CNET First Look
UE Boom: The 'go-anywhere' Bluetooth speakerUltimate Ears' new $199.99 compact wireless speaker plays very loudly and is water- and stain-resistant.
Hi. I'm David Carnoy, executive editor for CNET.com. And I'm here with the Ultimate Ears Boom Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. Ultimate Ears is now owned by Logitech, but this speaker is fully branded as a UE Speaker and follows the well-received Logitech UE Boombox and UE Mobile Boombox, which will remain on the market. The list price for the speaker is $199.99, so it's fairly pricy. But it's being touted as a more powerful and durable version of the Jawbone Jambox. It has a special acoustic skin plasma coating that makes it water- and stain-resistant. That means you could wash it should it get dirty. And UE is marketing it as a speaker you can take with you everywhere you go, indoors and outdoors. At 1.2 pounds, it's not heavy, but it's also not light and has a little bit of heft to it. It comes in two different colors and is designed to sit horizontally or vertically. On one end, there's an audio input, as well as a hook, so you can clip the speaker to a backpack with a carabiner. If you unscrew that hook, you'll find a threaded tripod mount. The speaker charges via USB; it gives you about 15 hours of battery life, which is very good for portable Bluetooth speaker. There are volume controls on the speaker itself, but most people will simply use their smartphone or tablet as a remote. And the speaker, like the Jambox, has speaker phone capabilities. Behind the fancy fabric covering the speakers are two 1.5-inch full range drivers and two 2-inch passive radiators. UE has designed the Boombox to a 360 sound, so it sounds the same whether you're standing in front of it or you're standing behind it. I've listened to a lot of these compact Bluetooth speakers, and the Boom plays very loud for its size. If it has a deficiency, it just doesn't deliver a ton of bass, though a few, if any, of these small speakers put out great bass. While it's expensive to buy two of these speakers, it's also worth noting that you can daisy chain two of them to help fill a larger space with sound, or you can have one speaker act as a left speaker and one act as a right speaker to invite real stereo separation. I still need to test it more outside, but I like the look and feel of this speaker, and it certainly plays loud. At $200, it's a little bit expensive, but the fact that it's water-resistant, it offers 15 hours of battery life, as well as speaker phone capabilities, makes it certainly worth considering if you're looking for a compact Bluetooth speaker for both indoor and outdoor use. I'm David Carnoy, and that's the UE Boom. Thanks for watching.