Thoughts: UE Boom vs Sony SRS-BTV5

Not often do I get the chance to put two brand’s products side by side, for a test / comparison.
Thanks to Ultimate Ears and Sony,  it was made possible, for the loan sets and the other for their thoughtful gift.

And so, after two weeks of testing and comparing, here’s my take on the two wireless speakers.


Product design description:

The UE Boom, is the same in size as a 500ml sports water bottle or beer can, cylinder built for a good grip. The on-off button and bluetooth button are on the top, volume buttons (in huge + and -) on the side and its NFC touch sensor is slightly below the volume button. It comes with dual microphone to act as a speaker for calls, water resistant mesh for outdoor use and lessen slips. The 3.5mm jack point, microUSB connector port (for charging) and a connected ring at the bottom, to hook it on a lanyard.

The Sony SRS-BTV5, is the same in size as a tennis ball with a flat base. The on-off switch, NFC switch and bluetooth switch are at base, volume buttons (circular + and -) on the side and its NFC touch sensor is on the top. It comes with a mic bit, just above the call button. The microUSB connector port (for charging) and audio in port is hidden in the flap, on the side.


Pairing (Ease)
– SRS-BTV5. It was easier to pair with it than UE Boom. My teammate had a relatively easier time with the UE Boom but I took a good 15mins before pair-up. I wasn’t sure if it was due to my phones (iPhone 4s and Sony Xperia Z) or speakers were in ‘cranky’ mood.

Connectivity (Distance)
– UE Boom was able to maintain connectivity and played the songs (without breaks / jerking) when placed behind a false wall 6-7 metres away (specs wise it can go up to 15metres). The SRS-BTV5 lost its connectivity within seconds when placed behind the false wall.

– UE Boom won hands down, at 100%. Even at 50%, it was louder than the SRS-BTV5 and the song could be heard two doors away.

Sound (Bass)
– UE Boom took this one easily, beats were precise and felt like heart beats. SRS-BTV5 bass were almost non-existing.

Sound (Clarity)
– SRS-BTV5 got this. Rich clear sound/music, sharper and more precise tones. The UE Boom sounded more muffled and had a buzzing sound at max volume.

Speaker phone
– SRS-BTV5. Clearer sound / speech or conversation (only in a quiet room), when compared to UE Boom.


Others (non comparing):

Stereo mode
– As double pairing is made possible with UE Boom mobile app, I was able to pair both loan sets and set to stereo mode. If necessary, it could be changed to L & R mode as a replacement sound system.

Water / Stain resistant:
– UE Boom is coated for water and stain resistance and is very durable (saw that it survived a throw, during launch night), so you could bring it to gatherings (beach / pool / party) and not worry about damaging it.

Battery life
– SRS-BTV5 – around 5 hours battery life.
– UE Boom – around 15 hours battery life.

– SRS-BTV5 – small, lightweight and probably weigh about 100gm (+/-).
– UE Boom – big, cylinder built and weigh about 500gm (+/-).

– Both could be easily charged with any microUSB cable.


Availability / pricing:

The UE Boom and Sony SRS-BTV5, are both companies’ latest / newest 2013 speaker models.

Ultimate Ears – UE Boom – going for S$299/per piece
Comes in blue, red, white and black.

In retail stores.

Sony SRS-BTV5 – going for S$99.00 (updated pricing)
Comes in blue, pink, white and black

In Sony retail stores.



I like both speakers / products and there isn’t a clear winner, based on the above comparison, for they fit different needs and price group.

But if you want me to choose…

This will be my answer, based on scenarios / situations / events…
– UE Boom – gatherings, parties and chalets, for music sharing or group listening.
– SRS-BTV5 – home use or in car or on the go, for personal enjoyment (which i’ve been doing so, at home and sometimes at work).

I would probably consider the UE Boom to replace a home system, if / when I get my own place.
But my suggestion, get the one that suits you and your usage best.

*off to listen to Spotify mix list*