Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The “Ultimate” Grad & Dad Gift – Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Bluetooth Speaker Review

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It’s that time of year again. Summer is right around the corner. School is wrapping up or, for those lucky kids, is already out. And Father’s Day…you can’t forget about those dads and father figures in your life, right? Well if you are scrambling to figure out a grad or dad gift, I’ve got a recommendation for you. Pick up an Ultimate Ears WonderBoom portable Bluetooth speaker from Verizon. Actually, you may want to pick up TWO of them…I’ll explain why shortly. (*Disclosure below.)

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers review - in the box

It’s always a dilemma, trying to figure out that perfect gift for a graduation kid or for a dad. And what really qualifies as a graduation? It could be from a specific grade, or from elementary, middle, high school, or college. Successfully completing a school year is an accomplishment. My youngest daughter is going to be a freshman in high school, and my middle daughter is “graduating” from being an underclass person to a junior. These are significant milestones to recognize.

And then, of course, there are those dads and father figures that “officially” get recognized once a year on Father’s Day. We deserve a little recognition once and a while, right?

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Well, this is where the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom portable Bluetooth speaker fits in perfectly. (Which, by the way, is current 30% off on the Verizon website as of this writing…just in time for graduation, Father’s Day, and summer in general.) It’s an excellent little speaker with sound that performs even despite its small size. But it has some other cool features as well which I tested it this weekend by my pool as the temperatures hit 100 degrees.

About the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Speaker

For starters, I was impressed by the WonderBoom’s compact size. It’s about the size of a softball, but it’s cylindrical. It’s about 4” high and has a 3.68” diameter. It weighs about 13.7 ounces so you can easily throw it into a backpack or purse. And there is a little loop attached to the top so you can attach it to a carabiner and simply hang it somewhere.Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers review - top buttons

On the top are three buttons, two that are obvious, and one a bit less so. On top, there is the power button which looks like a dash, and there is the pairing button that looks like a circle. Both of these two buttons are backlit.

And then there is a sort of “hidden” button that is basically in the center of the top. To activate it, you press the Ultimate Ears logo. This button on the top plays or pauses the streaming music. And if you double-click it, it will skip to the next music track. This button is also used if you have two WonderBoom speakers as well. More about that in a second.

On the side of the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom speakers are some huge plus and minus buttons. These are relatively obvious in terms of what they do – raise and lower the volume. You can also use the volume control on your smartphone or tablet to control the volume output.

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In the back of the WonderBoom is a rubber flap that covers the micro-USB port. This port is used to recharge the WonderBoom speaker. I charged the WonderBoom to being fully charged from nothing in about 2 hours or so. And the playback supposedly lasts about 10 hours. The playback time does depend on the type of music you are listening to as well as the volume level you have the speaker set at. A higher volume of music with a lot of bass will drain the battery faster than lower volume of voice-only audio, for example.

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom portable Bluetooth speaker has an IPX7 rating. This means that it is definitely splash, dust, and rain-proof and it can supposedly handle water up to 1 meter in depth for about 30 minutes. But if you want to maintain the water integrity of the system, I would recommend not floating it around a pool or immersing it for very long. Better to keep it along the edge of the water.

To pair the WonderBoom with your smartphone, you first need to power it on. Press and hold the power button until you hear the tones. If this is the first time you are powering it on, it will automatically go into Bluetooth pairing mode. If it has connected to a device before, it will try to connect to that device. If you need to pair (or re-pair) it to your phone, just press and hold the Bluetooth button (the circular one on the top). Then, on your smartphone, look for “WONDERBOOM” and select that. Also, if the WonderBoom does not detect any streaming activity, after 15 minutes, it will power itself down to save the battery.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers review - by the pool

In my testing, I was quite impressed with the sound quality, bass, and sound coming from this small speaker. It’s definitely loud enough at high volumes to make teens happy around a loud pool or at the beach. And it seemed to be pretty distortion-free. The range was fairly decent. If you go beyond about 100 feet of direct line-of-site, you may get some drop-outs. I recommend keeping the connected smartphone about 25 feet away for best performance.

Now for one of the coolest features. If you have two WonderBooms, you can pair them together for a more immersive experience. While it doesn’t provide stereo playback, it does extend the sound immersion quite well. In my tests, I put one speaker at either end of my pool so that music could be heard anywhere people were swimming. This is where that top button comes in to play.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers review - in the box open

This takes a little bit of practice the first couple of times, but with both speakers on, you press and hold the top button simultaneously for a few seconds until you hear some pairing tones. Doing this process with the speakers side-by-side is helpful. They should, theoretically, easily pair. I found that you have to sometimes do this a couple of times to ensure that they are paired, and I also noticed that you had to sometimes connect with the other WonderBoom via Bluetooth to get them both streaming together. With some practice, it becomes easier.

Once you pair two WonderBooms together, the fun begins! You can place them fairly far apart (again, don’t go much further than 100 feet or the connection will drop). I believe the way this works is that your music is streamed from your smartphone to one speaker and then that speaker then broadcasts to the other speaker. So, you may encounter a tiny bit of delay between the speakers. This can actually add a pretty cool “live” effect of almost being surround sound. At one point, the delay got a bit too much (like a second), so all that I did to correct was hit pause and then play and then the audio was seamlessly synched up again.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers review - speakers

I highly recommend getting two Ultimate Ear WonderBooms for this ability to pair. And since they are currently 30% off at Verizon, it’s an even better deal! The retail price is $99.99, but they are $69.99 currently with Verizon. And, of course, you can use each of them separately. Oh, and you can have two devices paired with each speaker to be able to share the DJ control.

The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom portable Bluetooth speaker is an essential for any dad or grad…actually, for just about anyone. It’s lightweight design and amazing sound (for such a small speaker) makes anyone happy. Drop, dust, and water resistance makes it a no-brainer to throw into a bag for short or long trips. So there you have it – check that gift off of your shopping list!

Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of this product from Verizon Wireless for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.

HTD says: Playing back music from your portable device is always a slam dunk when it comes to social activities. But having a way to play it back from a small, portable, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that has good bass and crisp highs is even better. The Ultimate Ears WonderBoom Bluetooth speaker brings the audio party with you!

HighTechDad Ratings

  • Ease-of-Use

  • Family-Friendly

  • Price Point

  • Features



The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom portable Bluetooth speaker is an essential for any group that wants to bring streaming music on the go. This small form-factor Bluetooth speaker has a surprisingly nice sound and strong bass. It is IPX7 rated which means it is shock, dust, and splash-proof, making it ideal for pools, beaches, camping, and generally on the go. It’s lightweight as well making it easy to throw into a bag. With 10 hours playback, that is enough for a fully day outing. And with two Wonderbooms, you can stream music simultaneously to provide a surround sound-like environment. It normally retails for $99.99 but is currently (as of this writing) 30% off on the Verizon Wireless site which makes it a great bargain. Perfect gift for Grads and Dads, or just giving yourself the ability to bring the music anywhere you go.


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