To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Durable and powerful but lacks refinement

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £330
inc VAT

The Ultimate Ears Epicboom is a rugged and portable speaker for those who prioritise power over precision


  • Big, broad sound
  • Sturdy and weatherproof
  • Decent EQ options


  • No microphone
  • Lacks power bank capabilities
  • Not true 360-degree sound

The Ultimate Ears Epicboom is the latest portable Bluetooth speaker from a brand that has more than a decade of experience manufacturing Bluetooth speakers.

Its current range includes the Wonderboom 3, Boom 3, Megaboom 3 and Hyperboom, with the Epicboom sitting between the latter two in size and price.

It’s good-looking, durable and capable of delivering potent sound indoors and outside. But it isn’t the most refined listen, and it feels a little light on features relative to its price tag.

Check price at John Lewis

Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: What do you get for the money?

The Epicboom costs £330 and is available in either Cotton White or Charcoal Black. Measuring 162 x 119 x 241mm (WDH) and weighing 2kg, it’s considerably bigger than the Wonderboom 3 (£90), Boom 3 (£130) and Megaboom 3 (£170) but dwarfed by the Hyperboom (£410).

Housed within its pill-shaped structure are two 45mm mid- and high-frequency transducers and a 120mm woofer that handles low-end frequencies. Ultimate Ears hasn’t revealed output values for these drivers but says the speaker can generate a maximum of 94dBc in normal mode and 95dBc with “Outdoor Boost” engaged.

The Epicboom is designed with outdoor use in mind. It’s dust-tight and fully waterproof (IP67), and it even floats, making it a great choice for pool parties. Its frame is constructed from 59% certified post-consumer recycled plastic, while the fabric that covers the majority of its body is fashioned from 100% recycled polyester.

Connectivity comes courtesy of Bluetooth 5.1, with codec compatibility limited to SBC. There’s no multipoint support, but NFC pairing is available for those with devices running Android 8.0 and above.

You can’t connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi network as you can with the similarly sized Sonos Move 2, nor are there any physical inputs for hooking up analogue devices. The only port is of the USB-C variety and tucked away under a small flap on the rear of the speaker. It’s solely used for topping up the battery, which lasts for around 17 hours at 45% volume. UE supplies a USB-C to USB-C cable for charging, but no power adapter.

Four depressible buttons on the crest of the speaker allow you to turn it on and off, put it into pairing mode, engage Outdoor Boost, play, pause and skip tracks and activate what UE describes as the “Magic Button”. Large plus and minus buttons on the front of the speaker handle volume controls.

READ NEXT: Best Bluetooth speakers

Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: What did we like?

The obvious place to start is the Epicboom’s ability to fill a room. At 50% volume, it had more than enough muscle to disperse sound around my medium-sized home office, while its audio pervaded every inch of my large open-plan kitchen and living room at maximum volume.

Low-end reproduction is particularly powerful, so those who enjoy music carried by a big, booming bassline will be most appreciative of the Epicboom’s endeavours. Even they might find it a little overzealous at times, however.

Outdoors, the Epicboom projects sound equally effectively. The mid- and high-frequency transducers face out from the left and right sides of the speaker, creating a broad soundstage. The increased output of 1dBc in Outdoor Boost mode may not seem like much, but it was noticeable; it meant I wasn’t left wanting for impact in open environments such as the local park and my parents’ garden.

Sound was consistent as I moved the speaker from one room to another and inside and outside, perhaps due to UE’s “Adaptive EQ”, although I can’t say I noticed a huge difference when I switched the feature off.

While I wasn’t able to test it as I don’t own another compatible UE speaker, support for the brand’s PartyUp feature will be very welcome for those seeking to create an even bigger audio experience. This feature allows you to group up to 50 UE speakers using the UE Boom app and have them play simultaneously. Wonderboom speakers aren’t supported, nor are Blast and Megablast models, but the rest of the range is fair game.

I’m an advocate for EQ options, and the Epicboom gains access to a solid range of them in the app. The default Signature setting is joined by Bass Boost, Game/Cinema, Deep Relaxation and Podcast/Vocal presets, and you can create your own using a five-band graphic equaliser. This is just as well as the out-of-the-box sound is likely to be too warm for most people’s tastes. It’s worth noting, however, that you’re unable to access EQ settings if you have Outdoor Boost turned on.

The app also provides access to some other handy features. You can control the volume remotely, power the speaker on and off and engage Outdoor Boost. Additionally, you can add playlists or albums from Amazon Music or Apple Music and access them quickly by using the Magic Button, which is assigned to a long press of the Play/Pause button.

Less crucial but still nice to have are options for turning the speaker’s tones off, setting an alarm (which can be a song from your local music library or the last song you played) and changing the language of notifications.

The Epicboom is not only equipped with the power to deliver audio anywhere but has the ruggedness of build and weatherproofing to withstand all manner of situations. It held up perfectly well in torrential downpours, survived plenty of bumps and knocks and even a fall off my lounge table onto the hard wooden floor below.

Despite being extremely durable, it’s no eyesore. It has curves in all the right places and the pinky-orange volume buttons, speckles on the base and detailing on and around the carrying strap pop on the white model.

READ NEXT: Best wireless earbuds

Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: What could be improved?

While that strap is there to aid portability, the Epicboom is a bit of a pain to carry. Owing to its weight, you won’t want to lug it too far with the strap, which is just long enough to slip a slender wrist through. A longer strap that you could sling over your shoulder would have been handy here.

And, while I’ve praised the speaker’s aesthetics, the acoustic cloth on the white version is liable to get dirty very quickly if you’re taking it adventuring. You should be able to clean most grime off it with a damp cloth, but the black and yellow version is a safer bet if you plan to use it predominantly outside.

As touched on above, the Epicboom’s Signature sound profile is very bass-heavy and I noticed distortion creeping in at higher volumes. A relatively restrained track such as Phoebe Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness” doesn’t get the delicate treatment it requires, with instruments lacking clarity and vocals sounding a bit swamped. This can be rectified reasonably effectively using the in-app EQ, but the Epicboom’s presentation never reaches the levels of nuance and clarity as alternatives such as the LG XBoom 360 XO3.

It’s also not as impressive when it comes to creating a feeling of 360-degree sound. Because the woofer is front-facing and the other transducers fire out sideways, you get a different audio experience when positioned in front of or behind the speaker. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it does mean the Epicboom doesn’t quite deliver the all-around immersion UE promises.

My other grumbles with the Epicboom mainly relate to things it lacks. There’s no microphone, meaning you can’t use the speaker for calls or to hail the voice assistant on your phone, while the absence of an auxiliary input and USB-A port takes connecting to analogue sources and charging external devices off the table. Wireless streaming like that found on various Sonos speakers would be nice, too.

Check price at John Lewis

Ultimate Ears Epicboom review: Should you buy it?

It would be unfair to call the Ultimate Ears Epicboom a blunt instrument, but it certainly prioritises punch and power over detail and deftness. Depending on your needs, however, that may not be an issue.

If you’re after a Bluetooth speaker capable of filling a room and generating impactful sound in open areas, it fulfils those roles gamely. It’s equipped to tackle even the harshest of environments, too, making it a pricey but portable powerhouse.

Read more