Review: UE Boom 2 and Wonderboom
There’s something wonderful about music that can enrich almost any experience. BBQ’s, lazy days by the pool, going for walks or sitting down to do some work, the right music can add flavor and enjoyment to just about anything. And now that we can have all the world’s music in our pocket, there’s even more opportunity to have music in our lives.
I recently had the opportunity to play around with the UE Boom 2 and Wonderboom portable bluetooth speakers to see how they might fit into my musical life.
TLDR: I like them a lot as portable speakers, with a few minor caveats.
Both devices feel premium, a lot more solid than I expected them to feel. Both are covered in a colorful mesh, with rubber buttons on the side and top. The UE Boom 2 is taller and thinner, while the Wonderboom is shorter and fatter. The Wonderboom also has a little elasticky rope loop on it, so you can easily hang it from a hook (showerboom, anyone?) or attach a carabiner to clip it to a backpack, or bike, or just about anywhere. The Boom 2 doesn’t have the loop. They both come in a variety of colors to suit just about any taste.
They both paired easily with my phone, and after initial setup, I was able to hit the power button and start playing music almost immediately, but that’s to be expected with any modern bluetooth device.
Both the Boom 2 and the Wonderboom are billed as take anywhere speakers and I found that they really were. I had no problem throwing them in my bag and lugging around all day. I did find that the Boom 2 faired better because it was longer and narrower, making it slip more comfortably in a packed bag. The shorter stubbier Wonderboom felt like it needed more space.
I brought these speakers with me to the beach, to the park, to swimming pools, really anywhere where I might enjoy music, and I was never worried about damaging them. They’re both waterproof, and the Wonderboom even floats, making it perfect for a day out on the water.
Both the Boom 2 and Wonderboom sound pretty great for small portable Bluetooth speakers. The Wonderboom is loud and the music is fun, and I wouldn’t have thought anything about the sound quality if I didn’t have the Boom 2 to compare it to. The Boom 2 sounds better in just about every way. The bass is deeper, the sound is louder, the music sounds more rich and true to life. Going back to the Wonderboom, it suddenly sounded anemic in comparison. Not that the Wonderboom was bad, but I found myself reaching for the Boom 2 more often for on the go music, and saving the Wonderboom for podcasts.
One great thing about these speakers is you can carry them anywhere. I found myself constantly moving them around the house to have some music with me as I went about my day, but these are clearly meant to be mobile speakers. My ideal speakers would be able to go anywhere (like the Boom 2 and Wonderboom) but can also operate as wired home speakers for when I’m not on the go. The Boom 2 and Wonderboom aren’t great for that. On the Boom 2, the USB charging plug as well as the Aux cable jack are both on the bottom of the device, which seems like an odd design choice. The only way to listen while plugged in, or while listening to an outside source, like Chromecast audio, is to lay the cylindrical device on the side, where it’s not very stable and can roll around. Not sure why they’d put the Aux jack on the bottom of the device since you can’t stand the speaker up when using it, and to be honest, I can’t think of any scenarios where it would be useful on the bottom at all. If the power and Aux jack were on the back of the Boom, they’d both be much more useful. The Wonderboom doesn’t have an aux jack. In short, if you’re looking for speakers to leave around the house, to leave plugged in, or to use with an auxiliary source like Chromecast, these are not the speakers for you.
UE claims that you can pair multiple Wonderbooms together, or multiple Boom 2’s together for a more room filling sound, but I couldn’t find a way to pair a Boom 2 with a Wonderboom. This might be fixable with a software update, but seems like another odd choice for these otherwise great speakers.
The Boom 2 and Wonderboom are both pretty great speakers for what they are. If you’re looking for a great sounding portable bluetooth speaker you can toss in a bag and take anywhere, with a 15 hour battery life, for a full day of wireless tunes, I’d definitely give these a look. If you’re looking for a device that can also be used mostly wired, or with non-bluetooth sources, these might not be your first choice.
The Wonderboom is 100 dollars, and the Boom 2 will run you $200.