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Ultimate Ears Boom 3 review

Portable speaker. Priced at $229.

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CHOICE Expert Rating

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CHOICE Expert Rating

This is the product's overall performance score, based on key tests conducted by our industry experts in the CHOICE labs.

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The product's best features and benefits

Bad points

Drawbacks or issues you need to know about
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Speaker type View more details.

Home speakers can be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and mains powered. Portable speakers may also be Wi-Fi but are usually Bluetooth and are battery powered. Smart displays are ideal for the kitchen or bedroom and can usually play video as well as illustrate information delivered by a voice assistant such as Alexa or Google. 

Power options View more details.

Speakers that offer both mains and battery power provide versatility to use at home and take out and about.

Recommended View more details.

Recommended speakers have earned a CHOICE Expert rating of 70% or more and a listening score of 70% or more. The listening score is an average of the classical, jazz, pop and speech scores.

CHOICE Expert Rating View more details.

This overall score varies slightly depending on the speaker type. Portable speakers: Listening performance (60%) and ease of use (40%). Mains powered (aka home) speakers: Listening performance (70%) and ease of use (30%). Smart displays: Listening performance (50%), ease of use (25%) and screen score (25%). Note: 'Ease of use' is called 'Everyday score' in this test.

Classical music score View more details.

Our testers assess the speaker to see how well it performs when playing classical music.

Jazz music score View more details.

Our tester assesses how well the speaker performs when playing jazz music.

Pop music score View more details.

Our tester assesses how well the speaker performs when playing pop music.

Speech score View more details.

Our tester assesses how well the speaker performs for speech, using a newscast.

Set-up score View more details.

We test initial set-up and any physical controls on the speaker.

Everyday score View more details.

We assess day-to-day ease of use by performing common tasks with the speaker, such as connecting it to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or an AUX input. We look at how clear the instruction manual is and whether it's easy to understand. Note: Digital assistants such as Google Home, Siri and Alexa are not performance assessed.

App score View more details.

Our testers look at the app and see how easy and useful it is to play music this does not contribute to the overall score.

Power consumption score View more details.

We measure power consumption in standby and active mode for mains powered speakers and smart displays. When active, speaker volume is set to a normal listening level. Lower scoring models are less energy efficient than those with higher, or perfect, scores.

Smart display score View more details.

We assess image quality when the screen is at mid and full brightness, in portrait and landscape orientations, from a range of viewing angles in bright and dark environments. We also look at reflections, auto-dimming performance, touch screen speed and accuracy and ease of cleaning.

Battery time (hours) View more details.

Shown in hours, this test applies to models designed to be used with battery power. It provides an approximate playback lifespan before you need to recharge. Battery testing is carried out with a constant music source connected to the unit through the auxiliary input.

Price View more details.

Recommended retail price at the time of testing.

Annual running cost View more details.

This is only measured for speakers and smart screens connected to mains power, as they're designed to be "always on". Measurements include when it is sitting idle and being actively used for a few hours per day. Calculated at 30 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Other controls View more details.

Additional controls built into the unit.

Volume +/-, "magic button" controls play/pause/next track
Apps available
Boom & Megaboom
Dimensions (mm, HxWxD) View more details.

Rounded up to nearest 5mm.

184 x 71 x 71
Weight (g) View more details.

Weight of speaker rounded to the nearest gram.

Bluetooth View more details.

Bluetooth is the most common direct wireless connection option between a wireless speaker and a smart device.

Wi-Fi (2.4GHz) View more details.

Standard Wi-Fi connectivity. The big advantage with Wi-Fi over Bluetooth is the range, with Wi-Fi networks often able to project well over 30 metres.

Wi-Fi (5GHz) View more details.

5GHz allows you to connect a greater number of devices over a wireless network with fewer conflicts.

Personal assistant View more details.

Is a digital assistant included with the smart speaker?

Apple AirPlay support View more details.

Whether the speakers have support for Apple Airplay.

Google Home support View more details.

Whether the speakers have support for the Google Home smart home control environment.

Not applicable
Google Assistant support View more details.

Whether the speaker has built-in support for Google Assistant.

Not applicable
Alexa support View more details.

Whether the speaker has built-in Alexa support.

Not applicable
Siri support View more details.

Whether the speaker has built-in Siri (Apple) support.

Not applicable
Auxiliary input View more details.

Whether the speakers include a 3.5mm aux-in port.

Surround support View more details.

Some wireless speakers can be integrated into a surround sound system, working as the back left and right speakers for a multi-speaker setup.

Stereo pairing View more details.

Grouping two speakers together over a Bluetooth connection in order to play the same song with more volume, or to work as a two channel sound system by assigning left- and right- roles to the speakers.

Hands free phone over bluetooth View more details.

Can use the speaker and built-in microphone for calls, as long as it's connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

Dust/water resistant View more details.

As claimed by the manufacturer.

Yes (IP67)
Battery life indicator View more details.

Whether the speaker provides a visual indication of remaining battery life such as a blinking light or changing colour from green to red or in the case of speakers like the Logitech UE Boom and Megaboom models that deliver an audio indication of battery life such as '80% charged' when holding the + and – volume buttons down at the same time.

USB can charge other devices View more details.

Most of these speakers have larger batteries than a smartphone so can be very handy when you are caught out and about and need to juice up your mobile. Simply plug the USB cable from the speaker to the phone and you are ready to go.

Travel case View more details.

Whether the speakers come with a travel case.

Music service support View more details.

This refers to services from which music can be played when you request it via voice command, directly from the smart speaker.

Not applicable
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