Best Alternative to the UE Wonderboom

Ultimate Ears
Ultimate Ears (Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

The Bose SoundLink Micro is the best alternative to the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom. It's compact, water-resistant, and has unmatched sound for a speaker of its size.

With Bose, BIG sound comes in small packages.

If you're looking for an ultra-portable speaker that provides better sound than it has any right to, then the Bose SoundLink Micro is your best option. It's also quite reasonably priced for a Bose product.

Who should buy this Bluetooth speaker?

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While the UE Wonderboom is UE's most portable Bluetooth speaker option, its sound coincides with the limits of its size. That's a fair compromise when you consider the Wonderboom's price, but if you're a bit of an audiophile or just want a little more punch in your Bluetooth speaker's sound, then you want the Bose SoundLink Micro.

With an IPX7 water-resistance rating, the SoundLink Micro is perfect for outdoor activities.

The entire SoundLink line has been impressing me for years. Bose took its time developing its Bluetooth speakers, but it was worth the wait when they finally hit, and they've only been getting better with every iteration. The SoundLink Micro is perfect for outdoor activities, like tossing it in your backpack while you're hiking or having it by the pool for a relaxing day in the sun with some good tunes.

At $99, the SoundLink Micro isn't cheap for a Bluetooth speaker this size, but that's still plenty affordable, especially for a Bose product. So to answer the question of who should buy this Bluetooth speaker: everyone!

Is it a good time to buy this Bluetooth speaker?

Emphatically, yes. The SoundLink Micro was only released in September 2017, so it's still quite early in its life cycle. There haven't been any rumblings of Bose releasing a second iteration any time soon, and even if there were, the new one would likely be considerably more expensive at launch.

When I say "class," I mean ultra-portable Bluetooth speakers. Larger speakers, like the UE Boom 3, will still sound better, but for a device this size, it's hard to beat that bass. It's actually surprising the first time you turn it on how good the sound is.

The SoundLink Micro includes a microphone for accessing Siri or Google Assistant, as well as for making and taking phone calls. So if you're in the pool and don't want to get out, you don't have to. And don't be afraid of giving the SoundLink Micro a splash either — IPX7 means it can survive being submerged in up to 3 feet of water for half an hour (just dry it off really well if it does fall in).

The Bose SoundLink Micro offers audio quality that belies its size — especially in the low end.

While I agree that $99 is a big ask for a portable Bluetooth speaker (especially such a small one), what you're paying for is the Bose name, Bose sound, and a distinct upgrade from other speakers like this. That's not to say the UE Wonderboom, for example, sounds like garbage, because it's doesn't. But if the Wonderboom's a hard 7/10 for sound. The Bose is easily a 9 to 9.5.

If the Bose SoundLink Micro doesn't catch your fancy, then check out these options. Whether you're motivated by price or a different form factor, these other options should work splendidly for you.

Braven Stryde 360

Great price, great sound, great look — what more do you need?

Reasons to buy

Excellent bass for the size
IPX7 water resistance
Compact and super portable

Reasons to avoid

Kind of pricey for a Bluetooth speaker
Battery life is average at best

Braven's Stryde 360 has been my go-to water-resistant speaker for over a year now. Its $60 price tag is easy to swallow and it sounds great. It's a little bigger than the Wonderboom or SoundLink Micro, but if you're looking for an affordable, good-looking water-resistant speaker, you can't go wrong with the Stryde 360.

That "360" moniker isn't just a name — the Stryde 360 is designed with omnidirectional sound in mind, and for all intents and purposes, it delivers. It's larger bass drivers provide a surprisingly warm low end for an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, and its button controls are excellent — everything works exactly as it should.

VTIN Portable Bluetooth Speaker

If you don't want to spend too much money on a portable, water-resistant speaker, VTIN is where it's at.

VTIN makes fine, inexpensive speakers that are actually quite a bit better than their price might indicate. This one doesn't have 10/10 sound, but for the price, it's excellent.

I've had a VTIN speaker for over two years and have loved it. You really cannot go wrong for the price. This iteration has an extra bass boost mode that provides considerable bass for a speaker this size, and while it can't handle full submersion in water, it can take powerful jets, so it's more than perfect for a rainy day or tunes during a water gun fight.

Bottom line

The Bose SoundLink Micro is your next best option if the UE Wonderboom just doesn't do it for you. It offers unparalleled sound in a speaker this size, solid bass, and it comes in three colors to match your style.

The price — $99 — is quite reasonable when you consider the original SoundLink from some years ago started off at $300, and its water-resistance is perfect for any and every environment.

Mick Symons

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.