A great speaker for the great outdoors: Ultimate Ears Everboom review

Does the new speaker from Ultimate Ears set the standard for portability and power?

from Ultimate Ears
RRP  £249.99
Ultimate Ears Everboom outside in front of grass and rock

by David Ker |
Updated on

Ultimate Ears and quality speaker fans – listen up. The brand which began life in a Van Halen tour bus has updated its speaker range and thrown a new model in for good measure. The Everboom promises listeners the 360-degree sound synonymous with the Boom family, in a robust unit designed for adventure.

Waterproof, dust-proof, and floatable, Everboom owners are encouraged to drop it in a bag (or attach, using the provided carabiner) and take it with them wherever they go. Small enough to carry one-handed, weighing only 960g and boasting a wireless range of 55 metres, this is well within the realms of possibility. Plus, with a battery life of 20 hours, you shouldn’t be left lugging a silent speaker about on your travels.

Proudly sporting Ultimate Ears' (possibly divisive) signature look, the Everboom puts its volume controls front and centre. Buttons for power, Bluetooth, outdoor boost, and play/pause/skip sit up top, as well as an NFC sensing tag. A USB-C charging port is located towards the base of the charcoal black 90db unit (also available in aqua, exclusively to John Lewis).

Like the Boom, Megaboom, Epicboom and Hyperboom before it, the Everboom can be controlled via the UE Boom app – which now includes 'megaphone'. This feature allows the user's voice to project through the speaker via their phone’s mic.

With this new entry to the speaker market, Ultimate Ears (which was acquired by Logitech in 2008) is seeking to challenge the likes of the JBL Charge 5 and other Bluetooth speakers which offer powerful sound alongside portability. How does it fare? What's The Best has put it to the test.

Expert rating:
4.0
Ultimate Ears EverboomUltimate Ears

Ultimate Ears' newest speaker.

Pros

  • Immersive 360-degree sound
  • Substantial power in a tactile, portable unit
  • User-friendly and robust
  • Quick to charge and long battery life

Cons

  • Residual noise post-pause
  • Design and colourways will not be for all
  • Sound
    4.0
  • Usability
    4.5
  • Value for money
    3.5
  • Overall
    4.0
DriversTwo 2.23 x 2.21in (56.6x 56.2 mm) active full range transducers and two 49.4x87mm passive radiators
Audio power84 dBC (normal) and 85dBC (outdoor) in the anechoic chamber 3
ConnectivityFor audio playback: smartphones, tablets and other devices that support Bluetooth
Battery life20 hours
Charging timeApproximately one and a half hours
WaterproofYes
Dimensions110mm (L) x 85mm (W) x 205mm (H)
Weight960g
IP ratingIP67

A safe bet

Ultimate-Ears-Everboom-speaker-in-bookcase-with-book-and-records-and-attached-to-backpack-outside-using-caribiner
Fab for the fleet of foot ©David Ker/WTB, Ultimate Ears

One of my worries when spending on tech is the risk that I pose to my new gadget. Intrepid, fallible, clumsy – however critically I choose to label myself, the fact remains that once a piece of kit is out of its box it's at the mercy of me and the elements.

The Everboom does a fantastic job at quelling those concerns. Robust and resilient, it can take a tumble and remain unscathed. In this respect it follows in the footsteps of its Boom forebears, all current versions of which have an IP67 rating (a measure of dust and water resistance). Not only that, but should it fall in the drink it'll happily bob there for up to four hours or stay a metre deep for 30 minutes. And, in the unlikely event that it does stop working, it's covered by a two-year warranty.

Back to nature

This is all indicative of the pitch which Ultimate Ears is making with its most-recent offering: buy this if you want a speaker to take into the great outdoors. Indeed, this accounts for the choice of name – whatever, wherever, whenever, is the claim. In shape it closely resembles the Epicboom, if on a smaller scale. Again, this is with portability in mind. It stands about the height of an average paperback and is light enough to carry with ease, helped by its rounded sides.

Ultimate Ears Everboom Speaker Caribiner and charging cable
The Everboom comes with a carabiner and usb-c cable but no charger ©David Ker/WTB

Packed with the speaker you'll find a carabiner and a USB-C to USB-C charging cable. There is no mains charger, and the amount of packaging is not excessive. Both decisions which serve to lessen environmental impact. Attempts have been made here too with the Everboom itself which is made from a minimum of 58 per cent post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, to give a second life to end-of-use plastic from old consumer electronics. The tactile fabric exterior is 100 per cent PCR.

It took approximately one and a half hours to charge to full power using my own power adapter, after which it was time to try it out.

Sound it out

As with any speaker, the more you listen to it and your ears acclimatise the less remarkable it can become. But I can say, as someone who listens to music constantly but usually via my phone, that I was impressed with the Everboom's sound.

The set-up was easy. For any Android 8.0 or later users it should be extremely simple thanks to the one-touch NFC (near-field communication) feature, but even when pairing to an iPhone via Bluetooth it was straightforward and intuitive. I was also automatically prompted to download the UE app, which saved any additional searching. From there I queued up Take Me to the Pilot by Elton John and got to listening.

Ultimate-Ears-Everboom-speaker-outside-in-sunshine-among-flowers
Everboom in bloom ©David Ker/WTB

Ok, boomer?

There is a pleasing clarity to the output, with vocals sounding crisp and instrumental elements really shining. This is aided by the 360-degree design, a stand-out feature of the entire Boom range which ensures you hear the same sound regardless of which direction the speaker is facing. I was able to ramp up the volume with ease and songs travelled well.

Equaliser presets chosen via the app (Signature, Bass Boost, Cramped Spaces, Deep Relaxation) allowed me to pick according to song and personal preference. There's also a Podcast/Vocal setting for your favourite talk-based audio. As one would hope, there’s a discernible difference with each type, and while I didn’t always go to the bother of switching back and forth, it's good to know that the option's there. The same can be said for the customisable EQ, through which you can dictate the emphasis on bass, mid and treble.

Ultimate-Ears-Everboom-speaker-boxed-out-of-box-showing-top-buttons-and-in-shade-of-tree
©David Ker/WTB

In the event of a larger gathering there's the ability to link with other Booms, a whopping 150 in fact (excluding Wonderbooms), an aspect which is again easily managed via the app. The 'megaphone' feature is a boon when it comes to big events (or if you love the sound of your own voice), allowing you to make announcements through the speaker using your phone. For a potentially more solitary experience, you can also use the app to put a pair of speakers in stereo mode and create a more retro music moment.

Other features include the 'magic button' which allows you to play, pause and skip audio, as well as starting up a saved playlist (though only via Amazon Music or Apple Music, currently). All of this means you don't necessarily need to use your phone at all to get the Everboom booming.

The 'outdoor boost' button, as the name suggests, is designed for outside where sound quality is likely to be compromised. Pressing this will increase the output from 90 to 91 decibels and focus the power on the frequencies which you are more likely to hear in an open-air setting.

Any downsides?

A button dedicated to improving outdoor sound is a nod to the idea that the Everboom will be regularly out and about with you. But how likely is this?

Ultimate Ears Everboom with two women on boat
Could this be you? ©Ultimate Ears

Official images of the speaker see it on a boat, by the beach or hanging from a backpack in a forest – always bathed in sunshine. You'd be forgiven for thinking: if only. Despite what the makers may have in mind, it's likely that the speaker is going to spend much of its life indoors unless you're constantly backpacking. And due to its size, it's possible that it will spend some time on display. Whether this is a cause for concern is a matter of personal taste.

Lots of speakers designed for outdoor use have a bold aesthetic which might sit uneasily in a domestic setting (see the Anker Soundcore Boom 2 or the JBL Clip 4), and the Everboom is no different. Specks of lime appear across the black top and base, but it's the volume controls which are the most prominent element – both in colour and size. For an item which may appear on a cabinet or bookcase, you may prefer it to be less conspicuous or have more of a vintage feel. Like something by Sonos or Marshall, for instance.

When it comes to sound, if you favour clarity over bass and aren't going to be listening to music in a group, then a pair of quality headphones is, in all likelihood, going to be more appropriate. If a speaker is still your preferred piece of kit, you should bear in mind that I did hear some residual, unidentifiable noise after pausing a track or between one song and another when using the Everboom. While only evident at close quarters, it was still loud enough to be noticed.

Price and competition

Ultimate Ears has drawn a comparison between the Everboom and the Charge 5, arguing that its product will outperform the JBL alternative. It's an interesting stall to set out given that there's £70 separating the two speakers (not accounting for the JBL Charge 5 discounts which come with a 2021 release date).

A closer comparison in respect of cost would be the Marshall Acton or Marshall Middleton, or the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore. There are design similarities with this latter option given the ‘omnidirectional’ speaker. This element is partially present in the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ II, a unit which is also comparable to the Everboom when it comes to price, size and some features (but not in charging time, where the Ultimate Ears speaker is far superior).

And, of course, there are several options which come in way below that price point including some very decent Bluetooth speakers for under £100, like the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2.

Who is it for?

The Ultimate Ears Everboom is a powerful speaker which retains a degree of portability and resilience which is not common in tech of its size.

The team behind it have succeeded in building something which looks like it's ready for anything, and testing indicates it can deliver on that promise. As well as its durability when it comes to water, dirt and drops, it also capably maintains a Bluetooth connection and can hold its power. Over the course of a week, using it on and off, the battery only depleted by half.

All of this is consistent with its 'built for adventure' message and means it earns its place among the best speakers for the outdoors.

Ultimate-Ears-Everboom-black-and-blue-models-on-greenery-and-in-water-with-man-swimming
Built for adventure ©Ultimate Ears

Would we recommend it?

Rugged, portable, quick to charge and easy to use, there’s a lot to be said for the Everboom.

I appreciated the balanced and exciting sound (reservations about residual noise aside) and found the improved Boom app to be an invaluable tool. The megaphone mode is a particularly fun touch, while an alarm function for waking up to your favourite tunes is welcome.

Its distinct appearance is astute branding and is likely to turn heads. Whether that's desirable is another question. That said, this design is partly informed by the 360-degree sound, a feature which is a real asset. In addition, an oval rather than cylindrical shape creates more surface area through which to blast bassier songs, while still appearing compact – a neat trick. Plus, the absence of a bulky, static handle (surprisingly common on speakers with similar specs) is a definite advantage when it comes to saving space.

Ultimate Ears Everboom speaker. Front, back and volume control button
The outer fabric is, aptly, a bit like a wet suit ©David Ker/WTB

With each addition to their range, it appears that the team at Ultimate Ears further identify the factors which deter and entice music lovers. They clearly feel they've struck on something with the Epicboom's design and power but recognise it doesn't offer the portability and battery life of something like the Megaboom. With the Everboom they'll be hoping to have landed upon the Goldilocks option and, in the process, persuade those who mirror the fairytale character's sense of adventure to part with their cash.

Expert rating:
4.0
Ultimate Ears EverboomUltimate Ears

Ultimate Ears' newest speaker.

Pros

  • Immersive 360-degree sound
  • Substantial power in a tactile, portable unit
  • User-friendly and robust
  • Quick to charge and long battery life

Cons

  • Residual noise post-pause
  • Design and colourways will not be for all
  • Sound
    4.0
  • Usability
    4.5
  • Value for money
    3.5
  • Overall
    4.0
DriversTwo 2.23 x 2.21in (56.6x 56.2 mm) active full range transducers and two 49.4x87mm passive radiators
Audio power84 dBC (normal) and 85dBC (outdoor) in the anechoic chamber 3
ConnectivityFor audio playback: smartphones, tablets and other devices that support Bluetooth
Battery life20 hours
Charging timeApproximately one and a half hours
WaterproofYes
Dimensions110mm (L) x 85mm (W) x 205mm (H)
Weight960g
IP ratingIP67

Other items to consider

Ultimate Ears MegaboomUltimate Ears

Another option from Ultimate Ears is the Megaboom. While not as powerful as the Everboom it can match it when it comes to most other features (including an IP67 rating and 20 hour battery life) and undercuts its RRP by £80.

Pros

  • 360-degree sound
  • 20 hour battery life
  • Tough

Cons

  • Not as powerful as the Everboom

Half the weight of the Everboom, this option from Sonos is compact, resilient and sleek.

Harvey Isitt breaks down all things Sonos in our ultimate buying guide.

Pros

  • IP67 rating
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Voice control

Cons

  • No Google Assistant support
  • Not likely to impress as a standalone home speaker
Dimensions168 x 62 x 60 mm
Weight0.43kg
ConnectionsWi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, Apple AirPlay 2
Battery life10 hours
WaterproofingIP67
Available coloursBlack – White – Red <strong>–</strong> Blue – Green
Additional featuresTrueplay, Button controls, Voice enabled

Marshall Middleton Bluetooth Wireless Portable SpeakerMarshall
Price: $299.99
Alternative retailers
Best Buy$299.99View offer
Bloomingdale's$299.99View offer
Newegg$299.99View offer

As previously alluded to, the Marshall Middleton is a modern speaker in a classic package.

What's The Best's Will Lobley has given it a glowing review.

Pros

  • Excellent, expansive sound
  • Robust build and battery life
  • Timeless design

Cons

  • Too heavy to be super portable
Drivers2x 3” 15W woofers, 2x 3/5” 10W tweeters, 2x passive radiators
ConnectionsBluetooth 5.1, Aux-in
ChargeUSB-C
Battery20+ hours
Weight1.8kg
Size109 x 230 x 95 mm
IP ratingIP67

Who tested the Everboom?

David Ker, Deputy Editor at What's The Best, tested the Everboom.

He did so over a couple of weeks, judging it against the promises of the manufacturer as well as how it fared against comparable rival products. He focussed on sound, ease of use and functionality.

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David Ker is a journalist with a decade's experience in print and digital publishing. He appreciates technology made with its environmental impact in mind and which presents him a further means to pursue his love of music, reading, games, TV and film. Above all, with so many options out there, he's interested in products that display something out of the ordinary and offer value for money. Hard to please, he assures What's The Best readers that he'll be a discerning critic on their behalf.

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