“A portable speaker made for adventures with a fantastic sound quality”
The UE Boom 2 Portable Speaker is the improved version of the UE Boom and, while both look almost the same, the second version comes with some improvements. The main changes are inside but you can notice some on the outside as well. First, the mesh covering the speaker is weaved tighter and, according to the manufacturer, the UE Boom 2 is completely waterproof (the first version was only water resistant). This comes in handy if you tend to carry your portable speaker in your gym bag or if you want to use it in the bathroom.
In terms of quality, the UE Boom 2 promises a louder sound quality which is impressive if you think about its size. New features you’ll love are gesture controls (similar to what Amazon Echo supports) and wireless firmware update. You can also pair Boom speakers to deliver the same sound using the improved phone app.
That being said, we think Boom 2 is a great speaker to have around, especially if you like to create some atmosphere during your outdoors trips.
Design & Special features
The UE Boom 2 is true to the initial design and, just like the first version, it comes in a wide range of colors. The tube-like speaker weighs 548g and is easy to hold in one hand. The elongated shape makes you think about the Beats Pill 2.0 but with a sturdier build and better shock resistance.
The speaker grille that covers 80% of the tube’s surface is designed with a tighter weave but this is visible only from a close distance. This is not necessarily a design feature as the grille protects the inside against water or humidity. Thus, with this mesh, the UE Boom 2 has an IPX7-certification standard. This means that it can be completely submerged up to 1m for half an hour. It also means the speaker is drop resistant up to 1.5 meters.
The rubber strip that runs along the top, the side, and bottom faces houses the controls, just like with the first version. This time, the flap that covers the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm audio jack is better integrated into the rubber strip. Due to the speaker grille position, the sound is not unidirectional and you can hear the music regardless of your position towards the speaker.
Another feature we loved is the possibility to update without having to use cables. The UE Boom 2 will update by air and the app will notify you of any pending firmware updates. The app will also be able to connect several speakers together for an improved sound effect, but for now the maximum is two.
We also mentioned gesture controls as a new feature for Boom 2. Thus, in order to pause just tap once on the top face of the speaker. For skipping forward, tap twice. Keep in mind that you have to hold the speaker in order to make these controls work. We know it is not much, but still, it is a nice feature.
The improved audio quality comes from two 17.5in active drivers and 3in passive radiators. This leads to solid bass levels and clear mid-range tones. Still, if you’re a bass head, this isn’t the speaker for you as tracks that are bass-heavy tend to drown out.
Otherwise, the UE Boom 2 does deliver impressive audio performance. Even more, the smartphone app is great at tinkering with the audio settings to customize the result to your will.
According to Ultimate Ears (UE), the Boom 2’s battery will hold up for 15h of full playing. The battery is not removable so you can’t replace it, but it is Lithium-Ion so it will hold up well to constant recharging. While the battery life can vary according to the level of volume you use, the speaker supports an interesting 100 ft. range. This is more than most smartphones so it’s an extra point in favor of the Boom 2.
- 15h battery life
- Great sound quality
- Quite loud for a small speaker
- Waterproof design
- Sound distortions at maximum level
- A bit pricey
To conclude, we consider the UE Boom 2 speaker to be an improvement over the first version. The features it supports are impressive for such a small product, as well as the fact that you can use it virtually everywhere.