“The UE Megaboom is a rugged Bluetooth speaker which packs a lot of punch in the low-end”
Ever since the Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus (review) hit the market, I’ve been recommending it to anyone who doesn’t mind paying a premium for a good quality Bluetooth speaker. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a worthy competitor for the Soundlink Revolve Plus, as the speaker offers unparalleled experience in terms of the sound output and build quality. Naturally, when Ultimate Ears sent out a unit of the Megaboom Bluetooth speaker, I was a bit skeptical, considering the unit retails for the same price as the Soundlink Revolve. However, having used the speaker extensively for over two weeks, I feel that it can give Bose a run for its money. Here’s why.
So, you’re at a friend’s pool party and you have your trusty Bluetooth speaker with you. You position the speaker dangerously close to the pool and start dancing. Unfortunately, someone accidentally dunks the speaker in the pool. Panic sets in and the thought of buying a brand-new Bluetooth speaker engulfs your senses. If you see yourself making the same mistake in the future, then you should probably invest in the Ultimate Ears Megaboom. Now, most speakers today ship with splash-proof designs, but the UE Megaboom takes it one step further and comes with IPX7 certification, meaning it can be immersed in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes and still function properly. And sure enough, the company’s claims of the Megaboom being ‘virtually indestructible’ do hold up. I dunked the speaker in a tub for thirty minutes, dropped it several times on cold hard cement and even rolled it down a set of stairs but couldn’t so much as scratch the speaker’s outer shell.
Thankfully, the UE Megaboom doesn’t trade looks for function. The speaker comes in a cylindrical enclosure and has a rubberised strip running down the centre which extends to the top and the bottom of the unit too. The rest of the speaker is covered in a woven fabric and the choice of materials make the UE Megaboom stand out (in a good way). Adding a bit more flair and character to the speaker’s design are the ginormous volume toggles on the rubberised strip.
The buttons offer satisfying tactile feedback and can even be pressed together to know the amount of charge left. The top of the speaker is reserved for a power button which comes with a small LED light to indicate when the unit is in use along with a button to enable Bluetooth-pairing. Towards the bottom of the speaker, you’ll find a gasket covering the micro-USB port as well as the AUX port. With the gasket in place, the UE Megaboom will retain its IPX7 rating and since it comes integrated with the unit, you won’t have to worry about losing it either. Additionally, you’ll also get a clip at the bottom which can be used to attach the speaker to your backpack and can also be unscrewed to remove the gasket completely.
One of the key USPs of the UE Megaboom (which I am sure you must have guessed by now, going by the speaker’s cylindrical shape) is that it can output omnidirectional or 360-degree sound. Therefore, you don’t have to position the speaker directly in front of you to get the best possible sound. At its core, the UE Megaboom is backed by a pair of two-inch drivers which work in tandem with two passive radiators. The speaker can operate at a frequency of 65Hz-20KHz and therefore theoretically, you will miss out on those deep sub-bass frequencies. With that said, having used the speaker extensively for over two weeks, I can confirm that the Megaboom doesn’t skimp on the bass. I placed the speaker on my bedside table and could still feel the kick drum in Kanye West’s Love Lockdown all the way over to the other side in the room. The speaker can produce really tight and punchy bass, the kind you’d want to dance off to. Therefore, if you listen to a lot of EDM/hip-hop music, the Megaboom should be a good fit for you.
The excellent performance of the UE Megaboom was carried over in the mids too. Even with upbeat tracks like Man’s not hot by Big Shaq, the speaker didn’t drown the singer’s voice. Unfortunately, the performance in the high-end was a bit disappointing. The speaker still sounds fantastic compared to some other budget options, but you will notice a dip in quality when you compare it to the likes of Bose Soundlink Revolve. Songs from rock/metal feel mashed up, especially at higher volumes, though you can somewhat tweak the treble response of the speaker, which you can read more about in the next section.
App and Battery life
On the off chance you don’t like how the UE Megaboom sounds out of the box, you can tweak the EQ to your liking via the speaker’s companion app. Once installed, the application will automatically detect the speaker if it’s connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can then scroll through a bunch of pre-defined EQ settings or manually create one from the scratch if you so choose. The EQ settings adjust the speaker’s sound output to match the environment it’s being used in. For instance, if you’re in a large open space, then you can crank the bass all the way up by using the ‘Bass Jump’ EQ and so on.
The companion app serves some other functions too, besides giving you access to the EQ. Once you’ve paired the speaker to your smartphone, you can turn it on or off through the application. You also have the option of pairing two units of UE Megaboom together to create a stereo effect via the app’s Double Up mode. Lastly, you can also use the app to set alarms on the Megaboom. Buyers can set a one-time or a daily alarm and can choose to use their favourite song or the last song they played as their alarm tone.
UE claims that the Megaboom can last almost 20 hours off a single charge. However, in my testing, I found the figure to be inaccurate as I managed to get almost 24 hours of music playback and still had around 20 percent juice left in the tank, which is just phenomenal.
The UE Megaboom improves upon the Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus in more ways than one. The speaker comes in a sturdier package and offers significantly better battery life too. The unit packs a lot more punch in the low end too and can get loud enough to fill almost any room. Now, I still feel that the Revolve Plus offers a richer sound experience, but if you’re more of an outdoorsy person and want a quality Bluetooth speaker, then the UE Megaboom is where the money’s at.
Editor’s Rating: 4 / 5
- Excellent battery life
- Solid build quality
- Deep bass
- Slightly disappointing performance in the high-end