I am gettin' so hot, I wanna take my shiny new Ultimate Ears speaker outside! The only snag is that no such product exists. Harrumph.
Where has Ultimate Ears gone? And wouldn't it be lovely if a Wonderboom 3 was on the horizon?
The company (which I am a huge fan of) used to furnish us with some of the best Bluetooth speakers to stick in our bags and hit the road, but its last effort was the much larger Hyperboom – and though that speaker is a very talented beast indeed (boasting a 24-hour battery, no less) even that was back in February 2020.
It's odd, because the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 (aka the last truly portable speaker the Californian audio specialist released, in June 2019) was such a fantastic little pint-sized Bluetooth speaker.
It's rugged, sand- and waterproof (it even floats, making it one of the best waterproof speakers out there still, despite its age), boasts a long battery life, has a useful outdoor mode handled by that little tree button on its underside and a pairing feature to double up the sound – which, refreshingly, even worked with my first-gen. Wonderboom. Basically, it was a resounding hit.
The only downside to the Wonderboom 2 was its micro-USB charging port, somewhat old hat even then. Now, it's positively ancient and I'm clinging to my solo remaining (older-gen) yellow Ultimate Ears cable to charge it. When it's gone, it's gone…
It's like a great new band that landed a number one smash hit, then an even better follow-up album, then cemented it all with… nothing. For over two years.
Opinion: if you're there Ultimate Ears, al fresco music lovers everywhere miss you!
Since February 2020, (aka UE's last big reveal) life hasn't exactly gone according to plan for any of us, but most big audio manufacturers are back in the game – except for Logitech's Ultimate Ears.
In its absence, JBL has swooped in with a fresh sixth iteration of its popular portable Flip lineup, the JBL Flip 6, Sonos has entered the market with the Sonos Roam and lesser-known audio outfits such as Tribit and Earfun are trying their hand in the market. And why shouldn't they pick up the slack? Buyers are here, the heatwave is on and they want a portable speaker to take outside.
TechRadar has reached out to Ultimate Ears for comment, but we have yet to receive a response. Even the last post on Ultimate Ears' press center is from February 2020.
Personally, I'm loathe to shell out on a Bluetooth speaker made by a competing manufacturer until I know categorically that there's nothing baking in the oven from UE for 2022. I know that my mug-sized Wonderboom 2 will probably last out until next year, but I'd love an update with a USB-C charging port and, ideally Bluetooth 5.2 or above.
You see, when it comes to musically pleasing sound from bijou proportions, Ultimate Ears has never let me down.
And if Ultimate Ears could launch the unannounced Wonderboom 3 at the time-honored price point of $99.99 / £89.99 / AU$129 (ie. the same price as both of its predecessors at launch) that would be utterly lovely – and acceptably affordable, given the current cost of living crisis.
From my music-loving heart in the current London heatwave to yours in sunny California, Ultimate Ears, I've got 99 problems and yearning for a new Bluetooth speaker from you is one…
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.