UE Hyperboom is 13 pounds of portable Bluetooth goodness
Ultimate Ears' biggest Bluetooth speaker yet is built to party. It's not light -- or cheap -- but it packs some serious punch.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
Ultimate Ears Boom speakers come in a few different sizes, but none of them are as big as the all-new Hyberboom. A supersize wireless speaker that tips the scales at a hefty 13 pounds, the Hyperboom makes the Megaboom 3 look unquestionably puny. Available in black only at launch, the Hyperboom hits stores in March for $399 (399 euros, AU$599). It's not cheap, but it sounds better than a lot of the jumbo portable speakers on the market right now. (There's no word yet on UK pricing or when it will be released in the UK.)
Ultimate Ears reps told me the Hyperboom was created after the company got feedback from its customers looking for a bigger speaker that could play loud enough and have deep enough bass to power a party. The speaker can do just that -- Ultimate Ears says it's three times as loud and has six-and-a-half times the bass of Megaboom 3 -- and has no trouble filling a fairly large room with sound.
Yes, this speaker is "portable" -- battery life is rated 24 hours at moderate volume levels. But if you really crank the volume, that number will drop more like 3 hours. Enough to get you through a party? Maybe. But you can always plug it in (you have to charge it with its own AC power adapter) if you're near a power source. The battery is not replaceable but should last several years.
The speaker supports four input sources -- two
, one 3.5mm auxiliary and even an optical input if you want to connect a game console or PC. With a press of a button you can switch between the sources and have two
connected via Bluetooth at the same time so you can trade off playing music with a friend. There's also a USB-out port for charging devices. But to be clear, this is a Bluetooth-only speaker -- there's no Wi-Fi.
The Hyperboom is splashproof with an IPX4 rating, and an integrated microphone automatically reads the environment and calibrates the sound to fill any space, indoors or outdoors. As I said, it's pretty hefty, so you probably don't want to carry it too far. But the retractable rubber handle seems sturdy and is securely fastened to the speaker. I lugged it around for several blocks during our video shoot.
Watch this: UE Hyperboom is built to party
As a single speaker, it sounds much better than any UE Boom speaker I've heard before. The bass goes deep and remains well-defined, even at higher volumes, and there's decent clarity (it doesn't distort at max volume). I compared it to a Sonos Move, a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker that also costs $400 but is smaller. The Hyperboom did sound bigger, with better overall clarity and more powerful bass. It definitely has more kick to it.
While it has multiple drivers, the Hyperboom does have its sound limitations; it can't quite escape sounding like a single speaker. If you want to take it to the next level, you can pair two of these guys and get real stereo sound (they do sound quite good paired together but that will set you back $800). Or you can wirelessly connect it with any other Boom,
or Hyperboom speakers using the PartyUp feature in the companion app for iOS and Android to spread the sound across more space.
Here are the Hyperboom's key specs, according to Ultimate Ears. I'll post my full rated review after comparing it to additional jumbo wireless portable speakers.
Dimensions (H/W/D): 14.33 inches (364mm) x 7.5 inches (190mm) x 7.5 inches (190mm)
Weight: 13 lbs. (5.9kg)
Input sources: Two Bluetooth, one 3.5mm auxiliary and one optical audio
Bluetooth range: 150 ft./46m
Battery life: Up to 24 hours (3 hours max volume)
Charge time: 2.6 hours
Drivers: Two 4.5-inch (114mm) woofers, two 1-inch (25mm) tweeters, two 3.5-inch (89mm) x 7.5inch (191mm) passive radiators
Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 100 dBC
Frequency range: 45Hz - 20KHz
Water-resistance: IPX4 rated (splashproof)
Warranty: Two-year limited hardware
Available: March 2020
Price: $399 (399 euros, $AU599)
Get the best price with CNET Shopping.
Love shopping online but don't have time to compare prices or search for promo codes? Our CNET Shopping extension does that for you, so you always get the best price.
Add CNET Shopping