Ultimate Ears  - Ultimate Ears Boom 3

Ultimate Ears

Ultimate Ears Boom 3 portable speaker: a round cylinder

Aprox. 331€ - see price -

See specifications

Star of the portable speaker market, the first Boom of the name is the speaker that has made the manufacturer Ultimate Ears an important player in the world of portable audio. For the third iteration of its sound cylinder, the Californian therefore intends to capitalize on everything that made the success of the line, while adding some aesthetic and sound improvements, as well as an intriguing "magic button".

Positive points

Impressive power / size ratio.

Very well contained distortion.

Responsive and full bass.

Good build quality, immersion resistance.

Excellent autonomy (13 hours).

Complete orders.

Possibility of associating several speakers in simultaneous broadcast, or two speakers in stereo pair.

Bad points

Homogeneous promise to issue at 360 ° not kept.

A little sparkling treble.

"Magic button" with questionable utility (for now).

No wired connection.

No hands-free kit.

Our review


The Boom 3 sports the new unified design that dresses all the latest Ultimate Ears speakers - and in particular its almost twin sister, the Megaboom 3. It therefore displays a more refined look than ever, almost entirely defined by the new bi-tone covering the entire perimeter of the enclosure. The latter is beautifully crafted, as is the entire construction of the enclosure as a whole. However, we put a little flat on the symbols "+" and "-" which seem to be stuck on the same fabric, and which we hope will not come off over time.

Anyway, the quality of construction of the enclosure is crowned by an IP67 certification, which therefore ensures resistance to immersion in a meter of water, and even in salt water. In addition, like its big sister the Megaboom 3, the Boom 3 has the good idea of floating, which therefore minimizes the risk of seeing it sink into the abyss of water during an outing to the sea or on board. of a lake.

On the speaker are the control buttons. Two on the previous Boom, there are now three: the two small side buttons are assigned to power on / off and Bluetooth pairing, while the central button controls play / pause (single press) and navigation between tracks (double and triple press). More question here of tapping with very random detection like on the Boom 2; we are delighted.

But this central button is not called by the manufacturer "magic button" for nothing. The UE Boom mobile application (on iOS and Android) allows you to pre-save up to four favorite playlists, which can then be launched by a simple long press on this button. The manipulation works even when the speaker is turned off, the latter then automatically connecting to the phone on which the application is installed.

If the idea of this functionality is excellent, its execution on the other hand is not convincing. In the first place, it is a pity that the playlists can only be played in sequential order, and not in random order. Then and above all, the pre-recorded playlists can exclusively come from Deezer on Android, and from the Music application on iOS (local music and Apple Music). A terribly constrained choice, therefore. The manufacturer tells us that it is working on supporting other streaming services, but cannot promise anything more at the moment.

Among the other features available via the mobile application, we find the traditional PartyUp mode which allows you to associate an almost infinite number of Ultimate Ears speakers in simultaneous broadcast, or two Boom 3 in a stereo pair. A 5-band equalizer (with very rough precision) is also available. Finally, the "Party Mode" allows two additional users to connect to the speaker - the owner of the application then deciding which of the three streams is broadcast. A nice option, but that, to be honest, we would have gladly traded for a simple automatic multipoint Bluetooth connection.

The wired connection of the speaker consists of a micro-USB connector for charging ... and that's it. Like the Megaboom 3, the Boom 3 abandon the mini-jack input. We tend to forgive it more easily for a speaker of small size like this one, but there is no doubt that the thing could strongly annoy some users.

During our measurement, the autonomy of the Boom 3 rose to 13 hours with a volume set at 50% of its maximum value, a little bit less than the 15 hours promised by the manufacturer. Still, that's enough to make it one of the most enduring portable speakers we've tested.

Finally, the Bluetooth broadcast latency is just under 200 ms. To translate this into a sound / image gap, it just allows you to view a video without feeling too much discomfort - unless you are particularly sensitive to this phenomenon.



In terms of audio reproduction, the Boom 3 only brings very few changes compared to the Boom 2. We therefore find an excellent power / size ratio, associated with a more than honorable sound quality, but which is not without fault.

Let's start with an important clarification: although it prides itself on emitting a sound "distributed uniformly in all directions", the Boom 3 does not keep this promise - quite clearly, moreover, since like all Ultimate Ears cylindrical speakers, it reproduces a stereophonic sound . The two loudspeakers positioned back to back on each side of the enclosure obviously cannot broadcast their sound homogeneously at 360 °; the situation that we analyzed on the Megaboom 3 is therefore identical here.

Among other promises of power, immersion and resistance, the newly available Megaboom 3 from Ultimate Ears announces a 360 ° sound ...

In fact, if the speaker has a fairly good frequency balance when you position yourself in front of one of its speakers, this balance degrades when you place yourself in front of the speaker - which has some rather unfortunate thing, you will agree. It is probably to the sound absorption of the band on which the volume control knobs are mounted that we owe the significant dip which forms around 9 kHz, which has the effect of making the peak at 12 particularly noticeable. kHz. The treble is made very sparkling, and obviously unnatural. However, the remarkably controlled distortion means that we do not have to undergo any sibilance.

As for the other side of the spectrum, the results are excellent, however. The bass restitution, full and responsive, constitutes the undeniable strong point of this Boom 3. The extension of the low frequencies is certainly not excessive, but it is enough to give the sound a fairly remarkable seat compared to the size of the enclosure. We are moving away from the somewhat boomy character that we had noted on the Boom 2, even at high volume - on the condition of not exceeding 60% of the maximum volume, otherwise, a relatively discreet dynamic limitation but noticeable snaps. However, the amount of decibels debited at this level is already very generous.

On arrival, the noise balance therefore remains positive. The Boom 3 is certainly not the most subtle or the most precise of portable speakers, but it clearly stands out from the competition in its ability to sound generously enough large spaces. We only wish that the promise of a 360 ° broadcast was really kept, to reach a dimension even higher at this level ...



Change in continuity for the Boom 3 of Ultimate Ears, whose evolutions concern more aesthetics than substance. Its "magic button" certainly starts from a good idea, but at the time of our test, its implementation is too limited to become really useful for use. Remains a quality construction, excellent autonomy and very solid sound performance - even if our requirements have increased significantly since the release of the Boom 2 three years ago, and therefore push us to be less lenient with its faults today.