The original Boom speaker from Ultimate Ears was among the early Bluetooth speakers that made people actually stop and notice that portable speakers were no longer cheap, thin-sounding toys, but could actually provide powerful sound in a relatively small package. Later, the Ultimate Ears Megaboom took that form factor and supersized it, adding a significant boost in bass and sound quality in the process, to the point that it still remains our favorite outdoor speaker. Now the next generation of those speakers has arrived in the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3, and they look poised to make these already-great speakers even better.
While the iconic look of the speakers remains, they have seen subtle updates, with the most notable being the two-tone fabric covering, which is also used in motorcycle jackets. The USB port has also been repositioned, letting you plug the speakers in to charge them while keeping them upright. The bluetooth range has been increased to 150 feet on both speakers, while the new IP67 rating means the speakers are waterproof, shock-proof, and dust-proof. They even float, meaning you don’t need to worry about losing them at the bottom of a lake.
Much of the control is handled by the brand new Magic Button, which sits on top of the speakers. By itself, this acts as a multifunction button, letting you play, pause, and skip tracks right from the speaker without having to find your phone. When used with the Boom and Megaboom app for Android and iOS, the button gets even more useful. Integrating with Apple Music on iOS and Deezer on Android, you can even skip playlists, keeping the party going when the music seems like it’s about to run out. Ultimate Ears says more music services will be supported moving forward.
The app also lets you control custom equalization options, turn the speaker on and off directly from your phone, and pair as many as 150 speakers. While you can charge the speakers with a USB cable, the Ultimate Ears Power Up charging dock will be sold separately for $40, letting you charge your speakers simply by placing them on the stand. Until we get our hands on them, we can’t say how the speakers will sound, but Ultimate Ears has said the Megaboom 3 will have even more bass than the previous model.
Both the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 will be available in night (black), sunset (red), lagoon (blue), and ultraviolet (purple) color varieties and will be available beginning in September. The Boom 3 will retail for $150, while the Megaboom 3 will sell for $200. For more information on the speakers, see the Ultimate Ears website, and for a look at the competition, see our list of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy.