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Reviews

Megaboom; portable wireless speakers

Ultimate Ears Megaboom

UE (Ultimate Ears) already has a couple of portable wireless speakers in its arsenal: the Mini Boom and Boom.

The latter is a firm office favorite and five-star product, but the range has recently spawned a big brother, the UE Megaboom.

To look at it, you’d think it was simply a larger version of the much-loved Boom. And you’d be right. It shares the same cylindrical design and styling, including the natty ‘plasma-coated’ finish which UE claims is stain resistant and waterproof to an IPX7 rating. So it should survive being dunked in a meter of water for 30 minutes. The speaker is topped and tailed in a rubberized material, which also runs down the middle of the speaker, incorporating a couple of volume control buttons as it goes.

Ultimate Ears Megaboom

On top of the speaker are power and pairing buttons (you can also pair using NFC on compatible smartphones). On the bottom, there’s a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a micro-USB socket for charging.

One thing to point out here is it’s tricky listening to the speaker while it’s charging. If you want to, you really need to lie it on its side or stand it upside down, neither of which does the sound any favors. On the plus side, once it’s charged you should be able to enjoy around 20 hours of uninterrupted playback, unless you need to take a phone call using the built-in mic.

The speaker is designed to stand upright, so using the volume controls means gripping the speaker and giving them a firm press. Press and hold both buttons and the speaker chirps up, telling you the percentage of battery-life left. Of course, you’re more likely to alter the volume via your smartphone, which also shows a battery-life indicator for the UE.

Extra features via the app

To do that, you’ll need to download UE’s app for iOS and Android. This opens up all the speaker’s extra features such as the alarm clock function and “Double Up”. Double Up allows you to hook two Megabooms together (or one Mega and one normal Boom) to listen in stereo.

The app also gives you access to the UE’s sound settings. There are four presets: The Standard, Bass Jump, Cramped Spaces and Voices. We’d steer clear of the last three. They play around with the sound balance, but in our opinion don’t improve sound quality  indeed, in most instances they make it sound worse.

We’d stick with ‘The Standard’ mode or, if you want to turn the bass down a notch from that, tap the Custom mode and drop the EQ levels to zero.

ue-mega-Megaboom; portable wireless speakersboom-(1)

A composed, focused sound

Yet even with this great expanse of sound, the UE still manages to keep its composure and focus. There’s solidity and precision through the bass, midrange and treble. It’s an enthusiastic listen, bristling with life. Music is well-balanced, even if highs aren’t the ultimate in refinement.

Playing a spot of classical music proves the Megaboom has a more subtle, delicate side too. Sooth your senses with a bit of Swan Lakeand the Megaboom is happy to slow the pace, and let its excellent dynamics take over. Strings and woodwind rise and fall freely as the tune flows along.

A top addition to the range

The Megaboom is a great addition to UE’s family of wireless speakers – indeed, it’s arguably the most polished performer in the range. Battery life and build quality are excellent, and whether you use it indoors or outside, you’re in for a musical treat.

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