Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 hands-on: still a solid buy despite only minor improvements

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 hands-on: still a solid buy despite only minor improvements

MSRP $100.00

“The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 makes only marginal improvements over its predecessor, but still retains all of the things we love.”


  • Excellent durability
  • Light and portable
  • Balanced, 360-degree sound
  • Inexpensive price point


  • Somewhat lacking in bass
  • Not as slim as other competitors
  • Some minor connectivity issues

Ultimate Ears (UE) names all of its Bluetooth speakers with an emphasis on power and bass: Boom, Megaboom, Hyperboom, and now the most recent installment, the Wonderboom 3. The tricky thing is that the “boom” isn’t really all that spectacular within the third-generation small-format speaker. Inbuilt a cylindrical shape with dual 40-millimeter lively drivers positioned to deliver 360-degree sound, the $100 Wonderboom 3 does a pleasant job of filling an area, ensuring that nobody sitting around your campfire or in your beach towel will likely be out of directional earshot. Nonetheless, the bass isn’t exactly as full and wealthy because the “Wonderboom” name would imply.

The third generation of the Wonderboom series brings marginally prolonged battery life (14 advertised hours over the second generation’s 13), plus an updated Bluetooth protocol for prolonged range. Ultimate Ears can be putting an emphasis on the environment by utilizing green and recycled materials on this latest construct.

A hand is holding the Wonderboom 3 speaker in front of a beach background.

I used to be excited to see and listen to the improvements on the Wonderboom 3 since the Wonderboom 2 is, for all intents and purposes, one in every of my favorite small-format Bluetooth speakers available on the market. Ultimate Ears at all times does a pleasant job on construct quality, durability, and right-down-the-middle audio response. UE kindly offered me a pair of Wonderboom 3 speakers in “Performance Blue” to check and so I ran them through their paces for every week of labor, play, and hanging on the beach. Read on to see if the Wonderboom 3 is the precise Bluetooth speaker for you.

Design: daring and loud

Ultimate Ears takes a page out of JBL’s book, putting a robust emphasis on loud colours and sporty accents for its Bluetooth speaker range. The Wonderboom 3 brings 4 latest colours: Hyper Pink, Lively Black, the vexingly named Joyous Shiny (which is actually just gray), and the colour I received: Performance Blue. However the principal color is actually only a part of the story — Ultimate Ears at all times emblazons its portable speakers with loud, contrastingly coloured plus/minus volume buttons and accents.

A Wonderboom 3 speaker is sitting on a mantle next to a marble-patterned container.

The Wonderboom 3 actually has a particular look, with a shape consumers will find much like smart speakers (particularly the Homepod Mini). This rounded, canister-style construct is pretty cool to have a look at, and sits quite nicely on a table or a picnic blanket, but I can’t help but think it’s a tad inconvenient for thinner backpack pockets. Take the Bose SoundLink Micro or the JBL Clip speakers, for example: These enclosures will be laid flat, in order that they’ll fit nicely within the front pocket of a bag and even in your back pocket in a pinch. So, while the Wonderboom 3 is actually portable, it’s not essentially the most convenient carry.

Sound quality: good, but lacking punch

I loved the sound quality of the Wonderboom 2 and the Wonderboom 3 has a virtually an identical audio performance to my ears. So in case you liked the second generation, you’ll like this one. If you happen to haven’t experienced the Wonderboom 2, I can sum it up in a couple of words: Tuned for balanced music. The Wonderboom 3 brings simply enough bass to drive a pop or Top 40 mix without blowing out the underside registers and burying the detail within the mids and highs.

A Wonderboom 3 speaker is sitting on a wood-tone table.

Sound quality is, in some ways, a subjective point. The JBL Clip line at all times pushes bass greater than I’m expecting, and Bose’s comparable SoundLink Micro offers a polish that I like. While the Wonderboom 3 sounds full and balanced, it does appear to a scarcity a little bit of low-end power in comparison with what I’m used to. This isn’t necessarily a foul thing; for many who take heed to podcasts or more vocal-heavy music, the Wonderboom 3 will perform well, but in case you want the loudest bass around, you would like necessarily get it here.

One thing that Ultimate Ears does well with its Bluetooth speakers is to offer a one-touch button (a small tree icon on the underside) that kicks the speaker into an “outdoor mode.” This setting boosts the bass a little bit and pushes the overhead to a rather louder volume — 87 decibels, specifically, versus the traditional mode’s 86 dB.

Two Wonderboom 3 speakers are sitting on top of a closed MacBook Pro on a black table.

Ultimate Ears also advertises a pairing mode that permits you to pair two Wonderboom 3 speakers together and play source audio as a stereo image (or doubled up playing the identical audio) from one device. This goes a great distance toward spreading the sound, widening the soundstage, and juicing the quantity for larger gatherings. True stereo mode provides a very traditional experience — as in case you’ve got a pair of bookshelf speakers — and I actually enjoyed working on a laptop with the Wonderbooms on this mode. But, in case you’re just trying to double the sound and disperse speakers around an area, it’ll do this, too.

I did run into some Bluetooth problems when pairing my two Wonderboom 3 speakers together. The user guide prompts you to press each center buttons on two speakers, but doesn’t specify that it is advisable to first hold one, after which press the opposite (though the user guide website is a little more thorough). Once I attempted this the primary time, it unpaired each speakers entirely from my device and I needed to re-pair them to get it to work. From there, it worked as expected, but considering there’s no app support for the Wonderboom series, I can’t help but think the typical user will find some minor frustrations with this process.

Durability: truly tank-like

One thing that’s quite impressive concerning the Wonderboom 3 is just how durable it’s. Ultimate Ears clocks the water and mud resistance at IP67 — meaning the Wonderboom 3 is almost waterproof and might handle dust and debris with none problems. This makes it the proper companion for a beach day, a camping trip, or perhaps a quick shower. Ultimate Ears also guarantees that listeners can submerge the speaker for half-hour. Oh, and it also floats, so in case you drop it within the pool, you’ll still be rocking — just ensure you give it an intensive rinse under fresh water once you’re done along with your adventures.

The Wonderboom 3 speaker is sitting on a beach bag at the beach.

Ultimate Ears ups the ante even further by adding lab-tested drop resistance to the fold. In keeping with the UE site, you possibly can drop your speaker on hard surfaces from as much as 5 feet and expect it to maintain on chugging. While most speakers on this class feature rugged rubber bumpers and sturdy shell grilles, the Wonderboom 3 is one in every of the few that puts its drop-resistance guarantees where its mouth is. In practice, I brought one in every of my Wonderboom 3s to the beach for a full afternoon of sand and sun, and the opposite one on a protracted hike within the rain, and each look just as latest as they did once I unboxed them.

What’s latest: a couple of lackluster additions

While most of my above feedback is essentially positive, one of the disappointing aspects concerning the Wonderboom 3 is just how little has been updated. While it’s perhaps a bit overzealous to carry a consumer electronics brand to a certain standard of improvements for a latest generation, I can’t help but think more substantial updates could have made my write-up nearly superlative.

Two Wonderboom 3 speakers are sitting on a white mantle with a scented candle in between them.

On paper, the improvements are available three key places. First, Ultimate Ears is manufacturing the Wonderboom 3 with 100% recycled polyester fabric and 31% consumer-recycled plastic from previous electronics. That is a vital alternative in an ever-growing world of e-waste, but doesn’t exactly improve the day-to-day experience.

The battery life has also increased, but only by literally 1 hour. In my tests, my Wonderbooms were even trending closer to 13 hours somewhat than 14 (consistent with the Wonderboom 2), but your mileage will definitely vary. I’d truthfully consider the battery life the identical between the 2.

There’s also an improved Bluetooth range — 40 meters in comparison with the Wonderboom 2’s 30-or-so meters. Again, that is an objectively positive improvement, but what number of situations are listeners going to be in where 30 meters isn’t enough, but 40 is? All in all, in case you can find the Wonderboom 2 for a less expensive, refurbished price, it is likely to be option to get 90% of the way in which there for less money.

Verdict: still a solid buy

The Wonderboom series stays a reliable, small-format Bluetooth speaker, with its sights set on listeners on the go. The Wonderboom 3 makes some marginal improvements over its predecessor, but still retains its balanced, music-focused sound, top-tier durability, sporty design, and solid performance. If you happen to’re available in the market for even a few the priorities listed above, the Wonderboom 3 will fit the bill.


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