For those who are unfamiliar, the UE Boom was one of the most popular Bluetooth speakers for most of 2015. And here again, Ultimate Ears offer the follow-up with the Boom 2. The name is similar, the look is practically identical, but there are some notable features and upgrades on the inside. I personally paid for this at the retail price of $199 dollars, but you can always click on my affiliate link above for updated pricing to see where it’s at today.
Going over the physical features first, this thing is 7 inches tall (180mm), 2 and 3/4 inches (67mm) round, and weighs in at just 1.2 pounds (548 g)
The exterior looks and feels identical to the original Boom, with a solid exterior and this nylon-like rugged shell. Last years model was splash proof, but this new model is IPX7 rated. This means you can fully submerge this up to 1 meter of depth, or 3.3 feet of water, up to 30 minutes. And from my test, this works perfectly fine. The only hurdle, if you do bring this on the boat and drop this into the lake, or maybe the deep end of the pool, the speaker doesn’t float, unlike the bigger UE Megaboom that I tested last year. This is also dirt-proof as well from my testing, after spraying off with a hose, all this posed no issues.
BUTTONS AND BATTERY LIFE
Looking at the very clicky and rugged buttons, power on and off with a Bluetooth pairing button up top. Sliding to the front of the speaker, volume up and down, and a feature I love that’s on all of the UE Bluetooth speakers currently, pressing both of these buttons at the same time gives you a much more precise reading of how much battery is remaining. Going to the bottom, there’s a small metal loop to hook this anywhere, a flap that covers the 3.5mm port, if you ever decide to connect this physically to your device. a 3.5mm cord is not provided. And very last, a micro-USB port to connect with the supplied wall charger. But speaking of charging, battery life is claimed to be 15 hours, the same as last years, and with 50% volume, leaving this from full to dead, the Boom 2 lasted me 10 hours and 2 minutes, a bit less than what is claimed but decent life in most cases when compared to big and small Bluetooth speakers.
Other features that we cannot see, there’s my favorite – yet underrated – NFC pairing. Just tap your NFC-enabled phone and this will connect seamlessly. The range on the Boom 2 has doubled, at least that’s what they claimed, making this a class leading industry standard for Bluetooth speakers. WIth my test outdoors using a digital laser measure to verify distance, I was able to achieve a max 70 feet from the speaker until the connection crackled. However, if I turned around while holding my Note 4 smartphone, having the connection essentially go through my body, the audio would crackle. I could only get as far as 30 feet away from the speaker with the phone on the other side of my body. Testing this indoors, I honestly don’t know if this is just my unit only, but with my standard test I do on all speakers, I was not able to reach the other side of the house and downstairs like most other Bluetooth speakers can. My connection could only go through one wall and my phone had to be stationary for the connection to be stable. And as a side note, this distance test was before I did my water tests you’ve seen earlier.
UE’S DOUBLE UP
New to the Boom 2, you can tap the top of the Boom to pause and play, and a double tap will skip to the next song. With my experience, you do have to pick it up with your other hand and tap away. Leaving this on the table, this feature won’t work. But touching base on the free app available for both Apple and Android devices, this does open some additional features that other Bluetooth speakers don’t have on the market. Double Up is the first option, offering you to pair another UE speaker at the same time, allowing for two speakers to play from the same source. An equalizer is available if you don’t plan on using your own equalizer built into the phone, and last is an alarm that plays from your music library. Unfortunately and shockingly they haven’t addressed this yet, the alarm is only set to go off every day. You can’t select individual days, or exclude weekends.
But now to the moment you have been waiting for, the sound review. First off, the Boom, Boom 2 and Megaboom are one of the few speakers on the market that do give full 360-degree sound. No matter which side of the speaker you stand on, you’ll receive the same loudness. Per UE’s website, the loudness of this speaker has increased and it surely shows. This speaker is loud for small-to-medium sized rooms and now, it can fill up larger sized rooms at full volume. But at full volume, I did notice bass does drone a bit. Once you reduce the volume slightly, the bass levels are much more appreciated. Vocals and mid-range are decent but lack authority and are not as crisp and bright as some of the other speakers I’ve tested on the market, specifically the JBL Charge 2 and the Bose Soundlink Mini 2. And as for highs, despite offering louder volume output, the highs for some songs do become distorted. Again and I want to emphasize, at lower volumes, this does well when it’s not pushed to its limits. The sound signature is good, providing, I believe, a more flat yet balanced tone. But if you’re looking for a speaker to fill up a room, to entertain, the sound quality, and the keyword is quality in this case, I don’t think it’s there. If you’re looking for one hell of a rugged speaker to bring with you on trips and outdoors, this has to be one of the best in that aspect.
[table id=2 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,h,q,u”/] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.