EarFun Uboom L Review

EarFun Uboom L Review
Sounds better than the big brands, and costs a fraction of the price.

Pros
  • Great sound quality
  • Water-resistant
  • Can pair two for stereo sound
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Bass could be deeper
  • No colour options: just black
Our Verdict
  • If you’re after great-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t break the bank, look no further than the EarFun Uboom L.

You’ve probably heard of Sonos and JBL. You might possibly know of Anker, but will almost certainly draw a blank when it comes to EarFun.

And you’d be forgiven for that. There are literally hundreds of audio brands competing for your hard-earned cash: just search Amazon for Bluetooth speaker and you’ll see page upon page of results from brands that sound like they came from an automatic name generator.

EarFun, you’ll probably agree, doesn’t fare much better in this respect, but the good news is that the Bluetooth speakers it makes are exceptional.

Its first, the Uboom, wowed us with its great sound and build quality for a surprisingly low price.

The follow-up, the oddly named Uboom L, improves in every respect and although a bit more expensive, it still makes rival speakers from the big brands look ludicrously overpriced.

Features & Design

  • IPX7 water-resistant & floats
  • 2x 55mm drivers, 28W
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Up to 16 hours of battery life
A little larger than the Uboom, the Uboom L measures 8.3 x 3.1 x 3in (210 x 78 x 72mm) and weighs 2.1lb (650g).
EarFun Uboom L Review

It has the same black woven fabric covering and rubbery coating over the plastic frame. Unlike the Uboom, and Sonos Roam, it’s designed to be used horizontally and has two 55mm drivers and two passive bass radiators, one on each end.

Buttons are on top and are the same as on the Uboom. That means volume control, power, Bluetooth, play/pause and the sound mode button.
EarFun Uboom L Review

The latter switches between indoor and outdoor mode, but we’ll get to sound quality in a bit.

On the rear is a rubber cover with a 3.5mm aux input and a USB-C port for charging: a cable is included in the box, but not a charger.
EarFun Uboom L Review

EarFun’s strangely named Sweatshield technology simply means that the Uboom L is effectively waterproof and, because it floats, you could even put it in a pool and listen to it on the water. That isn’t recommended, though, especially if you care about sound quality.

The point is, you can use it outside without worrying it’ll be damaged by the rain, or an accidental drop into the sea.

EarFun claims a maximum Bluetooth range of 15m, and this applies even if you use the Uboom L’s party trick, which is true stereo playback. For this you need two Uboom Ls, but as well as costing less than a single Sonos Roam, it is supremely easy to get stereo sound from them.

As long as one is paired with your phone, you can turn on the second and press the Bluetooth button on both speakers for two seconds. They’ll beep to confirm and sound will be immediately played in stereo (assuming whatever you’re streaming is in stereo, that is).

There’s one more feature: with a built-in microphone, the Uboom L can be used for hands-free calls.

Sound Quality

One of the big attractions is that EarFun has turned to Olaf Lubanski, an Austrian music producer, to ‘tune’ the Uboom L.


I hadn’t heard of him before, but he clearly knows what he’s doing. His brief was to create an “honest and natural sound reproduction in all environments and at all sound levels”, and that has certainly been achieved.

If you want to know more, it’s worth watching Oluv’s 45-minute video.

Initially, I was disappointed with the lack of bass, but playing the same test tracks on the original Uboom and Uboom L side by side proved that the newcomer’s low frequencies are at least as good.

If you really want thumping bass, you’ll need to opt for a much larger speaker than these small, portable models.
EarFun Uboom L Review

What’s impressive is the clarity and separation of the Uboom L’s soundstage. And as Oluv states, the indoor sound mode has a nice, flat response which means bass, mids and highs are equally represented and none is emphasised over another.

Even with a single Uboom L, the soundstage is wider than the original Uboom’s with high hats and other high-frequency sounds seeming to come from other parts of the room and not directly from the speaker itself. This was particularly noticeable in Le Flex’s rendition of Clouds across the moon, and is thanks to the fact that the two drivers are very slightly angled outwards.

The bass radiators are, apparently, tuned to 65Hz. This means there’s no sub-bass at all, which is likely one reason why it wasn’t as bassy as I had expected. But of the bass notes it can deliver, the Uboom L is extremely tight and well-defined.

There’s certainly no muddiness to the sound: vocals are bitingly clear as is percussion, yet without any scratchiness or harshness that makes a speaker fatiguing to listen to. I particularly enjoyed listening to Moonchild’s The Cure on the Uboom L, where Amber Navran’s dreamy vocal is front and centre, with backing vocals, keyboards and bass are just as clear and well defined.


If you really want to push the boat out and use the savings (compared to the Roam or JBL Charge 4) to buy a pair of Uboom Ls, you’ll love the extra volume you get from 56W of power from the four 14W drivers.
EarFun Uboom L Review

But, really, it’s the stereo sound that puts a smile on your face. We’ve grown too used to hearing mono sound from Bluetooth and smart speakers and have, probably, forgotten how much stereo can enhance a piece of music.

Listening to Toto’s Rosanna, for example, demonstrates this well. An extra dimension is added to everything from the lead vocal to the piano and guitar. But Radiohead’s The National Anthem is perhaps even better with instruments and vocals obviously coming from different sides of the soundstage. Bass is surprisingly potent in this track, too.

So far, this is all in ‘Indoor’ mode. But press the sound mode button and a white LED will light to indicate it’s now in Outdoor mode. This boosts bass and certain higher frequencies to improve the sound in noisier outdoor environments. It works, too, and although the relatively low power output means it’ll sound best when there isn’t loads of background noise, the Uboom L again excels compared to much pricier rivals with excellent clarity.

You can, of course, use outdoor mode while indoors if you like, and I appreciated the extra bass. But, really, this isn’t what it’s designed for.
EarFun Uboom L Review
The Uboom L sits horizontally, while the original Uboom favoured a vertical design.

One of the bugbears of Bluetooth is latency. This is a problem if you want to use a Bluetooth speaker to watch videos on your phone, say, because the sound will be out of sync with the picture. Fortunately, EarFun thought of this, and pressing the Bluetooth button twice enables ‘video mode’.

This shortens the connection distance a bit, but the main drawback is that stereo sound isn’t possible in this mode. It reduces latency to a point where videos are perfectly watchable with no noticeable lip-sync issues.

Price & Availability

Officially, the Uboom L goes on sale on 11 July and costs $79.99 / £69.99 / €79.99. You can buy it direct from EarFun’s website, but it will be sold by Amazon as well.

If you read this review before that date, you can save 25% off those prices by signing up for a discount code on EarFun’s website. That will be emailed to you and you can use it once the Uboom L is on sale either on Amazon or EarFun’s website.

Even at the normal price, the Uboom L is excellent value and makes most of its big-name rivals seem vastly overpriced.

Verdict

EarFun has done it again. The Uboom L punches well beyond its price and should make you question why Sonos, Bose and others charge significantly more for the Roam, SoundLink Flex and other similar-size and spec Bluetooth speakers.

If you can afford it, it’s well worth buying two and using them as a stereo pair, but just remember you can’t do this in the low-latency video mode.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
EarFun Uboom L Review EarFun Uboom L Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, July 22, 2022 Rating: 5

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