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The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is humble but hard working
Lightweight looks, solid sound.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 isn't a huge departure from the previous model, but it's still as charming to look at, convenient to carry around and crisp to listen to as ever.
When it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers, size doesn't matter nearly so much as shape does. Anyone can make a bigger speaker, but building a Bluetooth beatbox in a shape that's neat to look at, convenient to carry around, and uncompromised when it comes to sound? Now that's hard.
And even within the expanse of options available from rivals like JBL and Bose, there isn't anything quite as rounded as the new Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3. Rather than try and drown out the competition by going bigger, the third-generation Bluetooth speaker trusts in its own distinctness.
So long as you're ready to roll with that confidence, the Wonderboom 3 a charming portable speaker that delivers surprisingly engrossing soundscapes.
How much does the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 cost in Australia?
Here in Australia, you can find the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 for a recommended retail price (RRP) of $149.95. That's not quite bottom-of-the-barrel when it comes to wireless and Bluetooth speakers, but it's relatively affordable compared to something like the Sonos Roam.
Still, as always, those looking to scoop up some savings are best to check with all the usual retailers to see which one offers the best price for the device. The table below should help.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3: Design and features
Each entry in the Ultimate Ear audio roster tends to be defined by its form-factor, and the new Wonderboom 3 is no different.
Much like its second-generation counterpart, the Logitech-backed brand's latest backpack-friendly Bluetooth speaker combines an orb-like form-factor, outdoor-friendly material design and surprisingly-decent sonic capabilities. Visually, it's closer to an Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod Mini than it is the JBL Flip 5 or the Bose Soundlink Micro. Nevertheless, what's on offer with the Wonderboom 3 veers closer the latter.
In terms of what it can do, the Wonderboom 3 isn't all that different to previous iterations. Ultimate Ears haven't tried to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they've chosen to recycle.
The Wonderboom 3 comes constituted by the same recycled materials and an almost identical design to that of the previous model. Like that speaker, it's capable of projecting 360-degree sound from any smart device connected via Bluetooth. It's IP67 rated, drop resistant, waterproof and can deliver a solid 14 hours of playback on a single charge. If you're not ready to build a better speaker, you might as well be smart about it.
Aussies looking to pick up the Wonderboom 3 have four different colors to choose from: Joyous Bright (Grey), Hyper Pink, Performance Blue, and Active Black.
Regardless of the shade, a good half of the controls here are seamlessly integrated into the aesthetics of the piece. The power, pairing, and sync buttons are housed on the top-most end of the Wonderboom 3. The all-important volume keys are woven into the front-facing side, and the Outdoor Boost button (introduced in the previous model) is hidden away on the underside of the speaker.
There's also a small, but notable rubberised loop at the top and a capped section on the back of the ball-shaped that conceals a single Micro USB port, which is used to charge the thing.
Micro USB charging is hardly a deal-breaker given the price, but given the otherwise mild revisions, USB Type-C would have been nice to see.
As with previous and other Ultimate Ears speakers, two Wonderboom 3 speakers can be paired together either as a stereo pair. Aside from this, there are few tricks and technical features to be found here. You pair the Wonderboom 3 with a given audio source, hit play and feast your ears on the results. You don't get voice assistant support or custom equalisers.
There's an Ultimate Ears companion app available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. However, at the time of writing, the Wonderboom 3 is not supported and can't be customised in the same way or to the same degree that some of the brand's other speakers can.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3: Sound quality and battery life
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is as far from a heavyweight as you can get when it comes to speakers. It favors nimble and punchy sound quality over the alternatives. The soundscapes that it presents aren't particularly deep or wide, but they are consistently listenable. It's imminently likable, or at the very least easy to learn to like.
Those who prefer fidelity or crispness may come away wanting, but the experience of using the Wonderboom 3 as and where it's intended to be used is hard to muster much of a complaint about. Music listened to via the Bluetooth speaker never sounded anywhere near as nice or dynamic as it might through my premium noise-cancelling headphones or my Sonos speakers, but it was always very clean about cutting through any acoustic clutter.
Both bouncy and bassy, the Wonderboom 3 frequently swung above its weight. I could comfortably listen to it both inside and outside my house without worry, with the 360-degree design and compact size proving to be steadfast complements to the speaker's sonic strengths.
Put to the test with a playlist designed to tease out the limits and strengths of the drivers inside the speaker, the Wonderboom 3 couldn't quite deliver on the nuances of Childish Gambino's "3005" or "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd. Fortunately, the Bluetooth speaker fared far better where it concerns the treble-drenched dreamscapes of Portishead's "Humming" and jangled riffs in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by The Beatles.
When it comes to battery life, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 met but didn't exceed my expectations. 14 hours of playback is solid, but it's only a minor improvement on the previous generation.
While an apples-to-apples comparison between the longevity of the hardware here and other Bluetooth speakers is somewhat tricky due to the different sizes and shapes in the mix, the Wonderboom 3 doesn't blow away the competition. It's ahead of similarly priced Bose and JBL, but behind Sony and Anker Soundcore.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 vs Wonderboom 2
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 isn't exactly a radical departure from earlier models. As with the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, the Wonderboom 3 is an orb-like speaker wrapped in a mesh-like fabric that offers 360-degree audio via Bluetooth.
That said, there are some slight differences worth noting here. Specifically, the more-recent Wonderboom 3 promises slightly greater wireless range and slightly longer battery life at 14 hours versus the 13 hours offered by its predecessor.
Is Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 worth buying?
With a unique form-factor that's super to carry around and sound quality that's easy on the ears, the Wonderboom 3 is a solid portable speaker that's well worth considering for those who are happy with something humble but hard-working.
It's not going to blow away the competition, but the price is right and the possibilities of a snack-sized speaker like this one are easy to feast upon.
How does Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 compare?
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 FAQ
Pressing both volume buttons simultaneously will prompt the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 to give a verbal report on its battery life.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 should be good for 14 hours of playback on a single charge.
Two Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 can be paired together in a stereo configuration.
However, you can't pair more than two units together at a time nor can you pair the Wonderboom up with any other Ultimate Ears Bluetooth speakers in this way.