The key to a great party is great music. When you’re planning for the summer, though, sometimes you can run into a few hangups. What if, for instance, you’re having an outdoor pool party? You can’t exactly drag your speakers and subwoofer out onto the pool deck.

You can, however, get set up with the new Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Weatherproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker.

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Portable Speaker: tech specs

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Speaker’s promise is “small in size and big on sound.” It’s very compact (it even fits in my tiny little hobbit hands), but it’s built rugged. At just 10.2 cm tall, it’s a hefty 425g–still light enough to throw into your beach bag, but heavy enough that you’re not going to have to worry about it tipping over.

The WonderBoom features an IPX7-rated waterproof design, which is more than just splashproof. It can be immersed in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes, and it’s also dirtproof and shockproof up to 1.7 metres. That means that it’s not just suited for the pool deck: it can go right into the water and still play back your music, or get tossed around in the grit and sand at a beach volleyball tournament.

The waterproof design is also made to float, and it does so at a semi-submerged state.

I’m very much a worrier, so my primary concerns when it comes to Bluetooth devices are range and battery life. The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speakers feature a 10-hour battery life during playback with a built in rechargeable battery. The device recharges easily via USB, and has multi-room capability.

My experience with the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Portable Speaker

The Bluetooth 4.1 used by Ultimate Ears is top of the line, and it’s crystal clear. However, I noticed a slight lag in the timing of the speaker. It’s best for music or audio playback (things like radio plays and podcasts), but struggles very slightly with movie playback. I set up my Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker while watching Grace & Frankie–which, by the way, is absolutely hilarious and totally heartwarming–and noticed a very slight delay in the audio to picture playback.

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker focuses on delivering strong bass, which also has its pros and cons. Personally, I don’t like too much bass; I think it makes it difficult to distinguish sounds and voices. However, it’s a very handy tool used by a lot of brands who make portable speakers. It’s easier to deliver deep, loud bass than it is to deliver super-clear higher sounds, and the trade-off is frequently worth it.

In this case, I’d say it very much is, because the WonderBoom gets LOUD. It gets so loud that I’m not even sure just how loud it gets. Once I hit the upper-ish end of the range, I have to quickly tune things back down so I won’t tick off my neighbours or start bleeding out of my ears.

The best uses for the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker is great for a lot of things, but I have a couple of favourites. For starters, it’s excellent for listening to podcasts on–as long as your podcasters aren’t too mumbly. I usually listen to my podcasts straight out of my phone, which is usually a pretty quiet and slightly inconvenient setup.

On the WonderBoom, though, it’s easy. The setup is totally painless, and I can wander from one end of the apartment to the other without interrupting playback. My partner and I listened to a couple episodes of Stuff You Should Know and NYT Sex Lives on the WonderBoom, and I really liked having the option of coming and going (with my phone!) during the podcasts.

Even better was the fact that I could switch the speaker from my phone to my computer in just a couple of seconds. I’m not great at keeping my files straight, so sometimes I’ll want to listen to something that’s on the wrong device. The WonderBoom is so easy to connect by just holding down a button and setting it up that switching isn’t a problem.

It’s also great for listening to things in the shower, due to its waterproof nature. I get super bored in the shower or bath, and the loud, waterproof WonderBoom is a great solution to that. My phone is neither waterproof enough nor loud enough to function as a speaker while I wash my hair, but for the WonderBoom, it’s an easy job.

Everyday uses aren’t the only places that the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker excels at, though…

How to set up for a party with the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Speaker is available in six different colours, and they’re all pretty fab, if I may say so myself. This review features the grey speaker, but I love the lilac speaker. (The accent colour on it is blue, and it’s so pretty!) There’s very much a colour for everybody, and the colours can be mixed and matched.

“But why would I want to own two of the same speaker, Rae?” You ask. Or–maybe you weren’t wondering it yet, but you should have been.

The WonderBoom can be chained with another WonderBoom, for an even louder, more immersive experience. You can only chain two speakers at a time, but they chain in stereo when you set them up. (For anyone out there who isn’t a sound nerd, that means that they essentially turn into left and right speakers when there’s two. The separate audio tracks split during playback, and you get more of a “surround sound” experience.) And, while they don’t work with Apple AirPlay, they do work with things like Google Cast and Spotify, so you can easily set them up with the perfect party playlist.

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speakers are a lot of fun, and they really excel in a social environment. They’re a great choice for a busy summer pool party, a beach party, or even a picnic. Of all of the Bluetooth speakers I’ve tried thus far, this one is my favourite–both visually and functionally.

Shop the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speaker at Best Buy now. 

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