UE Boom 2 vs JBL Flip 3: Which Is The Best?

Sometimes single reviews can be limiting in how they help us really get the best idea of a marketplace. Comparing products can often produce the best results when trying to understand a particular product.

This is never more true than with speakers, different speakers have different features and figuring out which suits you best can be an arduous task if you’re not tech savvy.

Moreover, if you aren’t an audio engineer or audiophile, then it can often be best to seek an expert’s opinion on what actually sounds the best as sound and audio quality can be its own subjective pursuit.

UE, or Ultimate Ears, and JBL are two name brands when it comes to audio engineering and specifically handheld, mobile, speaker creation. So these two are potentially the best brands to compare, not to mention their ever popular UE Boom 2 and JBL Flip 3 models.

We have done a comparison so that you can figure out which model is best for your specific circumstance. Read on to find out who comes out on top.

UE Boom 2

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Portable Waterproof & Shockproof Bluetooth Speaker - Cherrybomb Edition

JBL Flip 3

JBL FLIP3 Flip Bluetooth Speaker Black

Design and Build Quality: Who Wins?

Both of these speakers have been engineered for the purposes of travel and mobility. They are both made with travel in mind, so that you can take your speaker to the park, a friend’s house, or in the bathroom, and still be able to tear the roof off.

If customizable design is important to you, then UE Boom 2 wins as there are a variety of themes, designs, and block colors available for this speaker, you can even buy skins, the JBL just doesn’t compare in the design variety even while you can get it in different colors.

The JBL Flip 3 is made from splash proof material, this means that if you’re by the pool and the speaker gets wet then this is no cause for concern. But this does mean that if the JBL Flip 3 falls into the pool, and is fully submerged underwater, then you may want to start worrying.

In comparison the UE Boom 2 is completely waterproof, which means, if you wanted to, you could leave it underwater.

I suppose this depends on what you’re doing with the speaker. If it’s important that you can get some practical use out of the water proof build, such as using it in the shower, then this is an important feature.

But because you can’t actually listen to music underwater anyway, some find the full waterproof build to be a bit of a gimmick.

Both speakers have the same circular barrel design that allows the speaker to encompass the whole circumference of the barrel. Both are around the size of a beer can, so they are both perfectly suited for throwing in your bag before you go, not walking around with a boombox on your shoulder.

This 360 degree sound effect is actually really useful when you are outside, you can all sit around the speaker and have the same audio experience which is often a problem with out handheld speakers, that they have to be directed toward the listener rather than simply putting it down and pressing play.

If specifics bother you the JBL Flip 3 is 450g vs 548g for the UE Boom 2, which is nearly 100g lighter. The JBL Flip 3 is 64mm vs 180mm for the UE Boom 2 which is 116mm shorter. This comes to around 14% less body volume, if that is something that matters to you.

To sum that up, the JBL Flip 3 is slightly smaller and lighter than the UE Boom 2, you should factor this into how you plan to use and move your speaker.

Features

Both speakers have pretty standard features for these travel-grade speakers. Both have the ability to change or pause a song without actually touching your connected device, you just tap or shake to change the song and tap to pause. This can be really helpful when out and about, but makes it hard to compare the two.

One feature worth bringing up is the noise-cancelling microphone in the JBL Flip 3. The UE Boom 2 does also have a microphone, but it isn’t noise cancelling. This is a pretty pointless feature that most people won’t use, but if you think you will then it’s worth thinking about.

What is also cool about these speakers is that if you want to you can connect more than one speaker for double the audio excellence. If your friend has the same speaker you can bring them both to the park and combine forces to play music, just make sure to share the aux.

Again, both speakers can do this, so this doesn’t change much. Software updates also mean that both speakers can access Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana.

Battery Life

One of the biggest qualities people look for in a mobile bluetooth speaker, is the battery life. Of course, both speakers require a USB connection in order to charge, this is the same on both devices.

However, if you are taking your speaker into the wild, or even in your garden, nothing poops a party more than when the speaker dies and you have to wait for it to charge up. If you are camping or far away from a plug socket, then this can be a defining factor.

As this is a numbers game, or an hours game, it’s easy to compare. Simply put, the UE Boom 2 claims a 15 hour battery life on a new product with fully charged batteries, and the JBL Flip 3, in the same circumstances, lasts around 10 hours.

So if battery life is a defining factor, then consider how much the extra 5 hours of battery life will mean to you.

Both speakers also make you aware how much battery life is left, which is super helpful. On the JBL Flip there are five small LED indicators of how much battery life is left, whereas on the UE Boom 2 if you hold the + and – volume buttons together the speaker provides an audible read out of how much battery life you have left.

We found that having an audible read out is much easier and more accurate than relying on an arbitrary lights system.

Sound Quality: The Nitty And Gritty

Sound Quality is likely the biggest thing you want to know about the speakers, which is best? Unfortunately, it’s not so easy as saying one is better than the other in an objective fashion.

We can reduce it to another numbers game and let you decide based on your preferences.

If volume is an issue the UE Boom 2 has 112dB in comparison to 110dB, while this is only a 10 decibel difference, this definitely is audible when you listen to them in comparison.

Less decibels could also mean more control for the JBL Flip 3, depending on how you look at it. As these aren’t venue grade speakers the volume might not matter hugely if you are simply listening to music in the park or while camping.

The bass quality of the two speakers is quite interesting. The lowest frequency recorded on the JBL Flip 3 is 80hz in comparison to 90HZ on the UE Boom 2. This means that technically the bass quality on the JBL Flip is better as it has deeper and juicier bass.

Although, like the volume, this could mean that the UE Boom 2 has better control over the bass. If you listen to bass heavy music this could be a factor to take into consideration.

Both speakers boast a passive radiator, a passive radiator is a type of driver that doesn’t have a voice coil or a magnet, which allows the woofer to vibrate optimally creating the best bass sounds in a wireless speaker.

In terms of high frequency they both recorded the same 2000hz which is expected from a speaker, you wouldn’t want it higher than this anyway.

We found that there was pretty little difference in the general, all-purpose, sound quality of each speaker. Try them out for yourself and find out which you prefer.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Portable Waterproof & Shockproof Bluetooth Speaker - Cherrybomb Edition
  • Insanely good, loud 360degree sound with deep bass
  • Portable design so you can bring the music anywhere
  • Waterproof, shockproof, designed for adventure ( IPX7 rated waterproof up to 30 minutes and a depth of one meter)
  • Tap the speaker to play, pause or skip songs
  • Companion app and overtheair speaker updates
JBL FLIP3 Flip Bluetooth Speaker Black
  • Wireless Bluetooth streaming - wirelessly connect up to 3 Smartphones or Tablets to the speaker
  • Speakerphone - take Crystal clear calls from your speaker with the touch of a button thanks to the noise and Echo cancelling speakerphone
  • Splash proof - splash proof means no more worrying about rain or spills; you can even clean it with running tap water. Just don't submerge it

Final Thoughts

We found that the UE Boom 2 is generally of better quality then the JBL Flip 3, it has better battery life, a better build design, and most report better sound to come from the UE Boom even though the JBL Flip has a better bass capacity.

If sound quality does matter to you, what I would bear in mind is that the UE Boom 2 does cost around double the price of the JBL Flip, but that doesn’t mean that you will get double the sound quality by any means.

Both speakers are remarkably similar, beyond their price point, which is why people choose to compare them.

We generally found that the UE Boom won in nearly every department, but it is more expensive. The JBL Flip is particularly good if you’re on a budget and you want a specifically good bass output from your speaker.

Last update on 2021-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API