Everything says its ultimate these days. Ultimate edition, ultimate power, use your Ultimate and switch, Hanzo, good God why do we have three snipers, etc. Problem is, very little really is, in the end, Ultimate. Is the UE BOOM 3?
If not, it comes very, very close.
If you’re into your portable speakers, you probably know the Ultimate Ears brand. They’re light, loud, and minimalist; my kind of tech. The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is, basically, the continuation of the brand, with a couple of new tweaks that make great speakers, well, greater. And in a range of delightful colours too.
Let’s start by saying that, if you’re one of those people who shun headphones while walking down the street, blasting music that clearly needs bass from some tinny off-brand speaker, I urge you not to buy this speaker. Also, you’re a jerk and everybody hates you.
Yes, it’s ultra-portable, and the sound is pretty phenomenal, and it’s got a 12-15 hour battery life, and DAMN it gets loud if you want. These are all reasons to buy the BOOM 3. And it’s why the prats who blast whatever while walking through the neighbourhood must never know about them, because none of us will ever get peace and quiet again.
As you can tell, i’m a grumpy old man trapped in the body of a devastatingly handsome 29-year-old. As such, ya know what I like? Baths. I like scalding hot baths, like so hot you think you might actually damage yourself at first, and up to my neck in muscle soak bath salts. I recently started going to the gym again, and damn do I need all of that.
What does this have to do with a speaker? Mind your business.
In all seriousness, I hate pure silence unless I’m active. I used to drag my Echo into the bathroom with a precarious system of cables and hoping this wasn’t the day I’d electrocute myself in the tub. Now I don’t have to do that, because the UE3 sits on the shower shelf and plays its little heart out. Stick on a playlist or podcast and let the stress melt away while you actively scald yourself. It’s also great to know it’s waterproof, so if it falls in the bath, no big deal, unless it lands on a sensitive area.
I’ve also used it while taking a normal shower, loud enough to drown out the noise. Very good. Not so much for everyone else in the house, who are by now sick of hearing me belt along to pirate folk metal, but very good for me, the guy who likes to do that thing.
Finally, I brought it out with me while hanging up the laundry. It still sounded great outdoors, although my non-deaf dog was very concerned by the singing washing, and the neighbours probably weren’t thrilled either.
The BOOM 3 has its own dedicated app, which controls features like the DJ battling Block Party, the equaliser, what the Magic Button does, and so on. Is it useful? Yes. Is it great? No. You’ll probably use it to set up Spotify as the Magic Button function, then never touch it again. That Magic Button is good, though. It’s pretty nifty to just hit it and get your favourite playlist.
The UE BOOM 3 is small, light, durable, powerful, and long-lasting. Honestly, it is the best Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used. But are there caveats? Yes.
The BOOM 3 retails at about $279 NZD, which is pretty damn steep, even if it is definitely worth it for the quality. However, if you’re considering buying it, there are some things to consider. It won’t replace my Echo, for example, which I keep in the bedroom for all my music needs there. The Echo also boasts way more functionality, and roughly the same sound quality, for considerably less cash. However, Echo is not nearly as portable, nor is it as damn-near indestructible as the BOOM. No beach parties with Alexa.
Basically, if you’re gonna drop this kind of money on a sweet speaker, make sure it’s the right one. But if waterproof, wireless, and portability are your jams, the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is definitely the right choice.