Ultimate Ears Boom 3 vs Bose SoundLink Mini 2: Which should you buy?

Red Ultimate Ears UE Boom 3
Red Ultimate Ears UE Boom 3 (Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

The breakdown

When comparing these speakers, it really comes down to what you're looking for in a Bluetooth speaker, because while both speakers are similar sizes and prices, they have pretty clear differences that make them better for different uses.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Boom 3Bose SoundLink Mini II
Battery life15 hours10 hours
Water resistanceIP67None
Bluetooth range45 meters30 meters
AUX PortNoYes
Weight608 grams680 grams
Charging cradleExtra accessoryIncluded

Just by looking at these two speakers, you can already tell where each company sees its device excelling.

The Boom 3 carries the torch and leads the way when it comes to the portability aspect of a speaker this small. The rugged, but stylish design keeps the Boom 3 safe from harm, easy to hold in your hand, and the IP67 rating ensures you can get it wet without compromising its functionality. This is the speaker you bring to your friend's pool party to blast your favorite tunes from breakfast to supper, and still have enough battery power to enjoy music around the fire in the evening. Its 15-hour battery life is a whole five hours longer than the SoundLink Mini 2, and its Bluetooth range is greater, meaning for more situations the Boom 3 is the better pick.

While the Bose SoundLink Mini II is clearly not as portable as the Boom 3 — from the design, the lack of IP rating, and the shorter battery life — it has a better overall sound quality and the included AUX port means you can enjoy better audio fidelity through a wired connection.

Your choice comes down to how loud you want to use your speaker and where.

This is the kind of speaker you put in your living room. Let it sit in the same place and enjoy the amazing and powerful sound that something as small as the SoundLink Mini II really shouldn't be able to produce. It's the amazing bass sound quality that really takes the cake, and the dual passive radiators do a fantastic job of making the bass warm and clear, so it never muddies the sound. Plus, the included charging cradle (the Boom 3 has one, but it costs an extra $40) ensures that regardless of where you put the speaker, the SoundLink Mini II will always be charged at ready to go.

So which should you choose? It all comes down to how loud you want to use your speaker and where. If you're looking for something that's truly portable, sounds great, and has the added features of a companion app, then the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is the way to go.

If you're the type of person looking for a speaker that sounds absolutely incredible, and you don't plan to carry it around from place to place too often, the Bose SoundLink Mini II is the way to go.

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.