Ultimate Ears Hyperboom Bluetooth Speaker REVIEW
Bored with the current selection of midget-sized portable Bluetooth speakers? PAT PILCHER reviews a really big one.
Bluetooth speakers. Love ’em or hate ’em, the reality is that they’re incredibly handy. While most deliver boombox level audio that’s fine for a BBQ or a few beersies in the garden, the reality is that the audio performance of leaves a lot to be desired.
This hasn’t been wasted on Ultimate Ears, Logitech’s audio sub-brand. They’ve gone all-out and made a Bluetooth speaker that’s been fed a steady diet of growth hormones at the factory – the Hyperboom. It’s designed to blow out the cobwebs and then some.
Saying the Hyperboom is big is a lot like calling the QEII a dingy. Put simply, it is mahoosive. The Hyperboom is also a radical departure from everything Ultimate Ears has made so far.
When unboxing, the Hyperboom was a bit of a surprise. I’d anticipated a new Ultimate Ears speaker. I was imagining something like previous Megabooms – an inoffensive cylinder-shaped unit that you’d mistake for a salt and peppershaker when it sat next to the BBQ. At a whopping 5.9kg, about the only thing you’d be able to mistake the Hyperboom for is a Borg Cube.
This is no accident. Ultimate Ears Speakers are often used at parties. While this might be doable, they lack the raw grunt needed to deliver ceiling-shaking oonst. Achieving a party grade Bluetooth speaker saw Logitech/Ultimate Ears developing the gargantuan XXXXXXL-sized Hyperboom.
The first hint of its size is its box, which contained a charging cable, power adaptor and quick start guide. The Hyperboom was so idiot-proof that even I got it working the first time around.
While it is portable, it does weigh about as much as a toddler. I’d happily move it from room to room though, or next to the BBQ. Taking it to the beach isn’t an option unless you happen to know a good chiropractor.
There are good reasons for all this heft. Inside its massive rectangular cabinet, there’s a pair of 4.5-inch woofers, a couple of 1-inch tweeters, and two passive radiators, all of which are much bigger than the old school Megaboom speakers. Adding extra heft to this is batteries and an amplifier plus Bluetooth radio.
Design-wise, there’s real Zen-like simplicity about the Hyperboom. Sure, it’s brutally big for a Bluetooth speaker, but it isn’t hard to get to grips with once it’s out of its packaging. On top of the speaker is a power button, mic (for UE’s adaptive equaliser – more on this later), XXL sized -/+ volume buttons, and buttons for switching between paired devices as well as a play/pause control button. When Ultimate ears ran out of growth hormones at the factory, they stuck numbered yellow stickers next to each button. This made getting the Hyperboom set up a complete no brainer.
Running along one corner of the Hyperboom is a cluster of inputs covered by protective rubber flaps. These include a 3.5mm jack, SPIDIF, and thoughtfully, a USB port (for charging widgets), as well as a power port for keeping the Hyperboom charged. Last but by no means least is a small handle, which makes carrying it a little less awkward.
So, if you’re away from home and enjoying the great outdoors, the big question is, how long will the Hyperboom do its thing before it pleads for some quality time with a wall socket? I got close to 24 hours of battery life with music played at a less than deafening level. This decreased if I decided to really piss off my long-suffering wife and neighbours by cranking things up.
Loud music, parties and beverages usually translate into lots of spilt drinks. Thankfully, the Hyperboom has an IPX4 rating so it can handle the odd splash. Using the UE Megaboom app, it’ll also pair up with other Megaboom/Hyperboom speakers, which makes creating a room-filling sound field an effortless undertaking.
On the sound front, I found its extra size really helped it deliver the goods sonically. Blasting out Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon saw the Hyperboom punch out solid bass that other Bluetooth speakers could only dream of even hinting at. Throwing on Pitch Black’s Third Light, bass was felt as well as heard. Highs and midrange were there in abundance, but the Hyperboom didn’t sound shrill.
All told, it delivered punchy audio that felt composed and balanced. Audio also held together at levels you could use to blow-dry your hair. Much of this is due to what Ultimate Ears calls adaptive EQ. With it, the Hyperboom belts out a series of test tones. Using its built-in mic, it measures environmental acoustics and customises EQ settings. Using the UE app, I also had access to a customizable EQ, which let me tweak sound via a bunch of EQ pre-sets.
The UE Hyperboom certainly isn’t small. It takes what is great about the Megaboom range and supersizes it. Virtually everything about the Hyperboom including its dynamic sound and palpable bass, has been supersized. Add to this, a well-executed design and useful features, and it’s the Bluetooth party speaker of choice. Because of this, and its acres of oonst, the Hyperboom scores a well-deserved 10/10.
POWER: lithium-ion battery for up to 24 hours of battery life (Charge time: 2.6 hrs)
SPL: 100 dBC
Frequency range: 45Hz – 20KHz
Drivers: 2 x 114 mm woofers + 2 x 25 mm tweeters + 2 x 89 mm x 190 mm passive radiators
DIMENSIONS: (H) 364 mm x (D) 190 mm x (W) 190 mm