Ultimate Ears Wonderboom vs Boom 2 Review

Jonathan Choi 21 December 2017

Quick Verdict
Both speakers pack impressive sound quality compared to their competitors, but the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM comes out on top in value for money.

Boom 2

  • Plus: Soundbar sound quality just got portable
  • Minus: Should have a holding cord attached

Wonderboom

  • Plus: Amazing sound quality for its price
  • Minus: May disappoint if you’re using the speaker for heavier activities e.g. movies

Is bigger always better? Find out which Ultimate Ears speaker is worth more for its price tag.

UE Boom 2 from Kogan

The Boom 2 is a waterproof wireless speaker with first-in-class sound quality without the hefty price tag. Get yours today!

View details

Other than their shape and size, these speakers may not seem super different to one another, and you may be wondering what the lowest frequency or a passive radiator has to do with anything. This review will dive into what these terms mean and why they matter, and help you to choose between the Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 speaker and the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM speaker. First, let’s look at both speakers by the numbers.

FeatureUltimate Ears BOOM 2Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM
Height180mm102mm
Width67mm93.5mm
Driver unit size45mm40mm
Weight548g425g
Lowest frequency90Hz80Hz
Integrated amplifier?YesNo
Drivers22
AUX input?YesNo
NFC Bluetooth pairing?YesNo
Passive radiator?YesNo
Highest frequency20,000Hz20,000Hz
Bluetooth range30 metres30 metres
Battery life15 hours10 hours
Waterproof ratingIPX7IP67

Design

Both speakers feature Ultimate Ears’ simple and effective controls with volume controls on the front. The BOOM 2 features a longer and thinner body compared to the WONDERBOOM, making it easier to hold.

A key difference in the design of the speakers is that the WONDERBOOM comes with a holding cord, whereas the BOOM 2 does not have this feature. Considering that the entry-level ROLL 2 speaker also includes a cord, it’s disappointing to see that Ultimate Ears didn’t maintain this consistency. Instead, the BOOM 2 includes a foldable D-ring with which you can secure the speaker onto carabiners and other holds. The opening of the D-ring is only around 8mm wide, which could make it difficult to hang.

The BOOM 2 has 78mm more height than the WONDERBOOM, making it 76% taller. Since it is slimmer and taller, users with smaller hands may find the BOOM 2 more comfortable to hold.

ue wonderboom boom2 design comparison

The colour range of the BOOM 2 is more expansive than the vibrant spectrum of the WONDERBOOM. The standard colour offerings for both speakers include Brainfreeze blue, Lilac purple, Cherry Bomb pink, Phantom black and Stone grey. If you’d like a larger range of colours, the BOOM 2 offers exclusive colour options including:

  • Tropical: Orange and pink. Coined the “Piña Colada of party perfection” by Ultimate Ears.
  • After hours: Red, blue and black, cross hatched with an array of contrasting dots, which gives a “rave-like” feel.
  • Cityscape: Black and white, contrasted with panelled shades of grey, creating a sophisticated feel.
  • Marina: Contrasting segments of teal, violet and blue, which make you feel like you’re at an underwater nightclub.
  • Cashmere: Bright pink. For users after a luxe sound experience.

Functionality

The BOOM 2 is much more difficult to charge than the WONDERBOOM. The charging cord struggles to fit inside the port and you are unable to stand the speaker upwards when charging. The WONDERBOOM’s charging port is much more ergonomically placed, being on the side instead of directly underneath. This allows the WONDERBOOM to stand up while charging, allowing the 360-degree sound to take full effect. A great inclusion of the Boom 2 is the inclusion of a power plug, which is a rarity for audio products in todays market. The power plug has a high quality build and is easily assembled by clicking the pieces together.

ue wonderboom boom 2 charging ports

ue boom 2 charging cords

Battery life is substantially longer for the BOOM 2, clocking in at 15 hours, which is 5 hours longer than the WONDERBOOM.

If you’d like to get the most out of your BOOM 2, the Ultimate Ears BOOM mobile application offers some useful features. You can modify the equalizer settings to tailor your sound, monitor battery levels and set your alarm through the speaker for epic-sounding wake-ups.

One of the key features is the Block Party mode, which allows up to three people to connect to the speaker at the same time and take turns playing music. The Block Party is managed by a single host who can determine the fate of the Block Party members if their music choices aren’t up to scratch. The Block Party host can change the device that is playing through the speaker, adjust the volume, boot out members and replace them with new ones.

Both the BOOM 2 and the WONDERBOOM are completely waterproof. The WONDERBOOM has an IP67 waterproof rating, which means that it is fully protected from dust and can also withstand being submerged in up to 1 metre of static water for up to 30 minutes.

The BOOM 2 has an IPX7 waterproof rating. The X means that there is no certified protection against dust particles, but the 7 means that the BOOM 2 can be totally immersed in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes. As a result, the dividing factor between both speakers is that the WONDERBOOM is fully protected from dust, making it the tougher contender.

Set-up and sound quality

You can set up both speakers in two easy steps. Take the speaker out of the box and connect it to your phone or laptop.

Charging time for both speakers is the same, with each speaker taking three hours to charge from a flat battery. This was surprisingly quick for the WONDERBOOM, which actually had an advertised charging time of five hours and 30 minutes. The BOOM 2 is advertised to take two hours and 30 minutes to charge, so the three-hour mark was acceptable. The longer charging time could have been due to the speaker being fresh out of the box. In terms of overall sound, the BOOM 2 goes further than the WONDERBOOM by offering a more complete sound.

To test the bass of each of the speakers, I watched the The Fate of The Furious movie, which has plenty of explosions. The explosions and loud sounds were much more impressive with the BOOM 2. It almost sounded like a miniature version of a home cinema soundbar. The WONDERBOOM still provided decent sound quality, but did not measure up to the BOOM 2 for watching movies. The difference in bass may be due to the “passive radiator” in the BOOM 2, which allows its woofer to produce much deeper tones.

In conclusion, the WONDERBOOM’s strengths lie in providing sound that isn’t as bass dependent. The BOOM 2’s provides a more holistic audio experience that translates across movies, music and anything else you need to blast.

Read our full review of the WONDERBOOM speaker

Price

With Christmas sales on, it will only cost you $60 to upgrade to the BOOM 2. If you’re an everyday listener who needs music on the go, you should be quite satisfied with the WONDERBOOM. Otherwise, forking out the extra $60 is well worth it too.

WonderboomPriceBoom 2Price
JB Hi-Fi$99.00JB Hi-Fi$149.00
Ultimate Ears$129.95Ultimate Ears$229.95
Kogan$129.95Kogan$169.00
Harvey Norman$99.00Harvey Norman$168.00

UE Boom 2 from Kogan

The Boom 2 is a waterproof wireless speaker with first-in-class sound quality without the hefty price tag. Get yours today!

View details

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