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Budget-friendly Bluetooth speakers are pretty common these days, so it takes impressive performance or noteworthy features to stand out from the pack. The $49.99 Earfun UBoom is unique in that it has a waterproof design that makes it safe to use on the beach or near the pool, and it can be paired with a second UBoom for true stereo sound. Its audio performance won’t wow you, but it’s a solid way to get wireless stereo sound for just $100.

Design

The UBoom is a black, fabric-colored cylinder that stands 6.5 inches tall, with a slight taper from 3.4 inches wide at the bottom to 2.4 inches wide at the top. It’s much bigger than the similarly priced Sony SRS-XB12 and JBL Clip 3, closer in size and shape to the more powerful UE Boom.

The top panel holds six buttons for power, Bluetooth, volume up and down, play/pause, and toggling between indoor and outdoor modes. A yellow cloth loop extends from the back edge of the top of the speaker, letting you hang it on a hook (though its larger, cylindrical size makes it much harder to dangle from anything than the Clip 3). A rubber door below the loop, near the bottom of the speaker, covers a USB-C port for power and a 3.5mm aux input. A USB-A-to-USB-C cable is included, but not a 3.5mm cable.

The speaker is carries an IPX7 rating, which means it can be completely submerged in water without damage. The waterproof design means you can use it outdoors without worry, though it isn’t formally ruggedized against drops.

Features

According to Earfun, the UBoom can last up to 16 hours on a charge, and can charge completely in four hours. The speaker can also be paired with a second UBoom for stereo sound. Stereo pairing is regularly seen in larger speakers like the UE Boom and the Sonos One, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in a $50 Bluetooth speaker, which means you can get true stereo sound for just $100.

This is a Bluetooth-only speaker, but it can work with your phone’s voice assistant. Press and hold the multifunction play/pause button to get a voice prompt for Google Assistant or Siri. The built-in microphone also enables the UBoom to act as a speakerphone.

Performance

While the UBoom is larger than most $50 Bluetooth speakers, it doesn’t offer significantly more power or produce much in the way of bass. When playing our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” it didn’t produce any sense of force or resonance. The opening bass synth notes lack much low-end power, and the kick drum hits sound poppy to the point of almost distorting. It’s not surprising to hear weak bass from such an inexpensive speaker, but it doesn’t really follow through with the “Boom” in its name.

EarFun UBoom

The opening to Yes’ “Roundabout” gets a solid sense of string texture in the acoustic guitar plucks, but the higher frequencies sound a bit tinny and lack much finesse. When the track fully kicks in, the electric bass gets a nice funky punch, and the drums and vocals stand clearly in the forefront of the mix, but the guitar strums settle a bit farther back than they should, behind the bass. The performance isn’t surprising for the price, but considering the UBoom’s size we hoped for a bit more power and finesse.

The Crystal Method’s “Born Too Slow” sounds punchy, with the driving backbeat getting some low-mid presence but none of the lower-frequency response needed to make it sound really ominous. The screeching vocals and snares stand out in the mix, while the guitar riffs again sit a bit in the back. It’s not a particularly balanced sound, but the general thrust of the song comes through.

Pairing two speakers together produces a genuine stereo sound that sounds much bigger and more satisfying than a single mono speaker. To pair two UBooms together, just power them both on, pair one with your mobile device, then hold down the Bluetooth button on both for five seconds. They’ll find each other and sync up.

Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” in stereo on two UBooms provides excellent imaging, producing a larger soundstage that gives a much stronger sense of the direction from which the drums and vocals are coming. It’s a marked improvement over one speaker. Of course, it does require you buy two, so you’re doubling your investment in inexpensive Bluetooth audio.

Stereo Audio on a Budget

The Earfun UBoom speaker isn’t particularly powerful, but it’s affordable and waterproof, and you can pair two together for stereo sound. For sub-$100 waterproof speakers, we prefer the Sony SRS-XB12, which offers a bit more power, and the JBL Clip 3, which features a convenient carabiner-like design. If you want cheap stereo sound you can take to the pool, however, the Earfun UBoom is a solid deal.

EarFun UBoom Specs

Channels Mono
Bluetooth Yes
Wi-Fi No
Multi-Room No
Physical Connections 3.5mm
Portable Yes
Water-Resistant Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Voice Assistant None

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