Ultimate Ears has a new entry-level speaker in its lineup: the $99 UE Wonderboom, and it’s an adorable little fellow that replaces the UE Roll as the cheapest Ultimate Ears speaker.
The Wonderboom ditches the flying saucer form factor of its predecessor and instead looks like a shorter version of its UE Boom 2 and MegaBoom siblings, allowing it to offer a similar 360 degrees of sound. The Wonderboom is also a bit thicker than the Boom 2 — think around half a MegaBoom — in order to offer more internal space for the acoustic design.
Size aside, the Wonderboom fits right in with Ultimate Ears’ other speakers, with a variety of colorful acoustic fabric options, big rubberized plus and minus buttons for controlling volume, and an IPX7 waterproof rating. The end result is an almost spherical version of the other UE speakers that just feels really good to hold in your hand, like a baseball.
The Wonderboom also has a few extra touches that bring some small but significant quality of life changes to the brand. In addition to a power and Bluetooth pairing button, the Wonderboom finally a third “UE” button that can be used to play, pause, and skip tracks on a connected device. That UE button can also be used to pair up multiple Wonderbooms without requiring the use of a companion smartphone app. And like the Roll, the Wonderboom has a small bungie cord for hanging it from things, and can float in water.
Of course, the Wonderboom’s great design isn’t worth a whole lot if it doesn’t sound good. Fortunately, Ultimate Ears’ audio pedigree is just as strong in its newest and smallest speaker, with the Wonderboom offering strong, clear sound in my time with it, even at lower ranges (something that smaller speakers traditionally struggle with). And while it might not be quite as loud as its larger counterparts, it still offers more than enough power to fill a decent-sized room.
Ultimate Ears is claiming up to 10 hours of battery life for the Wonderboom, and says that the speaker can work up to 100 feet away from a Bluetooth source. Speaking of Bluetooth, that’s your only option for connecting to the Wonderboom, as the speaker ditches the 3.5mm headphone jack. And while USB-C may be getting more popular in the overall industry, it hasn’t made its way to Ultimate Ears’ speakers yet — the Wonderboom still chargers over Micro USB.
The Wonderboom will be released in April and will come in six colors: Stone (gray), Phantom (black), Fireball (red), SubZero (blue), Cashmere (pink), and Lilac (the other pink), with a seventh Apple Store-exclusive color (a different blue).