Update: Since this post was originally written, Ultimate Ears has released the Boom 2 and replaced the Mini with the Roll
Last year, we took the best Bluetooth speakers we could find and put them head to head in one big ‘mega review‘. When all was said and done, the overall best in the field was the Ultimate Ears (UE) Mini Boombox which retailed for $99. Since that time, we’ve reviewed plenty of others including new standouts like the $149 JBL Charge and the $199 Bose Mini Soundlink which we found to be fantastic, higher-priced alternatives.
A few weeks ago, Ultimate Ears dropped their prices on the Mini Boombox at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy and a new Mini Boom app hit the App Store. We reached out to Ultimate Ears on the matter and (long story short) got ourselves the new UE Mini Boom demo units that launch this morning. How did they stack up against the competition and the previous versions?
First of all, the new Mini Booms look exactly like the now ‘old’ Mini Boombox. The only discernible outer difference is a blue status indicator light on the front, top of the device and new color options. The new Mini Booms even weigh the same as the old Mini Boomboxes and cost the same $99 at release (the older models dropped in price to $80). Even the battery lasts around the same 10 hours.
So what’s different?
1. The whole internal structure has changed to optimize the type of sound the Ultimate Ears group wanted to provide.
2. It is both louder and crisper at higher volumes as well. It is another class…to quote Spinal Tap, they’ve gone to 11 and further. As you can see in the video – the sound of the Boom at 1/3 is what the Box didn’t hit until 2/3rd of the way.
3. It has the same pairing capabilities as the more expensive, full sized Ultimate Ears Boom speaker (see video) to make stereo sound and improve the volume some more. Left/Right sound separation are a big deal here.
4. The Bluetooth range has now increased up to 50 feet from 33 which is a result of improved antenna design and power. Interesting note: The second speaker can be even further because it pairs with the first speaker, not the phone.
I found the connection and pairing to be fairly easy and fluid on each of the Boom and Boom Mini. The Android Boom app works the same as the Mac version though it wasn’t released until earlier this week (compared to the Apple version which is over a week old).
As for the full sized cylindrical Boom? It is probably the best sounding portable Bluetooth speaker I’ve found besides the Bose Soundlink Mini but offers micro-USB charging, helpful app, better form factor and easier controls for same $199 price.
Yes, the Mini Boom replaces its predecessor as the “Best Bluetooth Speaker you can buy.”
So here are my current recommendations for Bluetooth speakers:
- For $30: Divoom Bean
- $80: Mini Boombox – still great sound and great package
- $100: Mini Boom here.
- $150: JBL Charge (adds phone charging, solid sound)
- $199: Bose Soundlink for pure sound, UE Boom for great sound plus form factor MicroUSB charging …or 2 Mini Booms for great sound and separation
Ultimate Ears Delivers Huge Sound with the New UE MINI BOOM
Personal Bluetooth Speaker Joins UE BOOM in the Ultimate Ears Lineup, Delivering Big Sound You Can Take Anywhere
NEWARK, Calif. — Oct. 1, 2013 — Today Ultimate Ears introduced a major upgrade to the popular UE Mobile Boombox with UE MINI BOOM, a surprisingly small speaker that delivers unexpectedly huge sound in stylish and vibrant color options. The UE MINI BOOM takes the Ultimate Ears expertise in filling small speakers with big sound to a new level, with a personal speaker with clear highs and deep bass, giving you great stereo sound wherever and whenever you want it.
With a battery that lasts up to 10 hours, simple controls and Bluetooth® connectivity, the UE MINI BOOM is the perfect music companion, whether you’re streaming music videos, hanging out with friends or traveling. It streams big sound from any Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 50 feet away, and with such huge sound, you’ll need the extra distance. Thanks to its convenient micro-USB charger, it’s easy to find a charge for your UE MINI BOOM almost anywhere. Plus, you can wirelessly pair two UE MINI BOOM speakers together after downloading the free UE MINI BOOM app (available for iOS™ and Android™) to double the sound.
“Ultimate Ears is setting the standard for audio solutions that fit today’s mobile lifestyle,” said Rory Dooley, general manager of Ultimate Ears. “Marrying incredible convenience with huge sound, the UE MINI BOOM is the latest mobile speaker in the Ultimate Ears lineup to deliver the best of both worlds. Whether you’re at home watching the latest music video on your tablet, taking a long road trip with family or just listening to your favorite tunes, the UE MINI BOOM was designed to be the ideal companion for today’s music consumption lifestyle.”
The UE MINI BOOM is available in a range of vibrant colors, including orange, purple, red, yellow and black. It can withstand some rough-and-tumble, thanks to its durable metal frame and rubber casing, so you can throw it in your purse, duffel bag or the trunk of your car without worry. Pair its fun colors with its impressive acoustics, durable build, crystal-clear speakerphone and multi-function button that answers and hangs up calls, and it’s clear the UE MINI BOOM is an ideal companion for your music listening.
Pricing and Availability
The UE MINI BOOM is expected to be available in the U.S. in October 2013 for a suggested retail price of $99.99. For more information, and to find a retailer near you, please visit www.ultimateears.com.
About Ultimate Ears
Ultimate Ears, a brand of Logitech, revolutionized the way artists perform music on stage with the creation of its custom fit professional earphones in 1995. Today, more touring artists use Ultimate Ears than any other brand, and UE makes critically acclaimed earphones and speakers that are redefining the way people experience the music they love. Ultimate Ears is the leading supplier of in-ear-monitors for professional musicians and an emerging provider of premium speakers and headphones for the consumer market. For more information, please visit www.ultimateears.com.
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I bought the UE Boom for my mom’s birthday based on your original review, and it is the best sounding portable speaker both her and I have ever heard…it blows my original Jambox straight out of the water — it sounds better than most of the speakers that come built in on newer televisions even…it’s extremely loud, clear, and the fact that it allows you to pair it with another one to put them in stereo mode is the coolest feature of all.
I’ve only had two minor problems with it — neither related to sound…first, the oversized volume buttons are ridiculously designed…they are ginormous in size but they only work if you push them in the exact center. Minor quirk, but it’s one that should have been caught.
The other problem I’ve noticed with it is that when using it with an iPad 3, the range seems to be very far (30 ft, even more). When using it with my moms new iPhone 5C, the range goes quite considerably…I’m not sure what to make of this…both devices are running iOS 7.0.2, but it would make sense that a tablet has a stronger antenna than a phone simply because there is more space to work with….any thoughts from anyone?
I agree, I don’t see the same kind of range on phones as I do on tablets and you are right – probably due to more power and better antennas.
As for the volume buttons on the Boom, also agree but I naturally gravitate toward the center so it hasn’t been an issue for me
strictly based on sound quality and punch, would you say the Bose Soundlink or Soundlink Mini sounds better than the UE Boom or 2 UE Minis? I am looking for a great sounding unit to hook up to my Bluetooth for my patio so I really don’t care about portability or fancy features, Just want allot of good clear, powerful sound. I’m looking for a unit up to $400, have been looking at the Klipsch KMC 1 & KMC 3 but I cannot find any place local that sells upper end boxes so I’m relying on reviews.
Strictly sound Bose are better. Specifically the Soundlink Mini
How would you rate the Scoche BoomBottle?
what is the model number of the new model. I.E. are the ones for sale in the apple store the new model?
also are they called Mobile or Minibox box as the logitech site only lists a mobile boombox.
Great set of reviews, but I can’t help noticing that you don’t have the Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder. Admittedly, it’s a pricer option, but in my listening, it absolutely blew away Bose, B&O, and Jambox. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to listen to the UE models (hence my commenting here…).
Great speakers, great audio quality. Battery life? 15 HOURS MY ASS
I connected my iPhone with the speaker via bluetooth and played music at half the volume. Battery percentage decreased by 10% every 25 mins.