UE Boom 2 Review
THE VERDICT
The UE Boom 2 has a rugged, waterproof design wrapped up in a compact frame. Its sound quality and new voice integration features make it one of the top bluetooth speaker options available.

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Design9.5
Features9.5
Value8.5
Sound Quality8.5
The Good
  • The UE Boom 2 has a lot going for it. It's waterproof, has a long battery life and now has voice integration features.
The Bad
  • A little expensive
9Overall Score

The UE Roll 2 was one of my favorite mini-bluetooth speakers. The quirky saucer shaped speaker was small, had solid sound quality and was waterproof. The UE Boom 2 edges out its smaller sibling in the sound quality department. Plus, being waterproof, it’s one of the most portable friendly speakers you can get.

 

UE Boom 2 Design

The Boom 2 is a compact cylinder shaped speaker that’s small enough to easily fit in a bag and take on the go. It currently comes in six vibrant colors. The Green Machine Edition which I had for testing, has a tight fabric weave that wraps around the speaker. The front has the iconic giant plus and minus symbols that have become hallmarks of UE speakers. These two symbols control the volume level of the speaker.

UE Boom 2 Review

The ends of the UE Boom 2 are made of soft rubber. The top has a power button as well as a bluetooth pairing button. On the other end you’ll find two waterproof rubber flaps. One flap conceals a 3.5 mm input. The other a mini USB input. Sandwiched between the two sits a removable D-ring that serves dual purposes. You can use it to clip the Boom 2 on to something or, if you unscrew it, you can mount the Boom 2 onto a tripod.


RELATED:
 UE Roll 2 Review

 

Compared to the original Boom, the Boom 2 has a couple notable upgrades. First of all, UE claims it plays 25% louder than the original. Also, the Boom 2 is completely waterproof. The original Boom was only water resistant, so dunking it in a pool wouldn’t have been a great idea. The Boom 2, on the other hand, upstages it’s older twin by including an iPX7 rating. This means it can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and still kick out tunes. While I didn’t push the Boom 2 to its limits, I did submerge the little speaker under water for several minutes without it suffering any ill effects.

 

UE Boom 2 Gesture Controls & 15 Hour Battery Life

As mentioned earlier, the large plus and minus on the face on the Boom 2 act as volume controls for the speaker. Holding both buttons down simultaneously also tells you how much charge the speaker has remaining. UE’s claims of a 15 hour battery life is fairly accurate. Using the speaker a couple hours a day you’ll probably end up charging it once a week. All of this is contingent on how loud your play music too. If you like to really crank the volume you can expect to get less time in between charges.

 

Playing, pausing and fast forwarding tracks on the Boom 2 is kind of neat. Slapping the top of the speaker once plays & pauses tracks. Slapping it twice fast forwards. For this to work you have to be holding the speaker in your hands. The gesture controls won’t work if the speaker’s setting on a table. This feature is pretty awesome, especially if you don’t have your phone handy.

 

Boom 2 App

Each of UE’s speakers comes with its own dedicated app that’s a free download from the iOS and Google Play stores. The Boom 2 app lets you control power, volume, and EQ settings of the little speaker. There are 4 preset configs for the EQ that you can use, however if you want to go in and personalize the EQ settings yourself you can do that too via the app.

UE Boom 2 App

The app has a couple other neat tricks up its sleeve. If you have two Boom 2s, you can double them up and have them playing the same music simultaneously or even set them up as a stereo pair. Block Party allows you and a few friends connected to the speaker to take turns sending music to it. New features for both the speaker and app can be downloaded and installed via firmware updates.

 

Other Features

As I was wrapping up the review for the Boom 2, UE released a new update that added voice integration features for Google and Siri. Unlike Amazon’s Echo which is always listening, you have to tap the bluetooth button on top of the UE Boom 2 to use the feature. For it to work, your phone needs to be connected to the speaker via Bluetooth. Overall, it’s a nice “Free” addition to the speaker. It worked pretty well for controlling music playback which is probably what most people will use it for.

 

It is a little quirky though, for instance when asking a question, some of Google’s responses were clipped. Also, after a voice interaction, I expected the Boom 2 to resume playing my music where it left off. This wasn’t always the case. The voice integration is a good feature that I think is very handy if your phone isn’t nearby. It’s not perfect yet, but I think after another update or two it will probably provide a better user experience.

 

Sound Quality

Like its little brother, the Roll 2, the Boom 2 managed to exceed my expectations. Despite its small stature, the Boom 2 displayed a full mid-range. Its treble response was detailed and focused. With a speaker of this size you don’t expect much in the bass department, but the speaker has just enough. Its bass won’t rattle your teeth, but it is nicely balanced. You will start to notice a significant drop-off in it’s bass output if you max out the volume, but with a speaker of this size it’s expected.

 

Speaking of volume, the UE Boom 2 plays loud, very loud. The sound quality of most small speakers falls apart once the volume gets to a certain level. Surprisingly, the speaker maintained it’s composure and didn’t crack under the stress.

 

360 degree sound is a major selling point for the Boom 2. A surprisingly spacious sound field makes the speaker great for outside use. The UE Boom 2 sounds best if you’re directly in front or slightly to the side of the speaker. Stand behind it and the audio sounds a little recessed, but it still sounds pretty damn good for a small speaker. Whether for parties, family get-togethers or just hanging out with friends everyone will be treated to good music. Setup two Boom 2s and you have twice the fun.

 

Speaker phone capabilities are also on the Boom 2’s laundry list of features and it performs as expected. During my tests, audio was clear and the person on the other end was able to hear me just fine.

 

The Verdict

The original Boom was a pretty good speaker in its own right. Somehow UE managed to make a good speaker even better.  The Boom 2 plays louder, is waterproof and now has voice integration features. All of these combine to make the UE Boom 2 one of my top bluetooth speakers.

 


Where to Buy:

See Price at Amazon



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