Ultimate Ears Intros UE MEGABOOM: A Bigger, Better, Bolder Portable Speaker

Ultimate Ears Intros UE MEGABOOM: A Bigger, Better, Bolder Portable Speaker

Ultimate Ears, the company behind the insanely successful UE BOOM portable Bluetooth speaker it introduced a little over a year ago, has finally released its third next-generation portable speaker with a design so familiar you'll probably have deju vu. The UE MEGABOOM is Ultimate Ears' thumpier sounding and longer-lasting portable speaker that just so happens to look identical to its now somewhat smaller brother – the UE BOOM. Not that we're complaining. We actually think the UE BOOM's ultra-durable design is one of the best around. And although the UE MEGABOOM features the same durable waterproof cylindrical design covered in rubber and a stain-resistant acoustic nylon mesh skin, as well as the same amazing immersive 360-degree audio output, it does have a few significant improvements over the UE BOOM model like longer wireless Bluetooth range of up to 100ft (compared to 50ft), extended 20-hour battery life (compared to 15-hours), and for the first time the UE MEGABOOM will be able to receive wireless over-the-air firmware updates.

But most importantly, the UE MEGABOOM also features enhanced audio performance thanks to its larger dual 2-inch active drivers and dual 2-inch by 4-inch passive bass radiators promising "deep, heart-pounding bass". This compared to the dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual 2-inch passive bass radiators of the UE BOOM. Our only gripe when we reviewed Ultimate Ears' UE BOOM was that it lacked deep bass and we're very curious to hear how the UE MEGABOOM will fare with its enhanced drivers.

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iLuv Debuts SyrenPro Bluetooth Speaker With Weather-Resistant Body

Joining iLuv's Syren line of Bluetooth speakers is the SyrenPro, a weather and splash-resistant Bluetooth speaker featuring TrueWireless Stereo - which allows users to wirelessly pair two units to create a powerful stereo sound system similar to Ultimate Ears' highly regarded dual-pairing UE Boom and Mini Boom portable speakers. The SyrenPro speaker is ready to face the elements with its new weather and UV-resistant body, making it the ideal speaker for outdoor entertainment. iLuv's new TrueWireless Stereo feature allows two SyrenPro units to be paired wirelessly via Bluetooth, creating a full stereo sound system.

The speaker also features iLuv’s jAura sound technology which delivers a perfect balance of high, middle and low range frequencies, while its unique design creates a sound chamber for deep, rich bass. Its 3" co-axial speaker driver delivers powerful, high fidelity 360 degree sound capable of filling rooms and outdoor areas much similar to the UE Boom and Sound Blaster AXX 200 portable wireless speakers. For convenience, SyrenPro includes voice prompts for easy pairing and an aux-in port to connect to devices without Bluetooth. It is powered by a rechargeable battery for up to 4 hours of playtime. iLuv's SyrenPro Bluetooth speaker is available in black and white, and will be available later this month for $150. 

Nir Schneider


JBL Reveals Unique Spark, Pebbles Speakers

JBL has debuted two new radically designed speakers today at IFA 2013 in Berlin. JBL's $129 Spark is a swanky wireless, cone-shaped indoor speaker with a bright colorful translucent enclosure that features two high-performance 40mm audio drivers for room-filling stereo sound output as well as a "tuned" bass port which JBL suggests results in a "crisp, clean, high-end, sound with a warm, rich bass response in a versatile shape that you can take anywhere." With a compact size and a 7" diameter cone, the Spark's megaphone-inspired unique design also allows it to be hanged on a wall or placed on a table as you wirelessly stream your music using a Bluetooth connection. JBL's Spark includes a stainless steel hanging hook and a fabric cord with inline controls - we didn't expect to find that on a wireless speaker that's for sure. No cool lighting effects unfortunately.

On the other hand, JBL's affordably priced Pebbles is an actual desktop computer stereo speaker system consisting of two left and right speakers rather than a single portable speaker you can travel with. The Pebbles speaker system is USB powered and connected featuring a sharp looking rounded design with an upright standing form factor. They feature dual 50mm audio drivers that deliver "best-in-class natural sound, with clarity in the high end and deep, sonorous bass", a brushed radial metal-accented rotating volume control dial on the side, built-in cable management and an auxiliary 3.5mm audio input for a broader device connectivity.

JBL's Pebbles speaker system will be available in multiple color choices for $59. No official release date has been announced for either speakers, but we're sure they'll hit retail shelves later this month.

Jawbone Updates Big Jambox With Improved Battery Life, Bluetooth Connectivity

Jawbone released an update for its Big Jambox wireless speaker today that adds support for the PS Vita and improved battery life among other enhancements and improvements. The Big Jambox v2.0 update is available now thru Jawbone's MyTalk cloud service. The v2.0 update in more detail:

  • Improved audio streaming and fewer dropouts at greater distances with AAC support
  • Two additional hours of battery life and better battery life on paired devices
  • Control volume from either your mobile device or BIG JAMBOX; volume stays in sync
  • Disable all voice prompts and tones with Silent Mode
  • Improved LED response, PS Vita connectivity and various performance enhancements

Nir Schneider


Jabra Announces New Mobile Speakers In The Speak 510 Series

Typically known for their bluetooth headsets, Jabra announced yesterday the Speak 510 Series of devices for the mobile worker. The Speak 510 was designed for people who need audio conferencing on the go. The device can be plugged in via a USB cord or used wirelessly using Bluetooth for your smartphone or tablet. The 510+ cuts the cord and uses a USB dongle to wirelessly connect devices. Both come with 15 hours of talk time, a travel case and work on PC’s and Mac’s alike. The 510 is now available on Amazon for $149.99 with the 510+ coming out later this March for $179.99.

Bem Wireless Speaker Trio System Splits Into Three Speakers

Bem Wireless wants to make your listening pleasure all the more convenient with its new Speaker Trio, a wireless speaker system that combines three individual wireless speakers you can place anywhere you'd like within a 120 feet (36.5 meters). The three speakers stream music wirelessly over a Bluetooth connection with a base station that also doubles as a wireless conductive charging bay. Yeah, no AirPlay with these. But you are going to pay $300 for the Speaker Trio. Each of the three 6-inch cube-shaped speakers features a soft-touch rubber finish, bottom glow lightning effect, touch-sensitive volume buttons and a 6 hour battery life. The Speaker Trio's base has a Bluetooth range distance of 25 feet (7.6 meters), and pairs up with your iOS device to stream music wirelessly which is played thru all three speakers simultaneously.

Bem Wireless claims its Speaker Trio speakers are capable of powerful sound with pounding beats, but we're going to remain skeptical about the sound quality these can actually produce in person. You can purchase the Speaker Trio starting today in black or white colors for $300. The company is also selling a smaller, portable version of its Speaker Trio as a 2.5" solo speaker called the Mobile Speaker - which is available in more vibrant colors for $100 each.

Petite Square: A Sleek Wooden Bluetooth Speaker

Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen, you can find them everywhere and it becomes increasingly hard to discover one that stands out. A new project on the crowd sourcing website, Indiegogo, looks to change that. Petite Square is a new type of Bluetooth speaker that is made of a 50,000 year old wood found only in New Zealand.

Ancient Kauri is said to be the oldest workable wood available and is used to craft violins, furniture and now, the Petite Square. Each speaker is a handmade 2 inch square with a pair of them being able to produce stereo quality sound. The Bluetooth enabled speaker lasts 15 hours on each charge and comes in over 10 different colors. Currently in their working prototype phase, they look to raise enough funds to begin mass production this April. The Petite Square starts at $59.