After two years on the market, and the release of the likes of the UE Roll and the UE Megaboom along the way, the Ultimate Ears BOOM wireless speaker has received a sequel: The UE BOOM 2.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Regional Category Manager for Music at Logitech, John Paterson, who walked me through the device earlier this week, ahead of its debut onto the market. The first question was an obvious one: was there really a need for a new Boom after only two years? The original Boom could be updated by firmware, so what would its follow up be able to offer that the current model wasn’t able to?
There are three immediate changes to the product. Firstly, it’s now completely waterproof – at IPX7 it matches the UE Megaboom and UE Roll, with the original only an IPX4. This means you can float down the river with it without worry. The battery life is touted at the same 15 hours as its predecessor, though with a louder volume (25 percent louder) and double the wireless range (30 metres or about 100 feet), you’re getting a lot more out of the system with the same amount of battery power.
Since we sat down, I’ve played with the device both at home and in the office. The loudness of the speakers is definitely the first thing you notice – you can fill up an entire room (and then some) with ease. The quality is strong both at its lowest and highest volumes – though the louder you get, the more the quality relies on the quality of the song itself. A lower bitrate stream will naturally sound worse than a higher bitrate stream.
Pairing the device with another UE product was easy through thorough the UE app – I even managed to connect it up to the smaller UE Roll – and there’s a promise of the ability to pair with more than just one other UE device in the near future through a firmware upgrade, giving you the ability to pair up with as many UE devices as fill your house, your office, your picnic or your party. Or, apparently, river floating party time experience!
Perhaps the biggest new functional feature to the unit, which otherwise looks about identical to the original, is the touch capability. You can now tap the top of the unit to pause or play a song, or tap it twice to skip a track. So far, this has worked without fail and it’s incredibly handy to be able to do this rather than have to pull out your media player every time you want to change a song. The UE Boom app also gives you the ability to play with the EQ and set up an alarm on your system, which may come in handy for some.
All in all, our first impressions of the device are overwhelmingly positive. It carries the best features of the original unit and improves upon almost everything – with more features promised along the way through firmware updates.
The UE BOOM 2 is available in Australia this month, in six colours variations, for a suggested retail price of $249.95. For more information, visit their official website: http://www.ultimateears.com.