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Dave's Take: The UE MEGABOOM 3 Bluetooth Speaker REVIEW


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UE MEGABOOM 3: The Ultimate BOOM?

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I think that I am going to dub myself the MyGolfSpy Ultimate Ears Expert. Seriously, I have spent a great deal of time with UE speakers since I first reviewed the UE BOOM back in 2015. Since then, I have run the UE MEGABOOM, UE ROLL, UE WONDERBOOM, UE BOOM 2, UE BLAST, and UE MEGABOOM 2 through Dave’s Auditory Academy, and to a speaker, the UE speakers outperform the competition. Check HERE for links to all of my various audio product reviews.

I'm not alone in my UE praise either. Last spring, the testers at MGS HQ agreed with me as well, with the UE MEGABLAST capturing Best Bluetooth Speaker of 2018 honors.

When asked, I tend to gush about these speakers. The sound is amazing, and they have held up to years of abuse (like lots of drops, both on concrete and into lakes). The ultimate abuse survival matrix is having the speakers hijacked by my teenage children. Nothing stress-tests electronics like teens. If you need evidence, I’ll give you a tour of my video game controller and iPhone charger cable graveyard.

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how I even played music before these speakers. I have the UE ROLL mounted to my bike, the UE WONDERBOOM is my waterproof workhorse in the kayak, and at the campfire, and the party-up-linked BOOM and MEGABOOM speakers allow me to have the same music playing in different parts of the house and backyard. Occasionally, I'm also known to play music at a high volume, preferably in my residential area.

It's the ultimate audio set-up, and it’s all driven by music apps on the phone. The tech staggers my mind if I think on it too long. It’s like living in the future.

The Third Incarnations

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Ultimate Ears recently released the third versions of both the BOOM and MEGABOOM speakers. Naturally, I had to get one of these new models to satisfy my curiosity, and, of course, to share my journey of discovery and speaker findings with you.

The fun thing is that since I also have the MEGABOOM and MEGABOOM 2, it puts me in a pretty unique place as far as making comparisons. Is the MEGABOOM 3 really better, or is it just the same thing with a new number?

Spoiler Alert: It’s better…

Familial-BOOM

To reset the UE family tree a bit, the BOOM was the first design, and then they went larger with the MEGABOOM, got shapely with the ROLL and WONDERBOOM, and then incorporated Amazon Alexa into the BLAST and MEGABLAST speakers. With every design, UE has tweaked the design, and also added in new features. That trend definitely continues with the MEGABOOM 3.

New Features: UE MEGABOOM 3

The Magic Button

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With MEGABOOM 3 you can play, pause and skip tracks directly on the speaker. Just push for convenient control of any streaming music. Or program and navigate custom one-touch playlists for Apple Music® and Deezer® Premium. Match the moment with the vibes without reaching for your phone.

I love this feature. While it wasn’t a huge pain to skip tracks and pause only from the phone, there definitely are times when you have the speaker in hand, and the phone is somewhere else. It’s a great convenience to be able to control playback from the speaker.

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I definitely like that the magic button is separate from the power and bluetooth buttons as well. Makes for super easy operation. Speaking of buttons, the volume control + and - buttons are still super huge, and very easy to find without even looking at the speaker.

Protip: Press both volume buttons at the same time and the speaker will tell you how much charge is in the battery. That’s twenty hours of music on a full charge by the way.

Power-Up Charging

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UE has redesigned the bottom of the MEGABOOM 3 so that it can now interface with the Power-Up charging system that debuted with the BLAST speakers. With the optional base, you can now recharge the speaker by just setting it on the platform. They have also moved the USB charging port from the base to the side of the speaker. This will allow you to keep the magic button pointing up when you charge the speaker. With the previous models, I would invert the speaker when charging to plug the USB cord into the base.

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I've got USB cables all over the house for all kinds of devices, and I like having the dedicated base to charge the speaker. I just drop it on the base after playing music, knowing that it will be fully charged for the next listening session.

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The Loop

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Previous incarnations of the MEGABOOM had a little metal loop on the base, where one could attach a hook or carabiner, to then attach the speaker to something. This metal loop had to be sacrificed since they now have the Power-Up port integrated into the base. To make up for the loss, the new MEGABOOM 3 has a fabric loop integrated into the rear of the speaker, near the top. It’s tough for me to call a fabric loop the killer app design element, but as far as portability goes, this new design makes it way easier to lash the MEGABOOM 3 speaker to things such as golf bags, golf carts, and backpacks.

Yes, I’m super excited about a fabric loop.

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With the UE BLAST, you needed to unscrew the metal loop to access the Power-Up charging feature, and then you were left with no place to attach the speaker. The fabric loop solves this problem with the MEGABOOM 3. Such a good idea.

But What About the Sound?

To my ear, I didn’t really hear a ton of difference between the MEGABOOM and the MEGABOOM 2. In a blind test, I couldn’t tell them apart. Yes, I did this. My wife is a patient helper. The MEGABOOM 3 however definitely has a different sound, a better sound.

The sound performance from the MEGABOOM 3 just sounds fuller; more complete. This one definitely does not suffer from small-speaker-itis. The highs sound crisp, not tinny or cat-tortured, and the lows are booming. Seriously, I feel like this speaker actually thumps a bit. I have never run across a portable speaker that can rattle the trunk like the MEGABOOM 3. It likely even outperforms my late 80’s dual cassette boombox, and it’s a whole lot easier to carry.

Let’s not forget that through the phone app, you can pair BOOM and MEGABOOM speakers together. I paired all three MEGABOOMs and two BOOMs together and the sound was amazing. It’s cool that you can then put the speakers all over the house to share the sounds, but it’s also very fun when you put them all in one room and just take your tunes to eleven. The fact that you can pair 150 speakers together through the app is mindblowing.

I’ll stop you now though. Pairing 150 speakers together is not a good plan for being musically responsible on the golf course. Be respectful, and keep the volume low. Although if it’s a fun scramble situation, where the course is yours, pair them all, and blast them!

One thing that the MEGABOOM 3 does lack is the Alexa connectivity. If you want that connection to be native to the speaker, you'll need to go with the BLAST or MEGABLAST models. Fun fact though, if you have the Amazon Music app open, you can say "Alexa" to your phone, and you'll have full voice command musical capabilities.

 

All That Power, And a Price Drop!

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I have no problem saying that the UE MEGABOOM 3 is the best UE speaker to date. The sound is amazing, and it’s damn near foolproof to operate, and that’s including the new Magic button feature. It’s really a superior speaker on all counts, and now it has a MSRP of $199, a full $100 cheaper than the MEGABOOM 2. Rarely do newer, better products list at lower retail prices (looking at you XBOX One X Fallout 76 Bundle). The whole concept of better yet cheaper actually hurts my head a bit.

Anyway, if you are in the market for a portable speaker, for golf or the home, I suggest you take a long look at the new UE MEGABOOM 3, and then after looking at it, you should probably just buy one. It’s badass.


 

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Volvo Intorqueo

 

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Great writeup, Dave.  Love that they dropped the price - makes it a much more attractive option.  Still on the higher end of the price scale as far as bluetooth speakers goes, but a welcome drop none the less

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2 minutes ago, jlukes said:

Great writeup, Dave.  Love that they dropped the price - makes it a much more attractive option.  Still on the higher end of the price scale as far as bluetooth speakers goes, but a welcome drop none the less

 

Very true, there are a bunch of really cheap ones on Amazon, but I've yet to find a cheap one that sounds as good as these, and that you can pair together. In years past, they have released a special "Panther" color for the holidays. It's usually a bit cheaper as well. If I see them, I'll let you know.

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Volvo Intorqueo

 

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Another great write up.  Thanks for suffering through these tests for those of us that like music and being outdoors!

2020 MGS Hard Rock Challenge

 

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5 minutes ago, JohnSmalls said:

Another great write up.  Thanks for suffering through these tests for those of us that like music and being outdoors!

It's a labor of love for sure. :)

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Volvo Intorqueo

 

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Tell them to make a new roll!

Driver:   :callaway-small: Epic 10.5 set to 9.5 w/ Tour AD-DI 44.5

FW:   :cobra-small: F6 baffler set at 16º

Hybrid:  NONE
Irons:   :taylormade-small:  3i 2014 TP CB  4-PW 2011 TP MC w/ TT S400

Wedges:   :nike-small: 52º :nike-small: 56º  :edel-golf-1: 60 º w/ KBS C-Taper XS Soft-stepped

Putter:   :ping-small: Sigma G Tyne 34 inches Gold dot

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mr_Theoo said:

Tell them to make a new roll!

They did have the Roll 2, but I agree, a ROLL 3 would be a welcome addition. I think that they thought that the Wonderboom would replace the roll...

Volvo Intorqueo

 

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23 minutes ago, GolfSpy Dave said:

They did have the Roll 2, but I agree, a ROLL 3 would be a welcome addition. I think that they thought that the Wonderboom would replace the roll...

Unless I can bungee it to the golf cart It ain’t a replacement 

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Driver:   :callaway-small: Epic 10.5 set to 9.5 w/ Tour AD-DI 44.5

FW:   :cobra-small: F6 baffler set at 16º

Hybrid:  NONE
Irons:   :taylormade-small:  3i 2014 TP CB  4-PW 2011 TP MC w/ TT S400

Wedges:   :nike-small: 52º :nike-small: 56º  :edel-golf-1: 60 º w/ KBS C-Taper XS Soft-stepped

Putter:   :ping-small: Sigma G Tyne 34 inches Gold dot

 

 

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Great write up. Hard to believe that they improved it AND dropped the price. I think $199 is a very competitive price for a high end speaker. 

Beats: $150-250

JBL $200-300

Bose $200-500!

It is right in the middle of prices for premium speaker brands. The $299 price was high but $199 is much better. 

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Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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