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The UE Epicboom delivers a balance of power and portability

Ultimate Ears fills the mid-sized gap in its lineup with this newest Bluetooth portable.

Photo by Jon Turi / Engadget

It’s been a little while since Ultimate Ears (UE) released an entirely new speaker model and this one slots right into the existing lineup between the Megaboom and the Hyperboom. Continuing with the whimsical hyperbole, this latest model is called the Epicboom and it’s available starting today at the company’s website for $350. Now that it’s here, it seems obvious a speaker was missing from the UE lineup. It pumps out a bit more volume than the Megaboom, but is still more portable than the larger Hyperboom party speaker.

The UE Epicboom is like a double-wide Megaboom in size and shape, and it still provides 360-degree sound. It does seem that the two 1.5-inch mid-high transducers are on the rounded sides with passive radiators along the front and back. This enhances the surround sound vibes if you’re listening to it head-on. Inside, the Epicboom packs a 4.6-inch woofer for a more rounded bass experience down to 50Hz, at least. And just like the Hyperboom, it has an adaptive EQ that supposedly helps provide the best audio output possible for your space.

There’s an outdoor mode available, which seems to drop the low end down a bit in favor of the mid to high end output so it can be heard more clearly at greater distances. The speaker has Bluetooth 5.2 and in keeping with tradition, the speaker claims up to 180 feet in range (in the best line-of-sight conditions possible I assume). The Epicboom definitely has a robust range and worked throughout my apartment without the sound dipping out, which is commendable.

As usual, the speaker is fully waterproof with an IP67 rating. Go ahead and plop it in the pool if you like. It’s a rugged box of beats that will fit into a backpack although it will take up a good deal of space at 6.3 x 4.6 x 9.4-inches and 4.36 pounds. You shouldn’t have to worry about battery life much either, since it's rated for up to 17 hours and there's an LED battery indicator just above the +/- buttons. Unlike the Boom and Megaboom, there’s no charging dock accessory for the Epicboom. It has a single USB-C charging port along the back and no aux inputs.

The UE Epicboom shows off its backside and carry strap while resting on the steps of a stoop.
The UE Epicboom shows off its backside and carry strap while resting on the steps of a stoop. (Photo by Jon Turi / Engadget)

The speaker is slightly chunky and unless you’ve got big mitts, the rounded edges makes it a little bit difficult to grab and hold by hand. There is a carrying strap of course, and if you hate having a loose loop dangling about your device, you’re in luck. This flattened strap uses a small magnet to help keep it in place along the back. It's heavy nylon (like seat belts) and although it has a loop, it takes some fiddling to pull it apart. I found myself just grabbing the strap as it is to haul it around.

NFC, a long lost Ultimate Ears feature, has returned with the Epicboom. It works for users with Android 8.0 or later, but sadly there's no support for iOS. The speaker has multipoint connectivity allowing you to pair up to eight devices and this can help speed up the process immensely. It also helps to future proof the speaker, as aging devices can sometimes be difficult to pair with and NFC is a great backup plan.

The UE Epicboom's top control panel in detail.
The UE Epicboom's top control panel in detail. (Photo by Jon Turi / Engadget)

You can use the PartyUp feature in the Boom app (which gets an update today) to play music on the Epicboom plus any other Hyperboom, Megaboom and Boom models nearby. There are also a variety of pre-set EQs including Signature, Bass Boost, Game/Cinema, Podcast/Vocal, and a new Deep Relaxation mode. I didn't get a chance to test the new app experience yet, so I can't provide any more details in that regard.

If you’re an Ultimate Ears fan and want to upgrade your output, but still have a speaker that’s relatively easy to bring along when you’re out and about, the Epicboom could be right for you. It seems to have a more spacious sound than the Megaboom models and its audio output definitely covers some ground for a device this size. It’s not quite the powerhouse party output of the Hyperboom, but it's a decent upgrade from the Megaboom 3. People in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions can order the $350 UE Epicboom starting today on the company's website and other retailers will begin selling the product on September 22nd.

Product Specifications

  • Size: 6.3 inch (L) x 4.6 inch (W) x 9.4 inch (H)

  • Weight: 4.36 lbs / 1.98 kg

  • Bluetooth version: 5.2

  • Bluetooth range: 180 ft / 55 meters

  • Battery life: Up to 17 hours

  • Charge time: < 3 hours (with 5V/0.5A or more than 0.5A adapter)

  • Drivers: Two 1.5-inch active mid-high frequency transducers and one 4.6-inch woofer

  • Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 94 dBC(normal) and 95 dBC (outdoor)

  • Frequency range: 50Hz to 20kHz

  • Rating: IP67

  • Sustainability factors: 100% post-consumer polyester fabric mesh, 59% post-consumer recycled plastic