The Bose SoundLink Micro and Ultimate Ears’ WonderBoom are two of the best portable Bluetooth speakers right now, offering a rugged and colourful design, along with the ability to pair up and blast your music in more than one room. Here’s how the Bose and UE compare and which portable speaker might be best for you.
If you’re looking for an affordable mini speaker that can take some serious abuse, perfect for carrying around and rowdy outdoor parties, then two of the best right now are the Bose SoundLink Micro and UE WonderBoom. These fun and dinky blasters are surprisingly powerful given their tiny stature, with some pretty smart functionality packed inside too. Best of all, they cost less than £100, so they won’t kill your wallet.
How do the WonderBoom and Soundlink Micro stack up and which one should you buy? Let’s take a look at the most important factors.
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Bose SoundLink Micro vs UE WonderBoom: Design
Miniature and rugged is the order of the day here.
Both speakers are compact enough to comfortably slip into a backpack, although the Bose offering is about half the size of the WonderBoom and also considerably lighter. In fact, the SoundLink Micro will happily squeeze into handbags and even pockets, while its rival is just a little too large.
Both are pleasingly rugged, so can withstand a sudden accidental drop or an unforeseen kicking. Definitely good news if you want to just chuck them into your bag with little care, or hand them to a younger member of the family.
If you’re planning on hosting a pool party, either of these speakers will also suffice. That IPX7 water resistance rating means they can be fully submerged and continue to function as expected.
We personally think the Bose speaker looks better, although it only comes in a single vibrant colour (bright orange) as well as black and grey. In comparison, the UE WonderBoom can be picked up in a selection of cool finishes, including ‘Fireball’, ‘Phantom’ and ‘Sub Zero’.
The WonderBoom also offers a small loop for dangling off of something. However, Bose’s super-strength rear strap is more flexible and stable, plus it’s just as strong, so better suited to the likes of bike handlebars.
Bose SoundLink Micro vs UE WonderBoom: Ease of use
While the UE WonderBoom isn’t supported by Ultimate Ears’ app, setup and operation is pretty straightforward using the physical controls. Prod the Bluetooth button and you can pair with your phone, tablet or other device, ready to stream your music. There are large volume controls, plus another button for pairing up two speakers (more on this feature in the next section).
With the SoundLink Micro, you can either use the physical controls to operate or connect to the speaker with the Bose app. On the device itself you again have a dedicated Bluetooth button for quick and easy connection, along with volume controls and a central button for play/pause and other functionality.
Alternatively, with the app you can perform the same operations. This also allows you to configure the auto-off timer, check out the user manual and get an accurate percentage readout for the remaining battery life.
Bose SoundLink Micro vs UE WonderBoom: Features
Want to stream your music to two speakers at once, for parties or simply for a sound boost? Either phone here can oblige. That said, the WonderBooms can simply pair up to blast the same music simultaneously, while the SoundLinks can do the same or be used in ‘Stereo Mode’, which syncs them up as a left and right channel. You also have the option of pairing with different Bose models, while the WonderBooms won’t speak with other UE speakers.
Siri and Google Assistant support can also be found on the Bose SoundLink, by holding down that central button. Good news if you’re constantly using your smart assistant for hands-free operation.
Bose’s blaster can also be used to take calls, like a speakerphone. So in other words, the SoundLink Micro is the clear winner when it comes to functionality.
Bose SoundLink Micro vs UE WonderBoom: Audio quality
We’re certainly impressed by the SoundLink Micro’s audio quality, considering the size of the thing. On top volume you’ll certainly notice some distortion, especially with any thrashing guitars, although bass levels are surprisingly decent. And speaking of volume, either of these speakers can reach a powerful top level, enough to fill a room with ease.
However, the WonderBooms just edge it when it comes to audio quality. That’s not much of a surprise considering they’re twice the size, so can pack in more capable audio tech. The two 40 mm active drivers and dual passive radiators pump out impressive-sounding music, coping well with a range of genres.
The WonderBooms offer better range too. We tried loading our phone (which was streaming music to the speakers) in our pockets and walking away, to see how far we could go. In our tests, we only made it around eight to nine metres from the SoundLink Micros before the music cut out. The WonderBooms kept on playing until we were out in the street (at least fifteen metres away), even working well through brick walls.
Bose SoundLink Micro vs UE WonderBoom: Battery life
When it comes to longevity, the SoundLink Micro bows to the mighty WonderBoom. Bose’s speaker lasts for roughly six to seven hours on a single charge, while Ultimate Ears’ device blasts your tunes for a full ten hours before a recharge is needed. Not surprising given that it’s bigger and therefore boasts a larger cell.
That said, the SoundLink does at least have a cool five-LED charge indicator on the top edge, to show when a recharge is needed. That’s something missing from the WonderBoom.
Bose SoundLink Micro vs UE WonderBoom: UK price and availability
These days you can snaffle a WonderBoom for just £80, from the likes of Argos, John Lewis and Currys PC World.
Bose offers the SoundLink Micro for £100. You can grab it from Bose’s online and high street stores, as well as select retailers including John Lewis and Sonic Direct.