Price: $349 / £340 / AU$499
Colors: Charcoal black, cotton white
Size: 9.4 x 6.3 x 4.6 inches
Weight: 4.4 pounds
Battery life (rated): 17 hours
Playback range: 180 feet
As the model name suggests, the Ultimate Ears Epicboom — or UE Epicboom — is a Bluetooth speaker that sets out to deliver plenty of bass energy from its mid-sized dimensions. The all-new design gets off to a good start and is bigger than many of the best Bluetooth speakers we've tested.
It has similar proportions to the recently upgraded Sonos Move 2, but the Epicboom lacks the Wi-Fi smarts and Auto Trueplay tuning of the go anywhere Sonos portable. It does have an Outdoor Boost mode though to help make music sound better in the open air. This all adds up to a viable Move 2 portable speaker alternative, and a strong contender for one of the best outdoor speakers.
Priced at $100 less than the Sonos, the Epicboom is also a few pounds lighter than the Sonos (the Epic weighs 4.4 pounds compared to 6.6 for the Move 2). It comes with a more practical carry strap too, has a stronger IP67 durability rating and it even floats, making it a water tight contender for the best waterproof speakers. Add in 17 hours of playtime to keep your music soundtrack playing wherever you go, and the carry anywhere Epicboom looks set to keep up with on-the-go lifestyles.
Find out how it performs in my full Ultimate Ears Epicboom Bluetooth speaker review below.
Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Price and availability
That's $100 less than the Sonos Move 2, but then it's worth saying that the Epicboom doesn't have the Wi-Fi connectivity smarts that the Editor's Choice winning Move 2 has.
Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Design and features
The Epicboom doesn't look like any other UE Bluetooth speaker model we've seen before. I'd describe it as a mid-sized Bluetooth speaker model, and it's clearly aimed at bridging the gap between the company's Megaboom 3 and Hyperboom models.
The Epic feels robustly made and is available in two color options called charcoal black and cotton white. The rugged outer has a cloth speaker grille, while the rubberized base and top plate where the main function controls are located help to protect the speaker from routine knocks and scuffs while on the road.
It's IP67-rated, meaning it can withstand dust, dirt and water submersion for up to 30 minutes. A rubberized cap secures the USB-C charging port at the back to protect it from water ingress.
The all-new Ultimate Ears 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).
As with other UE models the Epicboom can be paired to other Boom speakers using the PartyUp mode in the app for even more power for a get together or pool party.
Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Sound quality
The Epicboom's sound delivery is taken care of by two 1.5 inch mid-high frequency speaker drivers, and one 4.6 inch woofer to handle bass. The sound is nicely balanced across the frequency range and vocals of all kinds sound clean and detailed. Sadly though, bass laden tracks like "Dangerous" by Big Data lack the kind of bass delivery I hoped for given the name of the speaker.
What you do get in terms of bass is nicely detailed and rhythmic though. Maybe my expectations were a bit high as I found myself setting the EQ to try and coax a bit more oomph from the speaker's delivery. Sadly though, the Epicboom wasn't the kind of Bluetooth speaker to make the most of my deep house playlist when listening indoors.
Carrying the Epicboom by its carry strap around the house and out into the yard felt like a more rewarding experience. And with the speaker blasting away at my side as I walked from room to room, I felt enveloped by a sphere of sound. My close proximity to the bass driver delivered a more infectious bass energy than when I was sat listening to it a few meters away from me on a desktop in my home office, making the Epicboom a great carry speaker for a stroll.
Interestingly, I preferred the sound with Outdoor Boost switched off during my outside trials. There was more bass with the mode deselected when I played "Si Te Porta Bonito" by Sofia Kourtesis in my backyard. It's worth noting though, that I couldn't push the volume level up too high though before I heard the sound of the bass speaker being over driven, overshadowing the beat with the onset of mild distortion.
Nevertheless, the Epicboom managed to achieve a decent volume level while outdoors. Music sounded nicely balanced and created a chilled vibe while playing music in the yard during an unexpectedly warm late-September weekend.
Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Battery life
Battery life for the Epicboom claims to deliver up to 17 hours of playtime. Although I haven't managed to deplete the battery just yet, I have no reason to doubt the claim so far. When the time does come though, full recharges take around 3 hours and are via USB-C port. Battery life displayed as a percentage on the Boom app.
In terms of playback times, by comparison the Megaboom 3 lasts 20 hours, whereas the Sonos Move 2 lasts up to 24 hours.
Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Verdict
As a go anywhere Bluetooth speaker, the Ultimate Ears Epicboom has a sophisticated sound that's easy to warm to. I confess, I did have some reservations about the slight lack of punch given my expectations over the model name, but my time with the Epicboom has been enjoyable thanks to its natural sound balance. It doesn't over emphasize any part of the frequency range, and while I wouldn't describe the sound as 'epic', there's plenty to enjoy and warm to.
Moving the speaker around by the carry strap felt entirely practical, but the Epicboom is a bit too bulky for travels much further away from home. When moving around the house with it though, my proximity to the speaker felt like I was getting the better sound experience.
Lastly, while many will be happy with 17 hours of battery life, the premium $349 price feels a bit steep for a Bluetooth given the battery life durability of smarter wireless speaker rivals for just a $100 more. But if it's simplicity and solid Bluetooth functionality you're after, then the Ultimate Ears Epicboom comes highly recommended.