The UE Wonderboom. Picture: Vance A/Unsplash
The UE Wonderboom. Picture: Vance A/Unsplash

UE Wonderboom
Cool factor 5/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 5/5

The first time I used the UE Wonderboom speaker was in the shower. It was a compact little speaker and proudly waterproof. It seemed the obvious review scenario — not entirely immersed in water but occasionally splashed and enveloped in steam. (We take testing gadgets seriously, you know.)

My shower companion that day was fellow FM columnist Justice Malala, who was talking politics with Gareth Cliff on his fine weekly podcast The Burning Platform. The Wonderboom speaker survived not only the shower but playing tales of woe about SA’s political shenanigans.

To put the UE Wonderboom (R1,000) through its paces, I took it down to the pool and flew overseas with it to use in my hotel room (nothing makes you feel more at home in a hotel than listening to your own music).

It has performed with aplomb in an open-air setting and in a confined hotel space.

It comes in bold colours and has two prominent buttons for adjusting the volume.

I still marvel at the joys of a Bluetooth speaker. They are the evolution of so many forms of music that have converged in this mobile media age into a convenience that was previously unthinkable.

Now you download songs to Spotify or podcasts on your smartphone, link to a Bluetooth speaker and you’re set.

No CDs, no laboriously copying music from a computer over to a phone (though I still use iTunes a fair bit because I’ve already made all those playlists) and no schlepping an iPod dock along. It is a perfect storm of convenience.

Streaming music + Bluetooth speaker = ease of use. Especially for travelling. Or showering.