EarFun UBOOM L is an excellent small-ish Bluetooth speaker with the premium sound quality for the price. However, you first have to go through a tedious firmware update.
For the third year in a row, EarFun and Olaf Lubanski from Oluv’s gadgets (a YouTube channel) collaborated to bring you a carefully tuned product.
While the previous 2 products were limited editions, the EarFun UBOOM L outdoor speaker is here to stay. It would be a shame if not everyone had the option to buy one.
EarFun UBOOM L’s main feature is the sound quality, which is simply striking considering the size and price. You can’t get better realism under $200, and the UBOOM L sells for $80.
However, not all is perfect, as some design choices can be bothering.
Furthermore, an annoying firmware update is required to squeeze the most out of the speaker. More on that later.
Is that enough to be a deal breaker, or should you get the speaker right away?
Read our full review to make a more educated decision.
- Superb sound quality for the price
- Outdoor mode for better bass extension
- Good battery life (10h per charge)
- Video mode for improved audio latency
- Durable build with an IP67
- Stereo & party mode
- Protective rubber flap is difficult to open
- Annoying firmware updating
Oluv carefully squeezed the most out of this speaker and tuned it to sound close to neutral. However, due to the size, the bass is sometimes lacking.
Check EarFun UBOOM L Sound Comparison
Tuning is the most important aspect of sound quality. No matter how great the hardware is, it will sound terrible if the driver is poorly tuned.
While the smaller form factor of the EarFun UBOOM L (and possibly poorer driver quality to keep the price low) prevented Oluv from making something magical, he still managed to make one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $200.
But, to get the best sound quality, you must manually update the firmware. More on that later.
EarFun UBOOM L Frequency Response
Bass: Well-tuned but lacking depth
Smaller speakers will always struggle when it comes to bass. Physical restrictions prevent the drivers from producing an oomph that would make you shake your head.
Therefore, EarFun UBOOM L isn’t a party banger.
Much like the rest of the sound signature, the bass is neutral, with only a slight boost to make the bass kick more apparent.
In comparison, JBL Flip 6 is punchier, making music with faster double pedals slightly more enjoyable.
However, the UBOOM L is slightly better and less boomy when it comes to overall control.
Neither is particularly great when handling faster bass lines. But you will enjoy bass guitar slightly better on UBOOM L.
Midrange: Natural, simply natural
If EarFun UBOOM L is a master of anything, it’s the midrange. It handles it with excellent clarity and realism.
Although midrange isn’t the most detailed, the vocals and instruments have a natural sound reproduction. The snare drum at Nightwish’s beginning of “Seven Days to the Wolves” sounds as if it’s played right in front of you.
Unlike JBL Flip 6 with a boost in vocal range, EarFun UBOOM L gives every instrument and vocal an equal chance to shine, giving a more pleasant listening experience.
Albeit, to some, it might sound a bit too muted if they’re used to JBL and other more party-tuned speakers.
Treble: Crisp but smooth
High frequencies are free of any sharpness that would pierce your eardrums, which is often an issue with Bluetooth speakers.
Instead, EarFun UBOOM L opts for a butter-smooth treble with good extension.
It’s quite crisp and relatively detailed. The quality is on par with the JBL Flip 6, which even has a dedicated tweeter.
However, it’s worth noting that the treble is again very neutral, so it might get lost in the mix when played outdoors.
For that reason, the speaker comes with Outdoor mode, which boosts the treble and bass. While that makes the sound a bit harsher indoors, it works well when played outside.
The Outdoor mode is also great for adding extra bite to rock and metal music.
Another thing worth mentioning is that due to the lack of a dedicated tweeter, the sound isn’t as dispersed as on JBL Flip 6. So, you have to be more careful where you place it to get the best sound experience.
How loud is EarFun UBOOM L?
While it’s slightly bigger than JBL Flip 6, it’s marginally weaker at 28W (compared to 30W) and quieter at max volume. Especially when using the Indoor mode.
That being said, enabling Outdoor mode can fill up a medium-sized room well enough. Just don’t expect EarFun UBOOM L to handle your next disco party.
Furthermore, the speaker raises the volume very gradually, so you find your perfect loudness. It also retains audio quality at high volumes better than the Flip 6. The latter gets harsh at around 60% compared to 70-80% with the UBOOM L.
Overall, EarFun UBOOM L is a fantastic Bluetooth speaker if you want audiophile-grade balanced sound under $100. Oluv truly did a great job here.
Of course, don’t expect this speaker to shake your body with bass. It’s meant for casual listening and not partying.
The speaker is made with hard rubber and a durable fabric cover and is rated for IP67 dust and waterproof protection. Unfortunately, ports are protected with an annoying rubber flap.
While a pool party isn’t the primary destination for EarFun UBOOM L, it can survive one.
The speaker has an IP67 rating, meaning complete dust and water resistance. You can easily splash it or dunk it in water. Just don’t throw it in the pool as the speaker can’t float.
Don’t forget, to get full water protection, you must keep the rubber flap (covering the USB-C and AUX ports) closed.
Speaking of the flap, it’s complicated to open with bare hands. It’s closed very tightly, so it requires some force to open.
Consequently, you need long fingernails or a tool (like a screwdriver) to open it up. While that improves the speaker’s durability, it’s also extremely annoying and time-consuming.
Moving to the housing, it’s very rigid with a hard rubber outer layer. It isn’t as cylindrical as JBL Flip 6 but uses the exact passive radiator placement as the latter.
Regarding dual passive radiators, they’re protected by being slightly dented into the housing.
While that protects them from drops on even surfaces, they might scuff or damage if the speaker falls on rocks or something uneven.
Moreover, the UBOOM L uses a similar fabric to cover the drivers as JBL speakers. It’s a mixture of a metal cage covered with tough nylon-like fabric.
All in all, the UBOOM L is a well-made speaker that will survive a bit of abuse.
Almost 10 hours of battery life will last you through a party, but that’s still 6 hours shy of what’s advertised. Also, the speaker lacks fast charging and takes 4 hours to fully charge.
EarFun UBOOM L Battery Comparison
Despite EarFun saying that the UBOOM L will last up to 16 hours on a single charge, I got 6 hours less during testing. And that’s with 50% volume.
I even turned the speaker on again after it shut down due to the “battery low” prompt and let it play to really squeeze every last minute out of it. But alas:
- EarFun UBOOM L managed 9 hours and 55 minutes.
While that’s still more than good enough for a lengthy evening with your friends, it’s still far from ideal. Especially since 50% volume on the UBOOM L isn’t particularly loud.
Size doesn’t necessarily matters when it comes to battery life. While it’s understandable that Treblab HD Max, a beefy speaker, lasts more than 25 hours, a smaller JBL Flip 4 also lasts 1.5 hours more than EarFun UBOOM L.
Furthermore, the speaker doesn’t support fast charging through a USB-C port.
- It takes 4 hours to recharge from 0-100%.
And, you don’t get the “power bank” option to charge other devices either.
You get all the necessary features and more, like a built-in mic, but there should be an app to simplify firmware updating.
EarFun UBOOM L is an $80 Bluetooth speaker, so you can’t expect it to have all the features in the world.
The essential ones, like controls, work very well. There’s even a built-in microphone for making phone calls. But it doesn’t impress. More on that later.
Furthermore, the speaker lets you pair to another UBOOM L speaker to form a stereo or party mode. However, it won’t let you go crazy and pair 100+ speakers to play simultaneously (like with JBL and Anker).
A more affordable price starts to show with the lack of a companion app.
Companion apps are useful for tweaking EQ and handling firmware updates. While the first one isn’t necessary, finding an easier way to update the firmware would be welcome. Unfortunately, you have to update it to get the most out of EarFun UBOOM L.
How to update the firmware?
It seems that through multiple revisions, Oluv didn’t deliver his final tuning on time for the production, meaning that all UBOOM L’s come with outdated firmware and a slightly worse tuning.
Thankfully, EarFun is making all firmware updates publicly available, with instructions on how to update them. However, there are 2 problems.
- Firstly, there are no indications on the official site or inside the packaging that you must update the firmware to get the most out of the speaker.
- And secondly, updating firmware might take a lot of time. I was successful only after my 20th attempt.
I tried at least 3 USB-C cables that I knew for sure could transfer data. But the app finally recognizes the speaker after trying the one that came with my smartphone (with USB-C plugs on both ends).
How to update firmware on EarFun UBOOM L?
- First, you must find a USB-C cable capable of transferring data (the included one is for charging only). Preferably use the one that came with your smartphone.
- Install the Multimedia Product Tool app that you can find on this link. The folder contains the app and the latest firmware file.
- Open the app after installing it.
- Keep the speaker turned off and start holding the “Bluetooth” button. Plug the USB-C cable into the speaker and computer.
- If the app manages to recognize your speaker, release the Bluetooth button.
- Click on the button with 2 arrows forming a circle and find the folder with the firmware file. Add the new firmware.
- Next, click on the bigger button on the bottom with an arrow pointing down. That will install the new firmware on your device. The process takes a few seconds.
- After the app tells you the update was successful, unplug the speaker and start listening.
EarFun UBOOM L has a hardly usable microphone, regardless of the situation.
EarFun UBOOM L Microphone Test
The main reason to use the UBOOM L’s built-in mic is to summon the smart assistant of choice. It may also come in handy for hands-free operation.
Otherwise, the call quality is poor, even in excellent conditions with very little background noise. Your voice is somewhat understandable but very muffled.
In a noisier place, the mic first takes around 10 seconds to turn on noise reduction. Despite that, your voice gets even more muffled and is difficult to understand.
EarFun UBOOM L offers a good connection range, stereo/party mode to connect two speakers, minimal audio lag with Movie mode, and an additional AAC Bluetooth codec.
The indoor connection range is about average. I managed to walk around 60 feet (18m) and pass 2 brick walls before the connection started cutting off.
On the other hand, the outdoor test showed much better results, with the Bluetooth 5.0 connection going strong even after 177 feet (54m).
Meaning you shouldn’t have any connection issues, regardless of the situation.
How is pairing?
- Pairing is as easy as it gets. Simply press the Bluetooth button, and the speaker should become available for pairing.
- To pair it to a second device, repeat the above steps.
How to pair 2 speakers in Stereo/Party mode?
- First, you pair speaker A to your smartphone.
- Then you turn on speaker B.
- With both speakers active, you hold the Bluetooth button on both speakers for at least 3 seconds. Blue flashing LEDs mean that speakers are connecting to your smartphone. Speakers are paired when LEDs stop flashing.
Once paired, speaker A will play left, and speaker B the right channel.
What Bluetooth Codec Does It Use?
EarFun UBOOM L uses SBC and AAC, which is a bit surprising. Nevertheless, that should cover Apple users and improve their experience.
Is There an Audio Lag?
In normal mode, the audio lag is very noticeable, making movie watching experience unbearable.
Thankfully, the speaker has a Movie mode activated by double pressing the Bluetooth button.
The mode significantly improves the latency (apparently below 150ms). Enough so that the audio appears perfectly in sync when watching YouTube.
It’s worth noting that the mode reduces Bluetooth range down to around 50 feet.
But that shouldn’t be a problem if you use it in the same room as your smartphone or laptop.
Should You Get EarFun UBOOM L?
EarFun UBOOM L might not be the loudest nor the most feature-packed outdoor speaker on the market. Also, due to its size, it can’t produce the deepest bass notes as you might hope.
If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker with a smooth flat response and realistic sound signature, EarFun UBOOM L is your best option.
Just be aware that you’ll have to play with firmware updates a little to squeeze the most out of it.
How does EarFun UBOOM L compare to the competition?
- It offers far superior sound quality and neutral tuning as any other outdoor speaker under $80 and even below $200.
- It provides similarly rigid and waterproof construction with an IP67 rating as most of the competition.
- The speaker has an AAC codec for Apple users and Video mode to reduce audio latency, which most portable Bluetooth speakers lack.
- The battery is slightly above average with around 10 hours on 50% volume.
- While it works well out of the box, you must install the latest firmware to get the most out of the speaker. Other speakers come with final firmware already installed or use an app for future updates.
EarFun UBOOM L Alternatives
JBL Flip 6
Very natural sounding but not quite as much as the UBOOM L. It focuses more on the punch and vocals, bringing them forward in the mix.
Design-wise, the Flip 6 is more cylindrical and an inch smaller. It uses a mono driver instead of two but comes with a tweeter for better sound dispersion.
It offers an app with EQ, Party/Stereo mode for up to 100 speakers, and easier firmware updating. However, it has worse battery life at 8 hours per charge.
A more punch-focused speaker to bring out the fun to the sound, but not as clear nor transparent as the UBOOM L.
It has a similar shape as the Flip 6, and even worse battery at only 7 hours on a single charge, and a micro-USB port instead of USB-C.
It’s also not as durable, with an IPX6 rating.
Treblab HD Max
A much bigger and heavier speaker with a more thumping bass but not by much. It gets louder but is also more muffled compared to the UBOOM L.
It is cylindrical and comes with a shoulder strap for easier transportation.
The speaker’s biggest surprise is the battery life of 25 hours on a single charge, with an option to charge other devices as well.
What’s in the Box?
- EarFun UBOOM L Bluetooth speaker
- USB-C charging cable
- User guide
|Connection:||Bluetooth 5.0 + wired 3.5mm|
|Drivers:||2x 55mm dynamic (2x 14W)|
|Mic & Controls:||Yes (both)|
|Charging time:||4h – USB-C|
|Active noise cancelling:||No|
|Bluetooth codecs:||SBC, AAC|
|Wireless range:||60ft (indoors), 177ft+ (outdoors)|
|Microphone:||One, with noise reduction|