Sonos Move 2 vs. Ultimate Ears Epicboom: Which is the best portable speaker?

As our best Bluetooth speakers buying guide shows, smart home speakers are now coming with popular short range Bluetooth wireless connectivity capabilities. But when I'm cleaning up the yard, picnicking in the park, hanging out at the beach or relaxing by a pool, I want a portable speaker that's versatile enough to fit in with my activity and durable enough to play all day.

As chance (or design) would have it, we recently saw two new portable Bluetooth speakers unveiled by rival makers at the exact same time. Both the Sonos Move 2 and the Ultimate Ears Epicboom got announced on September 6, 2023, and after a few weeks of standalone tests, it's time to put these two portable speakers head-to-head. Which is the best model for taking out into the yard or on a road trip?

Both models offer strong durability for a life on the move but come with very different features, and any buying decision will come down to individual needs. But with a $100 difference between these two new portable Bluetooth speakers, price may also play a part. 

Read on to find out how two of the best outdoor speakers compare and which is the best value for your needs.

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Specs compared

Sonos Move 2 vs. Ultimate Ears Epicboom

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
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Header Cell - Column 0 Sonos Move 2Ultimate Ears Epicboom
Price$449 / £449 / AU$799$349 / £340 / AU$499
WirelessWi-Fi, BluetoothBluetooth
Battery life (rated)24 hours17 hours
Size9.4 x 6.3 x 4.9 inches9.4 x 6.3 x 4.6 inches
Weight6.6 pounds4.4 pounds
ColorsBlack, white, oliveCharcoal black, cotton white

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Price and availability

Ultimate Ears Epicboom listing image in garden

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There's a $100 price difference between these two portable speakers. The Sonos Move 2 is available now from the Sonos Store and costs $449 / £449 / €499 / AU$799, which is $50 more than the original Sonos Move debuted in 2019. It's available in black, white color options immediately, while a new olive colorway will ship in November.

The Epicboom is priced at $349 / £340 / $499 and available in black and white color options only — both the maker's Megaboom 3 and Wonderboom 3 portable speaker model come in a wider choice of color options. It's available from the Ultimate Ears website and also from online retailers including Amazon and Best Buy. That's $100 less than the Sonos Move 2, but it's worth saying here that the Epicboom doesn't have the Wi-Fi connectivity and strong smart features of the Move 2.

Even with the Wi-Fi smarts making it the more versatile model, the Sonos Move 2's higher price feels a bit steep — it's $200 more expensive than the Sonos Era 100 home speaker. If it's portable Bluetooth that's most important to you, the Ultimate Ears Epicboom is the more affordable model.   

Winner: Ultimate Ears Epicboom   

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Design

Sonos Move 2

You're unlikely to be able to tell the Sonos Move 2 apart from the original Move at just a glance, but the design has a more sophisticated home speaker feel compared to the rugged design of the Ultimate Ears Epicboom.

Both portable speakers have similar dimensions, but the Sonos is a good deal heavier. There's a useful finger recess at the back that's handy for moving it around the house, but the higher weight means you won't want to carry it far. It has an IP56-rating for dust and waterproofing, which means it can be roughed around a bit, but it's unlikely to survive a day at the beach or a damp night left outside.

The UE Epicboom on the other hand is two pounds lighter and has a carry strap. It's also better protected with a IP67-rating, protecting it from water splashes and short-time submersion. It's one of the most robust models I've encountered and a contender for one of the best waterproof speakers. There's even a rubberized control panel on the top and a protection cap for the USB-C charging port at the back of the speaker. 

In terms of portability and the most durable design, the Ultimate Ears Epicboom is the more practical model for life on the move.     

Winner: Ultimate Ears Epicboom

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Controls

Ultimate Ears Epicboom showing main control panel

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Sonos Move 2 has all the connectivity smarts that come with integrating any Sonos speaker. When you’re home, you can control the Sonos Move as you would any other in its ecosystem via the sophisticated Sonos S2 control app. Then, when you’re away from your network, Bluetooth picks up where you left off. Additionally, the Move 2 has the same capacitive volume slider and touch controls on top identical to the Sonos Era 100 and Sonos Era 300 home speakers.

In addition to physical controls on the speaker and in the Sonos app, the Sonos Move 2 can be controlled via voice assistant. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa and Sonos Voice Assistant. 

Meanwhile, the Epicboom has basic push controls to establish Bluetooth connectivity and play/pause on the top surface. Volume level controls are the large +/- buttons on the front. The Boom control app enables users to adjust EQ settings with 5 presets plus a user set option to enable listeners to adjust the 360-degree sound to their particular taste. 

The app also enables users to save favorite music to a button on the Epic's main control panel. The preset can accommodate up to four playlists or albums that users can cycle through to select. It can only be used with three of the best music streaming services though, including Amazon Music, Apple Music (iOS only), and Spotify (Android devices only). There's no voice control available on the Ultimate Ears Epicboom. 

Winner: Sonos Move 2

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Sound quality

Sonos Move 2 on a kitchen worksurface

(Image credit: Sonos)

Ultimately, it's the Sonos Move 2 that has the bigger sound. The balance matches the Sonos Era 100 with top-notch performance across the board with great vocal clarity even when the speaker is turned up to a high level. There's plenty of rhythmic depth and more midrange clarity than you'd expect from a portable speaker. The Sonos Move 2 has plenty of conviction in delivering a dynamic audio experience. 

At least some of that is thanks to Auto Trueplay, which makes spatial adjustments automatically. Outdoors the speaker managed to make up for lack of reflection points and produce a balanced sound with plenty of energy.

By comparison the Ultimate Ears Epicboom isn't quite as richly balanced. Vocals of all kinds sound clean and detailed, but bass heavy tracks lack the kind of delivery to match the sophisticated sound the Sonos Move 2 manages. What you do get in terms of bass is nicely detailed and rhythmic though.

Carrying the Epicboom by its carry strap around the house and out into the yard felt like a more rewarding experience, making it a great carry speaker for a stroll. Interestingly, I preferred the sound with Outdoor Boost switched off during my outside trials. 

Winner: Sonos Move 2

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Battery life

Ultimate Ears Epicboom PR image on showing speakers in black and white versions by a pool

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

In terms of playback times, the Sonos Move 2 lasts up to 24 hours, whereas battery life for the Epicboom claims to deliver up to 17 hours of playtime. 

The Ultimate Ears has a USB-C charging port at the back, while the Sonos Move 2 uses a charging base giving it a dedicated spot to sit and recharge at home. 

Full recharges on the Ultimate Ears Epicboom take around 3 hours and battery life is displayed as a percentage on the Boom app. Battery life is displayed under the system tab on the Sonos S2 control app.

Winner: Sonos Move 2

Sonos Move 2 vs. UE Epicboom: Verdict

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Header Cell - Column 0 Sonos Move 2Ultimate Ears Epicboom
Price and value (10)89
Design (20)1517
Connectivity (15)1512
Controls (15) 1513
Sound quality (25)2015
Battery life (15)1512
Total score (100)8878

Despite the higher price, the extra flexibility and top-notch performance make the Sonos Move 2 the ultimate portable speaker overall. Although it's not exactly a take-anywhere speaker due its weight, it's an ideal model for those looking to integrate a portable speaker at home with an existing Sonos ecosystem — or a strong building block to start from — that you can easily take out to the yard.

If you're after a portable speaker with a little less sophistication for adventure trips then the Ultimate Ears Epicboom is a great choice. It offers strong durability to endure trips to the beach, pool parties, or even taken into the shower, and is a practical Bluetooth speaker solution that plenty will warm to.

Winner: Sonos Move 2

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Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.