Last week I wrote on the announcement of UE MEGABOOM (US$299.99) Bluetooth speaker, the new big brother to the UE BOOM ($199.99) and the UE MINIBOOM ($99.99). I reviewed the UE BOOM last year and was thrilled with its performance as a portable, durable and great sounding wireless speaker. It's the portable Bluetooth speaker I've been recommending to everyone that's been asking.
This last week I've had the pleasure of putting UE's MEGABOOM through its paces, especially in comparison to the smaller BOOM. Read on to find out how the MEGABOOM fared.
Design and Features
In terms of design, the MEGABOOM looks like a super-charged version of the BOOM. All the design cues and details are virtually identical to the BOOM. In my BOOM review, I likened the BOOM's shape to that of an old-school cylindrical pencil case. The MEGABOOM is exactly like that, only the bigger version that holds about a dozen more pencils. It's 8.3 inches tall and has a diameter of 3.3 inches.
The MEGABOOM weighs 1.93 Ib or 875g, which is just over 300g heavier than the BOOM. It's still extremely solid, and really easy to pick up and carry around with one hand. Although those 300g are noticeable when carrying the MEGABOOM for extended periods of time in comparison to the BOOM, the extra weight is negligible in day to day use. It's the size in form factor which is the dramatic change here. It's the difference between shoving the BOOM into a small satchel or even a coat pocket and the MEGABOOM requiring a backpack or something of that ilk.
Still, I would consider the MEGABOOM a truly portable wireless speaker. From its capacious 20-hour battery life (up from 15 hours for the BOOM) and 100-foot Bluetooth range (up from 50 feet on the BOOM), to the smallest details of the design, the MEGABOOM will perform in just about any environment. For example, like the BOOM, the MEGABOOM's cylindrical shape means that there are no edges or potential hooks for it to grate or snag on. The fact that you can feel your way around the speaker without needing to look at it; the on / off button is indented at the top while the Bluetooth pairing button is raised. The volume-up and volume-down buttons are indented along the rubbery back of the speaker in "+" and "-" symbols.
Furthermore, the MEGABOOM is IPX 7 certified, which means it's waterproof in up to 1 meter of water. Awesome! The USB charging port and 3.5mm audio input jack have rubber doors to make the MEGABOOM air tight. You've no need to worry about drops into the bathtub, swimming pool or if you leave it out in the rain, which means you don't need to bother with carry cases or protective covers. It's design that serves both form and functional that means there's no fuss. You just focus on the music.
Pairing to the MEGABOOM on my iPhone, iPad and also my Mac over Bluetooth was really easy and straightforward. When you first connect to the speaker, you're prompted to download the easy-to-use MEGABOOM app, which is there for the extras, like EQ settings, software updates and other features.
In terms of audio performance, the MEGABOOM builds on everything the BOOM delivers. The 360-degree room filling audio that comes from the cylindrical shape is enlarged and well-rounded. High-end is open, clear and spacious, while the low end is much warmer and fuller than what the littler BOOM offers.
The fantastic My Brightest Diamond's track Pressure puts the MEGABOOM to the test. Tight snare with a big kick and fat toms are punchy and detailed, but it's the bass riff that drives while the vocal is clear and smooth, front and center. Wind instruments are the icing, while synths and BVs enhance and fill everything out. It's a brilliant song and the MEGABOOM handles it well. If I was to be picky, It'd be in those booming low frequencies that things can get slightly muddied.
Of course, positioning of the MEGABOOM will make a big difference to the sound it produces. The accompanying MEGABOOM app allows for custom EQ settings to adjust to your preferences.
Speaking of which, the MEGABOOM app also allows for over-the-air software updates to the MEGABOOM as well as the ability to pair the MEGABOOM with up to 10 other MEGABOOMS. What a party that would be! There's also the alarm clock and and a new feature that lets you turn on or off the MEGABOOM from the app, for those late nights or early mornings where you can't be bothered to get out of bed.
The MEGABOOM is a real level-up in comparison to the BOOM. For a truly portable speaker, design, portability and overall audio performance are top-notch. Sure, it may be bigger than the BOOM, but the enhanced audio, Bluetooth range and battery life far outweigh the extra bulk. The only downside of significant note is the price. The $299.99 price feels a little on the expensive side. But if your budget can reach for it, the MEGABOOM is the Bluetooth speaker to get. However, If you do need something a little smaller or you can't justify the price tag, the smaller BOOM is still a worthy contender.