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Portable Bluetooth speakers are selling like hotcakes in the Indian market. The particular audio product category has gradually become quite popular in the last two or three years, especially in tier II and tier III cities where smartphone penetration has increased exponentially. Resultant, the huge demand has forced big and small technology brands to come up with affordable yet performance-driven wireless audio products. The market now offers a variety of wireless audio speakers in every price segment. Some well-known brands that are actively selling wireless Bluetooth speakers in India are JBL, Sony, Bose, Intex, Xiaomi, etc.
Ultimate Ears, a sub brand of Logitech also offers some very powerful Bluetooth speakers in India. The company has recently upgraded its last year's Wonderboom portable speakers lineup, which impressed us with its audio performance and durable build quality.
UE Wonderboom Freestyle Collection
UE has now introduced the Wonderboom audio speaker in five colorful additions. The new range comes in Concrete, Avocado, Patches, Raspberry and Unicorn color variants and has been renamed as- Wonderboom Freestyle Collection. The Freestyle Collection is available at Croma along with other leading retail stores across India starting for a retail price of Rs. 6,995. We also found the product selling at Rs. 6,490 at Amazon.in. The device comes with a two-year limited hardware warranty.
Ultimate Ears shared the 'Patches' color edition of Wonderboom Freestyle with us, which as per UE represents the shades of denim we wear in everyday life. I took the portable speaker on a recent trip to hills because why not when the company promises that the portable speaker is loud, shock, dust and even waterproof. To my surprise, the portable speaker turned out to be a very good travel companion and punches more than its weight and size.
Solid audio delivery, even in open spaces
The pint-sized Bluetooth speaker connects to your phone via Bluetooth and gets surprisingly loud for its size. The portable speaker is backed by two 40mm active drivers and two 46.1 mm x 65.2 mm Passive radiators. What this means is that there's no subwoofer in this portable pint shaped speaker and the bass is produced by using the sound waves generated and reflected inside the speaker's body. Therefore, the bass levels might not please serious audiophiles out there; however, the overall audio quality is pretty good. The active drivers take care of other audio elements such as vocals, mids, and highs and they do a good job.
What I specifically wanted from a portable speaker was loud and clear audio as we were travelling to hills and had to play the audio in extremely wide and open grounds. Having said that, taking UE Wonderboom as our sole audio accessory was a good decision as the cylindrical design of the UE Wonderboom generates 360-degree sound, which is really helpful in open spaces. The speaker is more than enough for a small or medium-sized room.
Portable and extremely durable
Another reason I consider UE Wonderboom as a good buy for audiophiles who are also avid travellers is the fact that the speaker offers a nearly indestructible design. Even though the speaker has a soft plastic casing on the top and bottom, it is very sturdy and the unit can easily withstand drops, spills and even dust. I wanted to test such bold claims made by Ultimate ears and submerged the speaker in a cold icy water of Ganges river. Even though the speaker stopped playing audio (for obvious reasons) but it continued to function without any connectivity or audio delivery problems. Technically, Wonderboom is IPX7 rated and can be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes and is drop-proof from up to five feet. Just rinse it off if it gets dirty and you will still be good to go.
Battery life is decent but still leaves you wanting for more
If you are planning a weekend trip and wants to take UE Wonderboom as your one and only audio accessory, I recommend you to fully charge the speaker and also keep at least two power banks handy. If played at maximum volume, the speaker will only last for 6 to 7 hours. Importantly, it takes more than 2.5 hours to fully recharge the battery, which can be an issue for travelers who spend very little time at one place during their travel period. It would have been great if the company had fitted a solar panel on this portable speaker. Zoook ZB-Solar Muse Bluetooth Speaker is priced at Rs. 4,999 and comes with a built-in solar panel; however, its audio delivery is not as good as UE Wonderboom.
Overall, Ultimate Ears is a value for money deal. The wireless speaker is portable, very durable and produces solid audio. It is indeed designed for music lovers who are connected, on-the-move and wants their music from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep.