singapore from July 2015 for S$399. It’s quite pricey, particularly if you want to consider getting a pair for that stereo effect.

Conclusion

The Ultimate Ears Megaboom delivers really powerful all-around 360° sound. The ruggedised waterproof build means you can bring it to the beach or pool party, but be prepared to pay a premium for these speakers.

Pros:

  • Rugged, waterproof design
  • Powerful, punchy, omni-directional sound
  • Long battery life
  • Long Bluetooth range

Cons:

  • Clarity in the trebles are a little compromised

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