Hyperboom review

HYPERBOOM Review: Ultimate Ears Embiggens the Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Audio Gear Products Reviews

In 2018, I reviewed the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST. This was the largest and loudest portable Bluetooth speaker in the company’s lineup. It weighed 2.65 pounds and stood nearly 10-inches tall. That record stood until a few weeks ago when Ultimate Ears released the HYPERBOOM. This is the biggest, loudest, and most ambitious speaker Ultimate Ears has ever released—by far. It stands over 14-inches tall, weighs a whopping 13 pounds, and loses the brand’s signature cylindrical design for something a lot more angular.

But the dramatic changes pay off in a big way…

Hyperboom review
The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM with an iPhone XS Max for scale. (Photo by Brad Moon)

New Shape Includes New Driver Placement

Ultimate Ears speakers have traditionally been designed in a cylindrical form factor that delivers 360-degree audio. The HYPERBOOM is a departure from that approach. It’s a big box (albeit with rounded edges), concealing a pair of custom 4.5-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters, and two 7.5-inch passive radiators.

Those drivers are positioned so that the optimal listening position is with the speaker facing you edge-on, not flat. The “back” corner (the one with the integrated handle) houses the adaptive EQ microphone. Set up this way, the drivers (which are mounted on the various sides with the radiators facing the back) are able to deliver more expansive sound with an impressively wide soundstage for a single speaker. It’s not the same 360-degree audio other Ultimate ears speakers deliver, but it still delivers a very wide listening sweet spot.

The prominent volume controls will look familiar, but this time they’re on the top of the speaker and they respond to touch. Also on top is a one-touch music control that can play, pause, skip, and even select playlists from streaming music services (via your connected smartphone). This also lets you switch back and forth between two different Bluetooth music sources at the touch of the button. No voice assistant support as this speaker is focused on one thing: pumping out music.

Hyperboom review
The new HYPERBOOM dwarfs the MEGABLAST. (Photo by Brad Moon)

High-Quality Audio With Serious Bass

Ultimate Ears speakers have always excelled at delivering high energy audio with a surprising bass kick. The HYPERBOOM takes this to a new level.

Separate woofers and tweeters instead of full-range drivers give music much more definition. That bass is still there—in fact, it’s more of a thump than a kick—but the high-end sparkles and the bass doesn’t bleed over into the mid-range. I’ve been listening to a range of musical genres and everything from Rush to Led Zeppelin to Depeche Mode, and they all sound fantastic on the HYPERBOOM. It delivers a listening experience that’s more like a mini stereo system than a single portable speaker.

That’s despite the fact that although it offers Bluetooth 5.0 with A2DP, there is no support for high definition codes like AAC or aptX.

The adaptive EQ seemed to do a great job, but if you want to customize the audio, you can using the BOOM mobile app. It lets you choose from three EQ Modes: Bass Boost, Games/Cinema, and Podcast. You can also manually adjust EQ settings.

And you can crank the volume without having the sound fall apart. This speaker has the power to keep any party hopping—indoors or outdoors.

Audio Inputs

Adding to its credibility as more than just a portable speaker, the HYPERBOOM is equipped with audio inputs.

There’s a 3.5mm AUX input. That would be useful if you have a turntable with an integrated pre-amp that lets you output to AUX—which is most consumer turntables these days. It also gets an Optical input for connecting a TV or game console.

It’s not really an input, but the HYPERBOOM also supports Ultimate Ears’ PARTYUP feature. Using the BOOM app, you can wirelessly connect the HYPERBOOM to multiple compatible BOOM speakers for synchronized playback.

Battery Life, Ruggedness, and Portability

The HYPERBOOM is equipped with a high-capacity lithium-ion battery (one reason it weighs so much). It takes over two and a half hours to charge using the supplied power adapter. That gets you up to 24 hours of music at 50% volume, although that number rapidly shrinks as you crank up the volume. A hidden USB-A out port lets you top up your smartphone battery if needed.

I often toss Ultimate Ears speakers in a wading pool as part of my testing. Some of them, like the WONDERBOOM, even float. There will be no pool tests for the HYPERBOOM, though. With the flap covering the ports closed, it’s rated as IPX4 weather resistance, which means it can withstand accidental splashes, but it’s not waterproof. That’s still good enough for surviving a party, though.

Portability continues with the built-in strap. I actually missed this at first glance—it looks like a piece of trim on one edge—but pull it out and you have a sturdy carrying handle.

The speaker seems to be solidly built, but with something this size and weight, I wouldn’t feel great about dropping it.

Hyperboom review
HYPERBOOM pushes the definition of portability, but that size pays off in audio quality and battery life. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Recommendation

Previous Ultimate Ears speakers were ideal for the portable party crowd. The HYPERBOOM pushes the definition of portability a bit, it’s not quite as rugged, and at $399, it’s more expensive than its predecessors.

But the HYPERBOOM delivers some super-sized upgrades. Its mix of woofers, tweeters, and radiators deliver high-quality audio at up to 100 decibels of volume—and that output is optimized through the speaker’s built-in adaptive EQ. Add in its flexibility (connect a TV with the optical input, plug in a turntable on the AUX port, take it outdoors for up to 24 hours, PARTYUP with multiple speakers, even charge your smartphone if needed), and this is one awesome speaker.

Disclosure: Ultimate Ears provided a speaker for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.

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