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EarFun UBOOM L review: Big on bass and features with a couple drawbacks

The EarFun UBOOM L offers a lot of bass and good battery life at a decent price tag.

EarFun UBOOM L speaker in landscape playing music.
(Image: © Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Our Verdict

The EarFun UBOOM L excels at offering great bass, making it perfect for rock, hip-hop, and EDM, but its bass can overwhelm softer audio mediums. However, some of the other features, like the ability to lessen audio latency with video mode, make it one of the better options at its price point.

For

  • Excellent bass
  • Great battery life
  • Affordable price point
  • IP67 resistance rating
  • Video mode to reduce audio latency

Against

  • Bass can be overwhelming at louder volumes
  • Outdoor mode doesn't sound as good

The usefulness of a good Bluetooth speaker can't be overstated. They let you blast your favorite bangers and bops, can offer a cheap upgrade to laptop speakers, or even be an enhanced speaker phone if the situation calls for it.

Most of the best Bluetooth speakers (opens in new tab) these days are fairly portable, usually quite durable, and offer extra perks that solidify their usefulness.

So when I tried the EarFun UBOOM L, I was pleasantly surprised that this speaker seemingly had it all. And as I kept listening, I didn't find as many drawbacks as I thought I would for something in this price range. It's not perfect, but for the price, it may be the best speaker for many people.

EarFun UBOOM L: Price and availability

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The EarFun UBOOM L usually sells for $80 on Amazon or directly from EarFun itself. It only comes in one colorway, but it's a relatively new product to EarFun's lineup, so who knows what might come down the pipeline in the future.

At the time of this review's publication, there is an Amazon coupon for $10 off that can be applied, and we did see a small discount on the EarFun UBOOM L during Prime Day, meaning it's possible to grab this Bluetooth speaker for even less than it's listed price. Just be on the lookout for sales!

EarFun UBOOM L: What you'll like about this speaker

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

A lot of cheaper Bluetooth speakers will boast about having prominent bass, but the EarFun UBOOM L might be the first one I've tried that actually deserves the praise. For a 28W speaker, the two passive radiators on each end do a remarkable job pumping out the low-end tones. To its credit, the bass is very present but not overwhelming at reasonable volume levels. You can hear the mids and the trebles even when the bass is thumping, too. If you're cooking Sunday dinner and listening to this speaker play your favorite tunes, chances are it will sound pretty good to you.

Being bass forward does mean the UBOOM L is more suited to music genres that take advantage of that, like rock, EDM, and hip-hop. These will likely sound more robust playing through this speaker than any classical or jazz arrangement, but I took the time to listen to everything I could, and I never felt that the UBOOM L couldn't handle a certain type of music. I'll get to the caveat about how the speaker sounds in a bit, but overall, the sound quality is fairly decent — especially at its price point.  

Being bass forward does mean the UBOOM L is more suited to music genres that take advantage of that, like rock, EDM, and hip-hop.

So, it has good bass and sounds decent, but what else can it offer? One of the positives I've found in my time with the EarFun UBOOM L is the video mode. You might not even realize this is a feature unless you read the little instruction manual.

Press the Bluetooth pairing button twice, and a little white LED indicator will show you're in video mode. It'll decrease the Bluetooth latency, so you shouldn't have as many issues with out-of-sync audio when you are watching a video with the UBOOM L.

According to EarFun, you should be able to enjoy only a 150ms latency in video mode, whereas normal operation sits at 250ms. While I don't have a tool to measure the latency performance directly, I can say that in some situations, when I noticed my YouTube videos were out of sync with the audio, switching on video mode solved the issue. Some budget Bluetooth speakers I've used have had terrible latency, making watching videos extremely disorienting. This is the only speaker I've used that has this sort of feature, and considering it helped me a few times over the past couple of weeks, I'm happy it's included.

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The EarFun UBOOM L also has many great features you would expect from most portable Bluetooth speakers. If you don't want to use Bluetooth, you can easily plug in any device using the AUX port on the back. Right next to it is the USB-C port for charging. Both ports are located under a rubber seal that helps the UBOOM L maintain its IP67 resistance rating. With a high rating like that, the speaker should be able to handle anything you throw at it, including going underwater for a short time (although don't overdo it).

I'm happy to report it survived a quick dip into my friend's pool during my testing — kids and pool noodles aren't always a good combination. I haven't noticed any decrease in functionality or sound quality since that fateful afternoon.

The battery life on the UBOOM L is also quite good. The company says it can last about 16 hours, and in my testing, I found that to be pretty accurate. If you're blasting at full volume all the time, I would expect you to see a little less, but 16 hours is a very solid battery performance for a speaker this size. It outclasses a lot of other speakers I've used in its price range — perfect for a weekend trip. 

Plus, you can use it while charging, which not all Bluetooth speakers let you do (hint: the good ones do). However, charging takes about four hours if you're trying to juice it up from zero with no fast charging in sight, as far as I can tell.  

EarFun UBOOM L: What you won't like about this speaker

EarFun UBOOM L: Close up of control buttons on top of speaker.

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

I said earlier that the speaker sounds pretty great at a reasonable volume, but you'll start hearing problems when you crank up the volume. The bass becomes overwhelming, and the mids and highs get lost in the mix, which means your music ends up sounding too one-note. Obviously, the problem is compounded with bass-heavy music, but other genres that aren't as bass-heavy fare a little better in this regard.

The good news is that the speaker doesn't clip at loud volumes. The sound doesn't deteriorate; it's just that those passive radiators are a little too good at their job. Plus, it's important to note that your mileage may vary. You might love the mix at high volumes if bass-heavy music is your thing.

The EarFun UBOOM L features an outdoor mode, represented by a button (which looks like a little mountain) on the top of the speaker beside all the other controls. All this button seems to do is increase the loudness. Again, as someone who wasn't a huge fan of how the speaker handles max volume, it didn't interest me much. I certainly can see it being useful if you are, in fact, outdoors at a party and want to get all the juice you can out of it. But in general, I don't think the outdoor mode does many favors for the listening experience.

EarFun UBOOM L: The competition

(Image credit: iMore)

Oddly, EarFun UBOOM L's price point puts it in a unique position. It's not quite as affordable as truly budget Bluetooth speakers but not as expensive as a lot of the top brands in the space. 

Due to its feature set, a good comparison is the likely UE Boom 3 (opens in new tab). Undoubtedly, the UE Boom 3 has better sound quality than the EarFun speaker. It handles loud volumes more competently, has a more balanced sound overall, and has a 15-hour battery life comparable to the UBOOM L. Plus, both speakers are rugged, and can survive some splashing water or even a trip into the pool.

The UE Boom 3 has an app that lets you control the speaker and even customize the EQ, something the EarFun speaker can't do. However, the UE Boom 3 is $150 at its regular price. Though you can find it on sale for $120 a lot, that's still at least $40 more expensive than the EarFun UBOOM L. 

EarFun UBOOM L: Should you buy?

EarFun UBOOM L standing up with buttons facing forward

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

You should buy this if...

  • You like prominent bass in your music
  • You enjoy listening to music for long periods 
  • You watch a lot of videos with a Bluetooth speaker 

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You aren't a fan of a bass-heavy sound
  • You often like to blast music at full volume

Portable Bluetooth speakers are a great accessory for your best iPhone (opens in new tab), iPad, or Mac. They can make listening to music so much better than relying on built-in speakers, and the EarFun UBOOM L is a great example.

Yes, you have to accept the bass-heavy profile, but in my experience, it only becomes problematic when you push the volume above 85%. Blasting at full volume likely won't sound the best, but for most indoor spaces around your home, you'll never get to that volume level anyway.

It is great for taking outside though, thanks to its 16-hour battery life and IP67 rating. You don't have to worry about it dying right away or if it gets wet. Plus, as someone who watches many YouTube videos, the video mode to reduce latency is a nice treat. 

Despite the drawbacks, you can't really complain about what you get, especially since it'll cost you under $100. 

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.