It’s no secret that I was striving for UE Wonderboom 3 for many years. why? Because it’s 2019 Wonderboom 2 it was simple yes well – even now, he sits pretty like one of the best bluetooth speakers we had the pleasure of testing.
And finally, today he came! The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 comes in four new jackets: Joyous Bright (which is actually grey), Hyper Pink, Performance Blue and Active Black – all of which are made from at least 31% certified post-consumer plastic.
Pure bass sound should now last up to 14 hours – ie. an hour longer than the Wonderboom 2 – and mobile Bluetooth range is up to a claimed 40m versus the second-generation Wonderboom’s 30m.
But that’s it folks. That concludes the list of updates as far as I can see.
As with Wonderboom 2, Wonderboom 3 is still floating around. It also has the same cute “outdoor boost” tree button on the underside, and it has the same IP67 dust and water rating. But it also has the same micro-USB charger, which was relatively old news even in 2019, so anyone who wants to carry around one USB-C charger to rule them all is going to be very out of luck.
Ultimate Ears didn’t match the support for the Bluetooth version, and as far as I can tell, the driver configuration hasn’t changed in the new eco-friendly shell either – no racetrack-shaped drivers (as seen in the bottom row of JBL speakers), no extra watts of power, nothing.
I’ll be honest: I’m disappointed.
Did I mention that the Wonderboom 3 is also not compatible with older Wonderbooms? So if you have a Wonderboom 2, you won’t be able to connect it to the shiny new Wonderboom 3 for stronger mono or stereo sound.
Opinion: The Wonderboom 3 has very few updates and I believe it won’t wash
Ultimate Ears leads here in terms of durability, but as a fan of their products, I was hoping for more.
Holding the Wonderboom 3 in my hands (stay tuned for a full review soon), new colors aside, I find it indistinguishable from its big brother – and therein lies the problem.
Where is USB-C fast charging? And would it be too much to ask UE’s engineers to offer its die-hard fans a companion app? This could open the door to connecting multiple rooms with these affordable speakers or amplifying the sound with the latest Hyperboom.
Don’t get me wrong, the Hyperboom is a very talented product and the Wonderboom 2 was awarded back in 2019 during my time at What Hi-Fi?, which makes this 2022 update all the more disappointing.
In the three years since 2019, Bluetooth 5.0, 5.1, 5.2 and even 5.3 have appeared in competing models and new wireless headphones, as well as thousands of new Bluetooth speakers boasting ever-improved power handling, better endurance, microphones and additional benefits such as like USB-A ports to charge your phone while boogieing. And that’s just… well, it doesn’t seem to be enough.
I understand that UE’s focus has been on using greener materials, but if you choose not to upgrade, you haven’t contributed to the problem now, have you? Fast consumerism is definitely on the rise here if only because I believe that with these paltry upgrades (an extra hour of gameplay, an extra 10m of range) few fans will purchase the third generation model.
Ultimate Ears has released the Wonderboom 3 at the same asking price as the first Wonderboom and Wonderboom 2: $99 / £89 / AU$129. Will this be the last addition to ours the best waterproof speakers buying guide? I don’t see this happening because the dongle (and let’s be clear, I mean the charger) update hasn’t been done.
Should I buy the new Wonderboom 3? Obviously, you’ll have to decide for yourself (and I love this pink), but for me the answer is no. You do get a micro-USB charging cable in the box – handy because I don’t know if I have one at home – but if you want your tech to keep up with the times, it’s an upgrade worth skipping.