Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 24, 2021 at 08:47 am
Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Picture
6.4
Music
6.0
Videos/Movies
7.2
Podcasts
3.0
Voice Assistant
7.7
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with a built-in hook so you can hang it from your bag or backpack when you're on-the-go. It's small and lightweight, and it has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Unfortunately, its out-of-the-box sound profile is a bit uneven, and it doesn't get very loud. However, you can use the graphic EQ and presets in the Ultimate Ears app to help adjust its sound to your liking.

Our Verdict

6.4 Music

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is passable for music. Out-of-the-box, it has a bass-heavy sound profile, though it struggles to reproduce thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you love bass-heavy genres like EDM. Vocals and lead instruments are present thanks to its neutral mid-range, but they can also sound a bit dull or veiled. Fortunately, you can customize its sound to your liking using the graphic EQ and presets in the Ultimate Ears app.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.0 Videos/Movies

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is mediocre for videos and movies. While dialogue is clear due to its balanced mid-range, it can also sound a bit dark or dull due to the underemphasized treble. Also, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, so you don't really feel the deep rumbles in action-packed scenes. It doesn't get very loud, though audio reproduction is clear at max volume. That said, it has low latency with Android and iOS devices over Bluetooth, though some apps compensate for this differently.

Pros
  • Low latency with Android and iOS devices.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
7.2 Podcasts

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is decent for podcasts. Dialogue is present and clear thanks to its balanced mid-range, though it may also sound a bit dark and dull. It doesn't get very loud, either. Fortunately, there's an EQ available in the Ultimate Ears app to help you customize its sound to your liking. Also, its portable design makes it easy to bring with you from room to room.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
3.0 Voice Assistant

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 doesn't have voice assistant support.

7.7 Outdoors

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is good for outdoor use. This amazingly well-built speaker has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Since it's battery-powered, it's very portable, and it even has a built-in hook so you can attach it to your bag or backpack. Also, its 360-degree design helps create an open, spacious soundstage, so you feel immersed in your audio from all angles. However, it doesn't get very loud, which can be disappointing.

Pros
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Well-built, portable design.
  • Incredible soundstage performance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • 6.4 Music
  • 6.0 Videos/Movies
  • 7.2 Podcasts
  • 3.0 Voice Assistant
  • 7.7 Outdoors
  1. Updated Apr 15, 2021: Updated text to reflect that the speaker has an advertised IP6X rating for dust resistance.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a small, cylindrical speaker that's meant to sit vertically. It has very large and visible volume buttons on its front face, and there's a small built-in hook so you can attach it to your bag. It comes in lots of different color variants, so you can find one that suits your style.

9.2
Design
Portability
Volume
59 in³ (966 cm³)
Weight
1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Bluetooth Speaker is superbly portable. It's small and lightweight, so it's easy to carry with one hand. It's also battery-powered, so you can use it without having to plug it into an outlet.

9.0
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Yes (IK rating unspecified)
Floats In Water
Yes

Update 04/15/2021: We updated the text to specify that this speaker has an advertised IP6X dust resistance rating.

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 has an amazing build quality. It has a rubber top and bottom, and there's tight fabric wrapping around the speaker, which doesn't seem like it would rip easily. It's also rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. The manufacturer also claims that it's drop-proof from a height of three feet, but we also don't test for this.

5.8
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Good
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 has middling controls. On the front of the speaker, there are very visible volume buttons. There's also a "Magic" button on the top of the speaker, which lets you play/pause your music, skip to the next track, or launch a playlist set in the Ultimate Ears app. There's also a small Bluetooth pairing button on the top of the speaker. You can press both volume buttons at once to get audible feedback on the battery level, but unfortunately, there's no way to know the volume level. You also can't use the controls to skip to the previous track.

Design
In The Box

  • Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 speaker
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • User Manual

Sound
5.4
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-1.49
Std. Err.
5.41 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
92.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
15.8 kHz

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 has disappointing frequency response accuracy. It has a somewhat bass-heavy sound profile, though it struggles to reproduce a thumpy, rumbling low-bass. Vocals and lead instruments are present, though they may also sound a bit dark or dull. Fortunately, there's a graphic EQ and presets in the Ultimate Ears app to help you customize its sound. For a similar speaker that has a more balanced sound profile, consider the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
9.0
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
1.82 dB
Stereo
Yes

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 has a fantastic soundstage performance. It can play stereo content, and it has amazing directivity, so the soundstage is perceived as wide, large, and natural-sounding.

6.9
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
86.9 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.91 dB

This speaker has a fair dynamics performance. While it doesn't get very loud, there aren't a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume, ensuring a clean and clear audio reproduction.

Active Features
9.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
13.7 hrs
Charge Time
2.6 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
Micro-USB

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 has a superb battery performance. It's advertised to last for fifteen hours off of a single charge, and while it only lasted for 13.7 hours in our testing, that's still incredible. It also has a power-saving feature that automatically shuts it off after fifteen minutes without audio, which can help conserve battery life. However, battery life can vary depending on usage, so your experience may differ.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

This speaker doesn't have voice assistant support. For a similar speaker with built-in support for Alexa over Wi-Fi, check out the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST.

6.3
Active Features
App
App Name
Ultimate Ears
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The Ultimate Ears app is passable. It comes with a graphic EQ and presets so you can customize the speaker's sound profile to your liking, which is nice. However, you can't pair two BOOM speakers together to create a stereo pair, which may be disappointing for some listeners.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

This speaker can't be used wired. It comes with a micro-USB cable, but that's just for charging the speaker.

8.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
Unspecified
Bluetooth iOS Latency
7 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
34 ms
Bluetooth Range
259.2 ft (79.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 has amazing Bluetooth connectivity. Thanks to its outstanding range, it can stay connected to your paired device even if it isn't very close to the speaker. It has very low latency with both iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching videos. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This speaker isn't Wi-Fi compatible.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 comes in lots of different color variants, including 'Night Black', 'Dusk', 'Lagoon Blue', 'Jungle Grey', 'Sunset Red', 'Ultraviolet Purple', 'Peach', 'Green', and 'Unicorn'. We've tested the 'Night Black' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect the other color variants to perform similarly.

If you come across another version of this speaker, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that comes in lots of different color variants. Its built-in hook makes it easy to bring with you on-the-go, and it's floatable with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. However, it doesn't get very loud, and it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass out-of-the-box. Fortunately, the graphic EQ and presets in the Ultimate Ears app makes it easy to adjust its sound to your liking. See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers, and the best shower speakers.

JBL FLIP 5

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a better speaker for most uses than the JBL FLIP 5. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, gets louder with less compression, and has longer battery life. Also, it has a better soundstage performance, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. While the JBL has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, only the Ultimate Ears offers a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3. The MEGABOOM has a more balanced sound profile, though the extra boom in the high-bass may be overwhelming for some listeners. Also, it has a better build quality and a longer battery life. While they're both remarkably portable speakers, the BOOM is smaller, which some users may prefer. It also has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently.

JBL Charge 4

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, and it's advertised as floatable, though we don't test for this. It also has a better soundstage performance, and it can play stereo content without having to downmix it to mono. While both speakers have companion apps, only the Ultimate Ears has a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3. The WONDERBOOM 2 is better-built, and it has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. It also has an 'Outdoor Mode' EQ that's advertised to create a more bass-heavy sound. However, the BOOM 3 has a companion app that offers a full graphic EQ and presets for greater sound customization.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Bose SoundLink Revolve or the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, and it can play stereo content without having to downmix it to mono. It also has less compression when you play it at max volume, and it comes with a graphic EQ for sound customization. However, the Bose has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, and it supports voice assistants from your paired smartphone.

Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST

The Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST is a better speaker than the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3. The MEGABLAST has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, and it also supports Wi-Fi connectivity. It also has built-in support for Alexa voice assistant over a Wi-Fi connection. However, the BOOM 3 has longer battery life.

Bose SoundLink Color II

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Color II. The Ultimate Ears has a more spacious soundstage, and it can get slightly louder with less compression present at max volume. You can also customize its sound profile using the graphic EQ and presets in its companion app. However, only the Bose has voice assistant capabilities.

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