If you are looking for a small, stylish, durable Bluetooth speaker then you must have come across the UE Wonderboom.
This is a cute, small, speaker of the Ultimate Ears with water protection which designed to be used as a shower speaker or to blast music on the beach.
UE already had the Roll 2 in this category, what I reviewed before and turned out to be a decent Bluetooth speaker and now they have another offering the Wonderboom.
However, is the Wonderboom the best in its category or should you rather choose the Roll 2 or something else?
Let’s find this out in this in-depth review.
The several available color options also show that UE wanted to create something fashionable and trendy.
At the date of this review (29.03.2018), the Wonderboom can be bought in 11 different color options for around $60.
The Box, Accessories
The speaker comes in a nice box with only a yellow micro USB cable included.
The Wonderboom has a cylindrical shape and a similar size as a larger apple.
It is at the upper end of the ultra-portable speakers; it is definitely too big to put it into your pocket and for some slimmer notebook bags, however, you can attach it to your backpack or easily carry it in a beach bag.
Nevertheless, it’s worth to mention that it is pretty heavy, heavier than the most speakers in this category.
The outside of the speaker is covered by a nice, mesh fabric material, which looks durable and provides a good grip.
The Wonderboom is built from solid materials and according to the manufacturer, it can even survive some accidental drops from up to 5 feet as well.
I haven’t tested this but it really looks durable, something which fits well with an active lifestyle.
The design of the speaker is sleek, subdued and pretty stylish.
It got all the signature design elements of the UE speakers like the large volume control buttons or the rubberized plastic top and bottom.
The top houses the well-known UE Power and Bluetooth buttons and in addition, it has a third button under the ‘Ultimate Ears’ title which can be used to control the music.
In contrast, the UE Roll 2 which did not have any music control capability with the Wonderboom you can pause/play the music by pressing the ‘Ultimate Ears’ button and you can skip a song by double pressing it.
To be honest, I do not really like its buttons, they are very minimalist, so much so, that at first, you might not even notice that they are buttons, so the usage of them is not self-explanatory at all.
By the way, this is also the case with the buttons of the UE Roll 2.
They are also quite hard to press especially the volume buttons on the front.
One thing to take note of if you’re considering this speaker is that like the UE Roll 2, the Wonderboom does not have a built-in microphone, so you cannot answer phone calls or use a digital voice assistant with it.
It’s a pity because it would be handy if you could answer calls with it while you are in a pool.
The Wonderboom is not just durable but also water and dust resistant, so it’s a great outdoor speaker.
It got an IP67 protection which means it is dustproof and completely waterproof, it can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes.
So you can take it to the pool or to the lake and you can even drop it all the way in because it floats on the water.
This makes the Wonderboom an ideal speaker for canoeing, surfing or jet ski.
You just have to make sure the waterproof flap which covers the charging port is sealed correctly.
It is quite easy to open and close the flap, however, the charging port lies too deep in the speaker, so it’s a bit inconvenient to attach the charging cable to it.
One thing is worth to mention that you cannot listen to music on it while it’s floating in the water because it does not float on its back like the UE Roll 2 with its Floatie.
Connectivity, Bluetooth range
Unfortunately, the Wonderboom did not get an audio input port so it can be connected only with Bluetooth.
In my outdoor test, I measured around 115 feet Bluetooth range, which is a great range, likely you will not have any connectivity problem with the speaker.
If you have multiple UE Wonderboom speakers, you can connect them together for an amplified sound by long pressing the ‘Ultimate Ears’ button on both speakers at the same time until you hear a pairing tone.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to double up the Wonderboom with other types of UE speakers and it also does not support stereo mode.
If you have a problem with the speaker, you can reset it back to the default settings by pressing the ‘Volume down’ and the ‘Power’ buttons simultaneously for about 10-15 seconds.
Unlike the UE Roll 2, the Wonderboom does not support the UE mobile app, so you won’t get such features like the equalizer or you cannot turn it on/off using your mobile phone.
It has a built-in small hook on the top which can be used to hang the speaker on something.
It looks sturdy and can work well with a carabiner, however it’s definitely not so versatile like some other solutions on the market, for example, the elastic cord of the UE Roll 2.
According to the manufacturer, the battery lasts up to 10 hours and it takes 3 hours to fully charge it.
However, in my tests, I got quite disappointing results.
When I played various types of songs on the speaker at full volume I measured 2 hours play time, while repeating the same test at 70% volume I got 6 hours 40 minutes.
This is a quite short battery life, for example, the UE Roll 2 can provide 2 hours 10 minutes play time at full volume and 11 hours 30 minutes at 70% volume.
To save battery life, the Wonderboom automatically turns itself off after 15 minutes of inactivity.
By the UE Roll 2 when you pressed the ‘Volume up’ and the ‘Volume down’ buttons simultaneously a voice told you the exact remaining battery percentage.
Unfortunately, the Wonderboom can’t do that, it only plays three types of tones which indicate if the battery level is high, medium or low.
UE Wonderboom Sound Test
Under the hood, the speaker has two drivers and two passive radiators shooting the sound out in different directions.
So the speaker has a 360° omnidirectional sound, you can put it in the middle of the room and you will get similar sound quality everywhere.
It was a pleasant surprise that despite its size the Wonderboom has a quite big sound with even deep lows.
In contrast, for example, the UE Roll 2 has a weak bass production with completely missing deeper lows.
Also, the treble and the vocals are nice and the speaker has a clear overall sound.
The volume level is fine, it is quite loud, enough to fill a larger room.
The only problem is that the bass is boosted too much and often it overpowers the other frequencies.
This uncontrolled bass can be really disturbing and can ruin some songs.
Overall, I liked the UE Wonderboom, it is a well-built, sturdy and stylish outdoor speaker.
It’s ideal for the beach or next to a smaller pool, especially because in contrast the UE Roll 2 it has music control capability.
Its sound is full and big, only the boosted bass can be sometimes disturbing.
I wish its battery life was longer but otherwise, I think for $60 it is a pretty good deal.
Rugged, sturdy design
Shockproof, IPX7 water protection
Big sound with deep lows
Good Bluetooth range
Short battery life
Uncontrolled, boosted bass
No audio input port
In-house, you can find the UE Roll 2, which is a similarly priced, waterproof, outdoor speaker.
It has a better battery life, a precise battery level indicator and supports the UE mobile app.
It also comes with a mini inflatable life preserver which helps the speaker to float on the water.
However, it does not have any music control capability and has a flat sound compared to the Wonderboom with weak bass production.
Another alternative could be the smallest outdoor speaker of the Bose, the Bose SoundLink Micro.
It is a smaller, more portable device, with a built-in strap which is more practical than the hook of the Wonderboom.
It got a microphone and it has a longer battery life.
The Micro has a more balanced, natural sound, however, it does not have so deep lows as the Wonderboom and has a smaller overall sound.
It is also a more expensive device.
It is worth to mention one of its biggest contenders the popular JBL Flip 4, which has a longer battery life and a better sound.
It also has a built-in microphone, a more precise battery indicator, however, it is also more expensive and bigger than the Wonderboom.
Maximum sound level: 86 dBC
Frequency range: 80 Hz – 20 kHz
Drivers: two 40 mm active drivers and two 46.1 mm x 65.2 mm passive radiators
Height (102 mm), diameter (93.5 mm), weight (425 g)