Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 review: our full review – Bluetooth speakers

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 succeeds the Wonderboom 2, essentially improving autonomy and Bluetooth radio range. Small, solid, handy and waterproof, the Wonderboom is distinguished by a 360° sound of astonishing power for its size. Would she have everything to please?

The small Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 speaker // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

Recognizable among all with its huge volume buttons, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is a small portable Bluetooth speaker, equipped with four transducers for 360° stereo sound. Ultimate Ears plays the card of change in continuity, since compared to the previous vintage, the Wonderboom 3 gains an hour of autonomy, with 14 hours announced, and sees its radio coverage increased to 40 meters thanks to a new Bluetooth controller. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 comes in four new colorways and is made from now more recycled materials.

Technical sheet

8 /10

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

This test was carried out with a loudspeaker lent by the manufacturer.

Design

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 has a pretty little face and a remarkable build quality. 10 cm high, a little less wide, it surprises with its compactness, especially since four transducers are present. You will see later in the disassembly photos, Ultimate Ears could not have been smaller, nor better, to integrate so many components into a speaker.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is equipped with a small elastic strap // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

The Wonderboom 3 is equipped with a slightly grained plastic upper face, in which is firmly anchored a mini stretch textile wrist strap. The upper part houses the three main buttons of the speaker: power on, Bluetooth pairing and playback management. Volume control is provided by two huge buttons housed in the front panel. In contrast, the underside houses a sound equalization button (outdoor mode), as well as the micro-USB charging port.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
Stigmas of a somewhat old design, the charging port is in micro USB format // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

The Wonderboom 3 is rather light, at just over 400 g and resists, according to Ultimate Ears, drops from a height of 1 min 50 s. I deliberately dropped it in the grass several times without damaging it, nor altering its operation. In addition, the speaker is IP67 certified, which makes it possible to take it to the shower or to the beach, since it fears neither water nor sand. In addition, its fabric dries quickly and is easy to clean.

Usage et application

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is pleasant to use. Its prehension is easy, thanks to its compact format as well as to the almost adherent fabric which dresses it. It is also particularly stable, and even if it happens to overturn on rough terrain, it does not roll so easily and is quickly held back by its strap. Anyway, the arrangement of the speakers means that it always sounds the same, regardless of its positioning.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 sounds great outdoors // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

The control buttons require some force to be properly pressed – a matter of habit – but this avoids false manipulations. The only possible complaint is that the volume buttons on the front require you to use two fingers to pinch the speaker.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
Not very heavy, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 can possibly be transported by its wrist strap // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

No control application is available for the Wonderboom 3 and it will be necessary to stick to the settings accessible on the speaker. It is therefore impossible to deactivate the sounds of switching on and off, or of Bluetooth connection, the volume of which is particularly high.

Bluetooth stable et performant

Bluetooth pairing with an iPhone and a Xiaomi smartphone was no problem, and connecting to two devices simultaneously is convenient. With Android smartphones, pairing is lightning fast thanks to support for the Google Fast Pair protocol. As for the range, I couldn’t maintain a connection beyond 20 meters outdoors, probably because of my smartphone. Anyway, the 10 meters through a thin wall and a wooden floor are assured.

Audio

The Wonderboom 3 may be very small, but Ultimate Ears has managed to accommodate four transducers, two of which are active. This acoustic solution is frequently chosen by portable loudspeaker manufacturers, because the passive radiators make it possible to obtain an extended response in the low frequencies, despite a very small internal volume. This charging technique therefore extends the bass response by a few tens of Hertz, while increasing the efficiency of the loudspeaker. In addition, active transducers see their membrane movements reduced in the lowest frequencies, which allows them to play louder without risking damage. Small downside, it is the active transducers that move the liabilities, with the key to inertia and less precision at high frequencies. This is also why some manufacturers, like JBL with the Flip 6, entrust the mid and high frequencies to a tweeter.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
On the left one of the two passive radiators and on the right one of the two active transducers of the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

An examination of the entrails of the enclosure reveals two small active transducers 4 cm in diameter, wideband type, modestly motorized. You should certainly not expect a very dynamic sound, especially since the passive radiators are imposing. The integration is neat: the bowls are surrounded by foam to avoid vibrations and the transducers placed back to back in tension against each other, which reinforces the body and avoids energy loss. Usually, it is in (good) hi-fi speakers that we find this type of process. Even the modulation cables are covered with foam to avoid parasitic noise. It’s very clean.

Signature, dynamics and soundstage

I tested the Ultimate Ears Wondeboom 3 with an iPhone 13 Pro Max and a Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G, in Bluetooth SBC (the only Bluetooth audio codec supported), from Apple Music. No difference is detectable depending on the source.

The 360° sound is not a marketing argument and works very well. It’s even a serious advantage of the Wonderboom 3. No matter how much you turn it in all directions, it still sounds the same. Small problem: the speakers operating in stereo, some old titles with a very lateralized mix require you to turn the speaker to better hear the voices (Yellow Submarine the Beatles for example). That said, it’s less annoying on this spherical Wonderboom 3 than on a Marshall Emberton II.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
One of the speaker’s 4 cm transducers // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

The tonal balance of the Wonderboom 3 is well studied and overall flattering for the ear. The only criticism concerning the sound signature, the bass is short and hardly goes below 80 Hz, which deprives the restitution of depth. But the energy in the high bass gives a bit of body and especially punch. The size/performance ratio remains very good. As for the midrange and treble, they are very soft and fluid, without acidity.

Test Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
10 cm high for almost as wide // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

From the lowest listening volume, we obtain an intelligible and pleasant sound. On the dynamic side, it’s average, which was to be expected given the size of the speakers. However, the message is organized, precise and everything passes, whether we listen to jazz, pop, rock or even rap. Still, the Wonderboom 3 is cut out for close listening: it sounds best at less than two meters away.

Outdoor behavior

The outdoor mode, which engages thanks to the button under the enclosure, is frankly bad. The bass is eliminated and the mids reinforced. In short, the sound loses its balance. We will therefore avoid activating it, especially since the default signature of the Wonderboom 3 is perfectly suitable for outdoor broadcasting.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is easy to install just about anywhere // Source: Tristan Jacquel for Frandroid

As often, the speaker even sounds better outside than inside and manages to broadcast a very powerful sound. Good point, the tonal balance changes little when you push the volume to its limits.

Micro

As with previous iterations, Ultimate Ears has skipped the hands-free call function. The Wonderboom 3 has no microphone.

Autonomy

Ultimate Ears announces an autonomy of 14 hours, thanks to a 2100 mAh battery. Paired with my iPhone and at 50% volume, the speaker gave way after around 1:30 p.m., which is excellent considering the powerful volume it delivers in these conditions. The battery requires about 2.5 hours to fully recharge, with a 10 W charger. Unfortunately, you will have to use a cable with the old micro-USB connector, Ultimate Ears still not having switched to USB-C.

Price and release date

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is available in black (Active Black), blue (Performance Blue), pink (Hyper Pink) and light gray (Joyous Bright) at a price of €99 including VAT.

Where to buy
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 at the best price?

Source: Frandroid by www.frandroid.com.

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