Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 review

Party-proof and big on sound, this could be the perfect portable speaker

ultimate ears megaboom 3 review feat
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
MSRP $199.99
“One of the best portable speakers you can buy, period.”
  • Loud, dynamic sound
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof
  • Great battery life
  • Some functionality only supports Apple Music/Deezer

Whether you’re setting up a barbecue by the pool or headed out into the wilderness, adding in some of your favorite tunes is all but guaranteed to take any outdoor adventure to the next level. But with the vast array of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market, it can be tough to know which one to rely on when you’re out and about.

With 20 hours of battery life, dust/waterproof design, and loud, punchy sound, we’ve never been more confident in a portable Bluetooth speaker than we are in the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3. With its third generation of Megaboom, Ultimate Ears wisely didn’t try to reinvent its cylinder of sound, instead making steady improvements that translate in the real world — and make it one of the best portable speakers, period.

Out of the box

No matter which color you choose (our review unit was a flashy pinkish-purple) the sleek, cylindrical Megaboom 3 leaps out of its cardboard box with practical, modern design.

Riley Young/Digital Trends

Two massive volume buttons — something of an Ultimate Ears design signature — appear on the front of the device, on top of a durable light-shifting fabric material that covers the drivers, with the power and multifunction button (more on this later) on the Megaboom’s rubberized top.

A cleverly positioned loop of fabric is on the back of the new Megaboom, making it easy to hang from a carabiner, branch, or string, depending on where you find yourself jamming out. The only port you’ll find on the speaker is the in the bottom rear — a micro USB charging port that hides below a rubberized strip on the rear of the device.

Features and design

The Megaboom 3’s most important features are actually the ones that you don’t see.

First and foremost is the speaker’s durability. The speaker has an IP67 dust and waterproof rating, which means it’s good for up to 30 minutes in three feet of water and is more than fine with a trip to your closest sandy shore. In fact, though that cool fabric coating on the exterior may seem to be just an aesthetic choice, it was engineered for motorcycle jackets and fire equipment — meaning it will put up with virtually any abuse you throw at it. You probably won’t need to worry about it reaching three feet of depth, either, as the speaker is designed to float.

It will put up with virtually any abuse you throw at it.

The company claims it put the new Megaboom through 25 durability tests, including thousands of button pushes, drop tests, tumbles, and more, making sure that it would hold up to the stresses of everyday life.

All that durability is paired with a huge battery: the Megaboom 3 offers up to 20 hours of listening time, which is more than enough for a weekend of nighttime tunes during a backpacking trip, or for a couple days of poolside partying.

The big volume buttons make it easy to quickly turn down (or up!) the tunes, but the most important button you’ll use on the Megaboom 3 is on top. The multifunction button can be used to play and pause music, but with long presses (and an Apple Music or Deezer subscription, sorry Spotify fans) the button can be used to switch between favorite playlists. To do this, you just need to download the company’s Ultimate Ears app, which also allows you to link up to 150 Ultimate Ears speakers in Party Mode. The Bluetooth range has also been improved from the previous generations — now up to 45 feet. It’s also cheaper: where the original model retailed for $300, the Megaboom 3 costs just $200.

Even without the added playlist features offered by Apple Music and Deezer (we’re die-hard Spotify lovers), the speaker was an absolute joy to use, allowing us to play and pause music and adjust volume — let’s be honest, the vast majority of what anyone wants to do without reaching for their phone — with ease.

Audio Performance

The bar for Bluetooth speaker audio quality has been steadily on the rise in recent years, but while we used to praise a speaker for simply being loud and having some semblance of bass response, there are now a number of genuinely great sounding options vying for your cash.

So, when we say that the Megaboom 3 holds its own against many non-portable Bluetooth options, that’s saying a lot.

ultimate ears megaboom 3 with spotify on phone
Riley Young/Digital Trends

The most impressive aspect of the speaker is just how well it disperses sound. The Megaboom projected bold and vibrant sound in all directions, allowing us to constantly enjoy our favorite tunes while meandering around a large outdoor space.

As with many contemporary speakers, the Megaboom 3 sounds best when playing contemporary pop and hip-hop. Everything from Taylor Swift to Chance The Rapper sounds tight and punchy, delivered with crisp high-end clarity and the right amount of low-end oomph.

Everything from Taylor Swift to Chance The Rapper sounds tight and punchy, delivered with crisp high-end clarity and the right amount of low-end oomph.

When listening to more classic recordings with an acoustic guitar — things like Neil Young’s Harvest or the recently Thriller-beating Eagles’ Greatest Hits album — we noticed a bit of mud in the midrange, but nothing like we typically experience on speakers this size. In fact, provided there wasn’t too much layering of instruments in the low mid-range, the Megaboom 3 did very well to showcase each individual instrument in a mix. We didn’t get the chance to pair two together in stereo mode, which is configurable via the app, but we imagine clarity would be significantly enhanced if we had done so.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the sound of the Megaboom 3. It offered a solid amount of clarity in the low and high end, and it got loud enough to fuel a beachside dance party, all without us ever worrying about it being knocked over or running out of juice. As far as portable speakers go, that’s all we could possibly ask for.

Warranty information

Ultimate Ears offers a two-year warranty on defects in materials or workmanship.

Our Take

The Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is a near-perfect portable Bluetooth speaker. With a superb blend of audio performance and durability — plus spectacular battery life — you’ll throw the Megaboom in a tote bag or clip it onto a backpack for nearly every adventure. After all, even the most beautiful places on earth are better with some choice tunes.

Is there a better alternative?

Those who are after a great rugged Bluetooth speaker that can go anywhere should also take a look at the JBL Charge line, which offers identical battery life and a slightly inferior IPX7 waterproof rating (for up to 30 minutes in water) at a lower price point. We think the JBL speakers are great, but we’ll be the first to admit they don’t offer quite the same musical detail you’ll get with the Megaboom, and the looks are considerably more subdued.

How long will it last?

Ultimate Ears has a history of creating durable, great-sounding Bluetooth speakers that last through years of steady use, and we have no reason to believe the Megaboom 3 is any different.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you’re in the market for a Bluetooth speaker that you can consistently rely on for big volume, great battery life, and go-anywhere performance, the Megaboom is one of the best you’ll find.

Parker Hall
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…
This is the best Bluetooth speaker under $100 you can buy right now
ultimate ears megaboom 3 bluetooth speaker amazon discount boom 768x768

Prime Day is here, and with it come some of the best Prime Day Deals Amazon has ever offered--including a greatly reduced price on the Ultimate Ears Boom 3. The price has been cut from $150 down to just $80 for a truly impressive little Bluetooth speaker.

The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 gives truly impressive 360-degree audio and up to 15 hours of battery life on a single charge. It's the perfect companion for tailgating or afternoons spent at the park. If you feel like 15 hours isn't enough -- or you won't be able to charge it on the go -- you can add the Power Up charging dock to the device so that it is always ready to pump out your favorite tunes, no matter where you might be.

Read more
20-year-old design lives on in Harmon Kardon’s $300 Aura Studio 3 speaker
Harmon Kardon Aura Studio 3

Wireless speakers that offer an extra-wide soundstage, like Apple's $299 HomePod and Amazon's $200 Echo Studio, are becoming increasingly popular as people look to get the most audio bang for their buck from a single speaker. Now buyers have another choice when it comes to expansive sound: Harmon Kardon's $300 Aura Studio 3 Bluetooth speaker is now available for pre-order
and is expected to start shipping July 1.

The Aura Studio 3 is the third generation of Harmon Kardon's transparent-domed wireless speaker, which uses a design the company has been refining ever since it debuted as the bass module enclosure for its Apple iMac companion Soundsticks speakers in 2000.

Read more
Best Cyber Monday Portable Bluetooth Speaker Deals: Bose, JBL, and Ultimate Ears
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 in a pool.

Cyber Monday may be over, so is Black Friday, but there are still plenty of cheap Bluetooth speakers from the likes of Bose, JBL, and Ultimate Ears on offer as part of Cyber Week. But with so much on offer, how can you possibly track down the best deal on the Bluetooth speaker you have set your sights on? That's where we come in — we've cataloged all the best Cyber Monday portable speaker deals right here, so you don't have to traipse all over the web to track them down.
The Cyber Monday portable Bluetooth speaker deals

Bose SoundLink Micro -- $69 ($30 off)
Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker -- $114 ($66 off)
JBL Boombox -- $380 ($120 off)
Sony SRS-XB01 -- $15 ($20 off)
JBL Clip 3 -- $30 ($40 off)
Sony SRS-XB12 -- $35 ($25 off)
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom -- $40 ($60 off)
JBL Flip 4 -- $60 ($40 off)
Ultimate Ears Boom 2 LE -- $70 ($110 off)
JBL Charge 4 -- $100 ($80 off)
Ultimate Ears Boom 3 -- $120 ($30 off)
Bose Soundlink Revolve -- $120 ($80 off)
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 -- $170 ($30 off)
Bose SoundLink Revolve+ -- $240 ($60 off)
JBL Xtreme -- $150 ($30 off)
JBL Xtreme 2 -- $250 ($100 off)
JBL Charge 3-- $90 ($60 off)

Read more