Ultimate Ears' Boom is the best all around portable Bluetooth speaker you can buy. With the new Megaboom speaker announced just now at CES, UE takes that superb design and makes it bigger, tougher and, perhaps, even better.
The UE Megaboom looks exactly like a much lager version of the original Boom speaker. Here's an image that'll give you a sense for its size (yes, the beer was drunk):
It features a similar 360-degree sound design to the older model, except it's obviously much louder. Using the companion app for iOS and Android, you can pair the speaker with another Megaboom, or regular little Boom, for either a dual mono setup or a stereo configuration. The first might be useful for keeping one on in your living room and your kitchen, the other for more traditional stereo in your living room.
The Megaboom is tougher than the Boom, too: it's now rated IPX7, which means it's not just rugged, but also waterproof, so it can survive under one metre of water for 30 minutes. And though we're technically talking about a larger speaker, the Megaboom weighs a very reasonable 771 grams.
It has a 20-hour rechargeable battery, which importantly, charges using a standard USB cable, even straight out of a computer. That's important because too often I find that nice portable speakers lose some of their utility with proprietary chargers that aren't exactly ubiquitous.
As for price, in the UK it will cost £249.99, which seems a little steep for a Bluetooth speaker to us. But Ultimate Ears has really crammed a lot of value and good design into the thing for that price, which could just make it worthwhile.
Photos by Nick Stango