Logitech launched its latest range of Ultimate Ears speakers at the end of 2015, just before the holiday season kicked off. We also had our first review from the range when we tested the UE Roll late December, which ticked all the right boxes when it comes to what to expect from a standard Bluetooth speaker. Additionally, the speaker also had a few additional extras, common to the rest of the range. This time around, we take a look at the other two units in the range, the UE Boom2, and the UE Megaboom.
Build and Design
As with the UE Roll, the Boom2 and Megaboom have a solid build, minimalistic design, along with variations of vibrant colours. There is very little difference between the two units, with the Megaboom, almost simply, just a larger Boom2. In fact, if you look at the earlier released UE Boom, there’s just as many similarities in design. But that’s not a bad thing. The build and design of the Boom worked well, and in the Boom2 and Megaboom, UE made the decision that no overhaul was needed.
As with many of the Sony Xperia designs, UE hit the nail on the head with its first-generation Boom, and decided to stick with what made it a success. If you’re not familiar with the original, here’s a quick run-through. The unit has a cylindrical frame, covered by a mesh fabric, which has been coated in some type of polymer, for both strength and waterproofing. The unit has an IPX7 rating, which means it’s able to be immersed in water up to one metre for up to 30 minutes. There are two other aspects to the polymer coating; one that it’s able to withstand quite a large amount of pressure before breaking, and can easily be dropped without having to worry about any chipping or cracking, and, two, that it’s able to float on water. The latter makes both speakers ideal for pool parties, as you can simply leave the devices floating during playback and not have to worry about adjust or configuring anything.
The unit has four buttons, two of which are quite distinct. The volume buttons (both + and -) cover quite a large area of the unit, running down the side of the cylindrical body, making it extremely easy to depress even when it’s wet. The power and Bluetooth sync buttons are located on top of both devices, both of which also have clearly audible sounds when pressed, to indicate a successful click. There’s even a nifty tap function on both the Boom2 and Megaboom, which makes it easier to communicate with your smartphone. While connected via Bluetooth, simply tap to start playback, double tap to the next song, and tap three times to go to the previous song. Although it may seem like overkill, it is a fairly useful feature as an extension of the minimalistic design.
While both units appear as simply speakers with simple playback via Bluetooth, there are a few more features lurking in the background. To initiate these features, however, you will require the UE smartphone app to activate these, as well as the tap controls, mentioned previously.
While the original Boom had fairly good sound quality, it didn’t fill the room as much as was to be expected, something that UE have attempted to rectify on both the Boom2 and Megaboom. The almost 360-degree sound makes it an ideal speaker to place in the centre of any room without having to direct and manoeuvre in order to get the best sound direction for the crowd. Even better, the units both include the Double Up feature that allows you to connect your device to another, and it, in turn, to another. And so it is able to be expanded into a room full of multiple speakers, all connected, and playing through a single source. The app also allows for fine tuning your speaker setup, from choosing the left, right, or surround sound speaker setup (depending on the amount of speakers connected), as well as the equaliser and daily alarms, if you so require.
The main difference between the Boom2 and Megaboom is in the sound output. In this case, size does matter, and the Megaboom, with its larger sized speakers, has a higher output, and longer battery life. The Boom2 has a continuous playback listing of about 15 hours, whereas the Megaboom increases this to 20 hours. The more powerful sound of the Megaboom fills the room a lot easier than the Boom2, which does a very good job itself. The Megaboom takes it to the next level for special occasions such as parties, creating a club-like atmosphere, without the strange BO and perspiration. While the Boom2 also has a 360-degree sound effect, it seems a lot fuller on the Megaboom, with almost no deadzones.
What I really enjoyed with the multi-speaker setup was the ability tweak each UE device individually via the equaliser. It, thus, allows you to create a distinction in sounds, from the lows to the highs, each positioned in different areas of the room to create an even better effect. And this works great for movies and games as well, although the surround sound effort isn’t as easily mimicked via the game interface for individual sounds.
Both speakers, when connected to your smartphone, also has the added feature of being able to be utilised as a loudspeaker, answering and ending calls with a click of the Bluetooth button. And this leads me to the next aspect of the Boom2 and Megaboom. Both these devices include a microphone, which does well in providing good quality voice, with some a bit of noise cancelation.
There’s a lot to love about the new range of UE portable speakers, from the sound quality, to the design. Choosing between either the UE Boom2 or the UE Megaboom is quite a tough decision, which, I feel, will ultimately come down to your budget, and whether you’re purchasing more than one. While the Boom2 has no obvious flaws, there are a few notable points. The first being that the price point of the Boom2 almost matches that of the previously released Boom (now a few Rand cheaper). The second and third points are that the unit has the same battery life, almost the same audio quality and output. There are a few new features thrown in as a second generation Boom, but if you’re all about the portability of your sound without the trinkets, then the original Boom may be your best bet.
The UE Megaboom seems more of an outright improvement over the original, with louder, more filling sound, as well as a battery that lasts up to 5 more hours during playback. The Megaboom is a great device, more than just a simple Bluetooth speaker. The only negative aspect here being that the poor Rand/Dollar exchange sees the unit ship for R4999, with the Boom2 a more reasonable, although still pricey, R3499.
You can purchase both units from Incredible Connection, who provided us with the above-mentioned review units.