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Hands-on Gear Review
UE Wonderboom ReviewPrice: $100 List | $71.99 at Amazon
Pros: Waterproof, fairly small, loud
Cons: Relatively poor clarity
Bottom line: A small and convenient speaker that is surprisingly loud, but the sound quality is no better than the more portable Roll 2
Inputs: Micro USB port
Reported Weight: 15 oz
The UE Wonderboom is meant to be a better sounding version of the UE Roll 2, which is our top pick for portability. The Wonderboom certainly succeeds at being louder than the Roll 2, but the actual sound quality is no better. If you're looking for something very small and portable that can still produce a lot of sound, the Wonderboom is a good choice. However, if you don't see yourself cranking your speaker up to maximum volume too often, the Roll 2 is still a better portable option.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The UE Wonderboom is surprisingly loud considering its size. However, it doesn't offer any better sound quality than the UE Roll 2, which is still a better overall option if portability is at the top of your checklist.
The UE Wonderboom did fairly well in our overall scoring, as you can see in the table above. However, we didn't feel that it carved out a unique enough niche for itself to be an award winner. In the sections that follow we'll elaborate on that point, and how the Wonderboom performed in all of the tests we conducted.
This is where the Wonderboom sort of fell out of our graces. While it sounds fairly good, earning a 6 out of 10 in this metric, it is no better than its more portable sibling, the UE Roll 2. We were hoping that the Wonderboom would be like the Roll 2 with better bass, but alas it created the same sort of middle of the road sound that was well balanced but slightly thin. In the Roll 2 this slightly thin sound feels totally worth the gains you make in portability, but in the larger Wonderboom it is somewhat disappointing.
The Wonderboom is one of the more portable models we tested, and it earned an 8 out of 10 in this metric. It squeaks in at just under a pound, and has a short cylindrical that packs into a bag fairly well. It is also IPX7 waterproof, so it can survive complete submersion in water. It also has a small keeper loop that is just big enough to fit a carabiner. However, the UE Roll 2 handily out does the Wonderboom in this capacity, weighing just 11.2 ounces and sporting a flat profile that fits almost anywhere. While the Wonderboom is good, if you're looking for something super portable we would still go with the Roll 2.
This is the one place where the Wonderboom does stand out. It is quite loud, especially compared to other models of commensurate size. It earned an 8 out of 10 in this metric, putting it just behind the top scorers, which are all much larger than the Wonderboom. It had plenty of power to provide music for a big group of people in our testing apartment, and is oud enough that you could easily annoy the other beachgoers on a crowded summer day. If you're looking for something small yet loud, this is the one area where the Wonderboom shines.
The Wonderboom was quite impressive in our battery life testing, almost doubling its manufacturer claimed battery life when it lasted 19.5 hours. This put it towards the top of the battery life score sheet, bested only by the borderline unbelievable performances of the JBL Charge 3 and the Anker SoundCore 2.
At a list price of $100, the UE Wonderboom is a good value if you're looking for something very small that is also very loud. However, if you're looking for portability more than maximum volume, the UE Roll 2 is a much better value.
The UE Wonderboom produces the most volume per ouce of any of the moels we tested, making it good if you want something loud yet tiny, but otherwise is just mediocre.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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