UE Megaboom 1 (Original) vs UE Megaboom 3: How Different Is the Upgrade?


Reviews have been pouring in for the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 and we’ve analyzed what everyone has had to say about it — with a particular eye to comparing it to the original Ultimate Ears Megaboom (which was also a critical darling).

Logitech skipped a number in their branding scheme with this speaker (there never was an Ultimate Ears Megaboom 2), but that doesn’t mean that the Megaboom 3 is a giant leap forward. But a solid step in the right direction, definitely, both in design and sound.

For the last five years we’ve been recommending Ultimate Ears’ speakers for many uses, and among large, loud, waterproof outdoor Bluetooth speakers, the original Ultimate Ears Megaboom was a top pick.

So how much better does the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 sound compared to its predecessor? And do the few added features make much of a difference? Let’s dive in for a look, first in a side-by-side comparison and then with a meta-analysis of the critical commentary to date.

Update History of This Article

This article was originally published on October 2, 2018.

Side-by-Side Comparison: Ultimate Ears Megaboom (original) vs Megaboom 3

What Critics Say: The Megaboom 3’s Improvements in Design and Sound

We think the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 takes what was a great speaker and manages to find a few tweaks to make it even better. All of the major reviews from audio critics have so far agreed. We don’t think it’s worth upgrading if you have the original, but if you’re in the market for a loud portable speaker, the update is a great choice.

More civilized design – but still also snazzier

Ultimate Ears design changes may not seem to obvious in photos, but the newer Megaboom 3 does leave a better impression in real life:

  • The oversized volume up and down buttons are still there, but they’ve been moved around to the back. So when you grab the speaker you can instantly control it without fiddling, but it’s also something that is more likely to fit with a living room that has a more subtle aesthetic.
  • The fabric covering is smoother, and shimmers. As opposed to the wild solid colors of the original Megaboom, the Megaboom 3 has a two-tone fabric that catches light in different ways depending on the angle. The variety of color options are still there, however.
  • The Megaboom 3 is compatible with a charging dock that we think is overpriced, but also terribly convenient and kind of a classy place to plop the speaker down at home.
  • There is no longer a threaded tripod mount, which we thought was a cool feature of the UE Megaboom, allowing you to stand it on a claw-grip tripod for example.
  • You can, however, still hang the speaker. Instead of a metal D-hook, there is now a fabric loop that  you can use with a standard carabiner.
  • The Megaboom 3 is just a teensy bit shorter and squatter than the original, and weighs just slightly more.

Design-wise, it’s kind of like the rowdy teenager that was the Ultimate Ears Megaboom has brushed its hair and turned down its collar, but hasn’t stopped rocking out.

Features: Gained a Few, Lost a Few (Though not Important Ones, Thankfully)

Here are the features that the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 has gained compared to the original:

  • A “magic button” on top of the unit allows you to pause or play with a simple touch, skip tracks with a double touch, and select/skip playlists with a long touch. The ability to play/pause on the unit is the most useful of these, and has long been a feature on other Bluetooth speakers.
  • The original was fully waterproof, and could be submerged for up to 30 minutes. For the Megaboom 3, add to that a dustproof rating, which is a guarantee that the unit is sealed off from dirt getting into the inside.

The Megaboom 3 lacks these features of the original:

  • No speakerphone function (we think this has always been better to do on your phone directly anyway).
  • No 3.5 mm input (we’re sad about this!).

It’s worth noting that both the original and version 3 run on the same dedicated smartphone app. This app allows for remote on/off, EQ customizations, using your speaker as an alarm clock, and more.

The app also lets you pair multiple units to create a larger party. It is possible to pair various older speaker models too; you can join together the Boom, Boom 2, Boom 3, Megaboom, and Megaboom 3 speakers in any combination.

Note that neither of these speakers is a “smart speaker”; you cannot give them voice commands. We actually prefer it this way, because after all the smart assistants on phones (Siri, Google Assistant) tend to be better. But if you want a smart version of these speakers, that would be the Ultimate Ears Megablast (which we compare to the Megaboom 3 here).

The Megaboom 3 has better, deeper bass and sounds better overall

As always, we go meta and like to take a wide survey of the comments from audiophile obsessives and tech critics. Here there has been very solid agreement on this speaker.

Top critics feel that compared to its predecessor, the Megaboom 3 has more solid and smooth delivery across the midrange, better stronger bass, more appealing and consistent treble performance. It is more “spacious”, “energetic”, “exciting”, and “fuller”.

In spite of the boost on the bass end, it is said not to sound overdone or harsh. Some commentators preferred to take the bass down a notch or two on the equalizer in the speaker’s smartphone app, while others took it up a bit.

There is general agreement as well that the 360-degree performance has been improved a bit, allowing you to place the speaker in the middle of a room or an outdoor party and sound great no matter which side of it you’re standing on. The original did this quite well too though.

Ultimate Ears Megaboom vs. Megaboom 3 Wrap-Up: What’s the Better Buy?

The Megaboom 3 is without a doubt the better speaker, though the difference is marginal, so price may be a deciding factor.

Since these speakers sometimes have price swings, we can’t predict which will be a better deal for sure, but the boxes below show prices that are updated daily.

Also do click through to check pricing on different colors, as some of these are often discounted over at Amazon.

 

Ultimate Ears Megaboom (original)
Commanding, excellently performing classic that we’ve long recommended; waterproof
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
Somewhat better base performance and slightly better evenness overall; waterproof and dustproof; wears a slinkier look

3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Andre
    July 29, 2019
    Reply

    From a quick test of my two Megabooms, it seems that the phone has to be within range to the PRIMARY speaker connected, with every subsequent connected speaker close to the primary (similar to a Daisy Chain). However, I was only able to test on two ORIGINAL Megabooms and not the newer Megaboom 3. Also, someone who actually knows how it truly works from a technical POV may contribute a more meaningful response.

  2. Avatar
    ACA
    July 12, 2019
    Reply

    What’s the best way to chain multiple speakers? Does the phone need to be near all of them, or does Speaker A broadcast to Speaker B then B to C etc, ie, you could have your phone at one end of a football field and rely on enough speakers to play all the way down?

    • Avatar
      Nicole M Phillips
      August 4, 2019
      Reply

      I would also love to know the answer to this!

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