The largest portable speakers from the often-awesome speaker-crafting company Ultimate Ears are the Megaboom 3 and the Hyperboom. We like and recommend both, but for different reasons and different folks.
The obvious difference between the two is size; the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is about twice the width and height of the Megaboom 3 at 7.5 inches on each side and 14.33 inches tall; it weighs about six times as much at 13 pounds. So they Hyperboom like a typical bookshelf speaker, except with a carry strap and internal battery, and still easy enough to tote anywhere.
The Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 on the other hand is about the size and width of a wine bottle without its neck, and thus I’ve found much easier to toss into a backpack—for instance, just in case a dance party might need to break out at a picnic.
Both sound excellent, though unsurprisingly the Hyperboom goes louder, deeper, and sounds better. AS usual, we’ll do a quick side-by-side comparison with our thoughts and key deets, then dive in deeper with our take and our meta-review of other reviewers’ thoughts (overwhelmingly positive for both speakers, in this case).
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Side-by-Side Comparison: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 vs. Hyperboom
Choosing Between the Sound Quality of the Megaboom 3 and Hyperboom
Both the Megaboom 3 and Hyperboom are excellent-sounding speakers, and as is usually true with speaker design, the bigger Hyperboom is able to create a much fuller, richer sound, go much louder, and achieve deeper, more impactful bass. That’s just a general fact of speakers, so much so that comparing two speakers of substantially different sizes like this almost seems unfair.
But it is fair enough to ask whether the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 sounds good enough for your needs, considering that it costs about half as much and is far more portable.
For most home listeners, the Megaboom 3 is certainly enough. It goes louder than you’d ever need or want for indoor spaces and delivers the most impressive, even bass for its size. Like its smaller cousin the Boom 3, the Megaboom 3 handles complexity quite well and has a studied, even, punchy profile characteristic of Ultimate Ears. The audio and tech critics and consumer organizations have been highly uniform in their praise of the Megaboom 3 for being the best-sounding speaker you can get at this price.
The Megaboom 3 offers 360-degree sound, meaning that it’s designed to be placed in the center of a room (or outdoor space) and sound even and lovely no matter which side of it you are facing. There is a hang loop, so with a cheap carabiner you can hang it from a hook, picnic table, or backpack strap, but placed on a nice solid wooden surface you can get a bit more oomph from the bass.
The Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is nevertheless a major step up in terms of sound, more approaching what you’d get from a dedicated home stereo system. Audio critics thus far have praised its thoroughly smooth delivery across all frequencies, excellent and convincing depth on the bass end, and sweetness at the top. There is an adaptive EQ feature which is supposed to sense the room, but most people seem to be more satisfied with adjusting the EQ themselves in the app (the same as you do on the Megaboom 3 and with other Ultimate Ears speakers).
The Hyperboom’s delivery is 180-degrees, so a bit more directional than the Megaboom 3, but still setting out a wide soundstage through its woofers and tweeters pointed out at angles from each other. The passive radiators are on the back, and so the bass gets a nice boost in depth when the speaker is placed against a wall. There is more than enough volume to fill any indoor space and to cover a fairly large outdoor gathering as well; this is an optimal tailgating or backyard party speaker—the Megaboom 3 also goes plenty loud for these things, but the Hyperboom is your choice if you really want to pump up volume or deliver more bass that can be felt even outside.
For those who are willing to carry an even bigger speaker, we think the JBL PartyBox 100 sounds better than the Hyperboom—and it’s cheaper—but it’s much heavier to lug around. JBL also has two somewhat smaller boombox-sized speakers to consider: the JBL Xtreme 2 and JBL Boombox 2, which as we explain in that review sound amazing and are cheaper than the Hyperboom. We say all this in spite of the fact that in most cases we tend to like Ultimate Ears a bit more than JBL.
Feature Differences of the Megaboom 3 and Hyperboom
Ultimate Ears is fairly consistent in its designs across its full range of speaker offerings, so there aren’t a lot of differences between the Megaboom 3 and Hyperboom in terms of features, but there are a few to be aware of:
- The Megaboom 3 is fully IP67 dustproof and waterproof, meaning it can be dunked underwater for 30 minutes with no ill effects. The Hyperboom is IPX4 rated, meaning that it is not dustproof and it is rated to survive the odd splash, but don’t put it in the pool or bathtub. Valient, reckless users report that the Megaboom 3 survives drops quite well; we wouldn’t expect the same from the Hyperboom. So in all, the Megaboom 3 is the far more durable speaker.
- The Hyperboom has two audio inputs that the Megaboom 3 lacks: for 3.5 mm (mini/headphone) and optical (for game consoles or TVs). This makes it an excellent living room or TV room speaker as well. The updated Bluetooth connection should make it sync quite well with video, though we haven’t seen any problems in that respect on the Megaboom 3 either.
- Battery life is rated ridiculously long for both; 20 hours for the Megaboom 3 and 24 hours for the Hyperboom. In the real world this will vary depending especially on the loudness of your music, but it’s far more than most people need for any practical use.
- Both can be combined with other Ultimate Ears PartyUp speakers in the app, so with multiple speakers you can make a bigger party. Thus one option to consider is to get two Megaboom 3 speakers in lieu of the Hyperboom for about the same cost to cover a wide area with music on the go. This way you can only take one of them at times that you want to be more portable. However, for most uses, I’d prefer a single Hyperboom myself; it’s just one thing to carry, even if it’s much bigger.
- The Hyperboom allows you to charge a phone or other device off of the speaker’s battery via the USB-A out port. This is great in a pinch, though we recommend you just carry a dedicated external battery for travel.
Similarities for the Hyperboom and the Megaboom 3 are the dead-simple operation with oversized volume buttons and the dedicated app, and the two-year warranty, which is outstanding compared to competitors, who generally offer one year. I’ve had and used Ultimate Ears speakers constantly for many more years than that without issue.
Wrap-up: So How Big Do You Want to Go with Your Big Ultimate Ears Speaker?
We highly recommend either of these speakers; it comes down essentially to how much you’re willing to plop down for them, and how much weight you want to shoulder.
We carefully link to the best prices and genuine products at Amazon, but for the Megaboom 3 do check the various color options at the link, as some are available at discounts, sometimes.
Pricing at our last check for the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom was much better at the direct from Ultimate Ears link below; Amazon was out of stock or expensive.