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The Big Question Surrounding Ultimate Ears’ Truly Enormous Portable Speaker

We’ve highlighted the five most important things to know about the Ultimate Ears’ newest speaker, the Hyperboom, along with one big question it has to answer.

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Ultimate Ears just announced the Hyperboom, its biggest, loudest and “boomiest” portable speaker to date. It’s also the most expensive portable speaker that Ultimate Ears has ever made. It costs $399 and will be available on March 2. Also, it’ll only come in black.

Below, we’ve rounded up the five most important things to know about the Hyperboom. Following that, we’ve also asked the one big question about it. And then tried to answer it.

It’s strictly a Bluetooth speaker. No Wi-Fi. The Hyperboom is part of Ultimate Ears’ “Boom” line of portable speakers, meaning that unlike its “Blast” of speakers, the Hyperboom only has built-in Bluetooth — no built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The reason for this is simple: the “Boom” speakers are way more popular than Ultimate Ears’ “Blast” because they’re cheaper and not many people are looking for a portable speaker that can double as a smart speaker (but only at home when connected to Wi-Fi). Just ask Amazon what happened to the Echo Tap.

This thing is big. The Hyperboom isn’t your normal “Boom” speaker. It weighs 13 pounds and reaches up to your knees when standing on the ground. The Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 are a mere 1.3 pounds and 2 pounds, respectively, in case you were wondering. Unlike Ultimate Ears’ other “Boom” speakers, the Hyperboom has a built-in rubber strap so you don’t have to bear hug it when carrying it around. It also has Aux, optical and USB-A ports, in case you want to hook it up to your Xbox or charge your smartphone with it.

It’s a bass-heavy party speaker. The Hyperboom is big for a reason: big sound. In total it has six drivers — two 1-inch tweeters, two 4.5-inch woofers and two 3.5-inch passive radiators — and it’s able to play music up to 100 decibels, which is really loud. It’s designed as a party speaker for people who love bass, but the Hyperboom has a few party-centric features. It can be paired with other Hyperboom, Boom and Megaboom speakers in a multi-room setup via its “Party Up” feature. It can also play stereo sound when paired with another Hyperboom. Maybe most importantly, the Hyperboom can connect to two Bluetooth devices at the same time and then switch between the two without interrupting the music; meaning you and a friend can alternative songs without having the music stop or having to unpair one of your smartphones.

The Hyperboom isn’t a 360-degree speaker. Unlike the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 which are cylindrical speakers that are able to play true 360-degree sound, the Hyperboom can’t. It has a more rectangular design and produces what is close to a 270-degree sound. This means that it’s not meant to be placed in the center of a room, but rather in a corner or against the wall.

Don’t dunk it in water. The Hyperboom has an IPX4 rating, meaning that it’s water-resistant but not waterproof. This is a big difference from the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 speakers, both of which have an IPX67 rating and can be fully submerged in water. Given the size of the Hyperboom I doubt that anybody would bring this thing into a pool or the ocean, but it’s something to consider.

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Finally, who is buying the Hyperboom? This is the big question that I can’t quite put my finger on just yet. The Hyperboom is no doubt a fun and loud Bluetooth speaker, but at $399 are people really going to buy it. My gut tells me that the vast majority of people are still going to go with the company’s Boom 3 or Megaboom 3 speakers, which are way more affordable and portable, and still get plenty loud; they’re also still probably the best portable Bluetooth speakers you can buy.

If you asked Ultimate Ears, I bet they’d tell you that the Hyperboom is a party speaker designed primarily for the indoors and the occasional outdoor barbeque. But that’s encroaching on powered speakers and home multi-room sound systems, like Sonos.

For instance, you could buy two Sonos One, One SL or Play:1 speakers for the price (or less) than the Hyperboom, and that’s probably a better solution for most home parties. Also, the Hyperboom costs the same as the Sonos Move, which is an even more versatile speaker. Granted, the Hyperboom probably has more bass than the Move, but I’d still back Sonos when it comes to overall sound quality.

Buy Now: $399

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