UE Mini Boom Bluetooth speaker review

Probably the best Bluetooth speaker you could buy for less than $100

Logitech Mini Boom
  • Logitech Mini Boom
  • Logitech Mini Boom
  • Logitech Mini Boom
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Great volume
  • Good looking
  • NFC enabled
  • Modular capabilities

Cons

  • Volume comes at the expense of clarity

Bottom Line

The UE Mini Boom isn’t meant to be shackled to a corner of a home. This is a speaker made for on the go use, where outside noises will naturally pervert the experience. Volume here is paramount, and the UE Mini Boom manages to cram a whole lot of good sound into a tiny, portable and attractive case that you will want to take with you.

Would you buy this?

Ultimate Ears' (UE) Mini Boom produces voluminous sound from a good looking, highly functional and portable body. Two speakers can be paired to form a modular stereo image, and the inclusion of NFC takes the fuss out of Bluetooth pairing.

Design

UE has absolutely nailed the look and feel of the Mini Boom. We’re hard pressed to find a person in the office who doesn’t think the little speaker is attractive.

It has a simple design philosophy and trades in sharp corners for friendly curves. Three large buttons are on top: volume up, a pairing button, and volume down. The only other button is found on the back — adjacent to a microUSB charging port and 3.5mm auxiliary input — and it is a slide toggle that turns on the device.

Apart from the two metallic grilles found on the front and back, the UE Mini Boom is coated in a pleasing rubber that gives it traction. Buttons and UE logos are embossed in the material and give the small speaker a slick look to match its premium feel.

Pairing

The UE Mini Boom uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly play music to compatible smartphones, tablets, notebooks and PCs. Pairing involves the familiar process of hitting a clearly labelled “Bluetooth” button on the UE Mini Boom and then locating the speaker under the Bluetooth menu of your tablet or smartphone.

Beneath the metallic grille are two 1.5in drivers and a 3in-by-1.5in passive radiator
Beneath the metallic grille are two 1.5in drivers and a 3in-by-1.5in passive radiator

This tiny speaker produces sound at astounding volumes

This process is easy enough, but now the UE Mini Boom joins a new generation of devices that have streamlined the process with the use of NFC technology.

NFC technology allows devices to easily establish a connection by tapping them together. The technology has been in some Android smartphones for years, such as the two-year-old Samsung Galaxy S3. Pairing a compatible NFC Android device is as easy as making sure bluetooth is on and tapping it against the top panel of the UE Mini Boom.

The UE Mini Boom has enough memory to store eight devices; two of which can playback music one after the other. We really value this functionality because it means two people can play tracks from their smartphones without having to unpair and re-pair each device.

Phone calls, really?

The UE Mini Boom is equipped with a microphone and can be used as a Bluetooth speaker for phone calls. Sound quality on both sides is plausible, but we wouldn’t recommend buying a UE Mini Boom if you plan to use it for this function primarily. Having the option to hold a phone call over the UE Mini Boom is just a welcomed perk.

Stereo image

Read more: Braven releases bluetooth speaker forged from aircraft grade aluminium

Two Mini Boom speakers can be paired together to create a stereo speaker system. UE's application will have to be downloaded from either Google’s Play store or Apple’s App store, and although we didn’t have a secondary speaker to test this feature, the simplistic application gives us the inkling it wouldn’t be hard to set up.

The application communicates speaker information and controls some of its settings
The application communicates speaker information and controls some of its settings

Loud sound

UE isn’t kidding with the “Mini Boom” moniker. There’s reason behind the oxymoronic label, and that’s because this tiny little speaker produces sound at astounding volumes.

Up the volume to ‘max’ and the speaker will comfortably fill mid-sized rooms. We actually preferred using the UE Mini Boom when it was placed in adjoining rooms, its Boom-ing audio skillfully filling the background.

This is a speaker made for on-the-go use

Tracks like The Shadow and the Dancer by The Fray sounded best in this set up. The wailing vocals were crisp and well defined for a speaker in its category. Then when the symbols clashed and the drums kicked in, well, it was good enough to make us sing along.

BUT if you pop the speaker on the table next to you, or anywhere thereabouts, you’ll notice tiny perversions detract from the experience. There’s the subtle haze that is obvious in a Bluetooth streaming device which doesn’t have audio compression technology. The hiss isn’t as bad as the cluttered soundstage, which is why the UE Mini Boom is best from afar.

Read more: B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker

We played music continuously on the UE Mini Boom for hours — seven in fact, before the battery died — and whether we were playing Californication by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Lose Yourself by Eminem, or Saltwater by Chicane, the result was always the same. And it is a result we’re fine with.

The UE Mini Boom can be used while it is being charged
The UE Mini Boom can be used while it is being charged

Final thought

The UE Mini Boom isn’t meant to be shackled to a corner of a home. This is a speaker made for on the go use, where outside noises will naturally pervert the experience. Volume here is paramount, and the UE Mini Boom manages to cram a whole lot of good sound into a tiny, portable and attractive case that you will want to take with you.

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