The UE Roll, a UFO-shaped Bluetooth speaker that’s built to withstand the rigors of your super-splashy summer, is getting a welcome upgrade. Much like this year’s refreshed MacBook line, the UE Roll 2 packs performance enhancements (and a new paint job) into a product we already know and love.
With its “lifeproof” design, and a beefy bungee cord built right in, it’s the ultimate “take your tunes anywhere” speaker. Only now it’s a wee bit better.
So what’s new? The UE Roll 2 “blasts out 15 percent more sound,” according to an Ultimate Ears release. The upgraded speaker also boasts extended wireless range, connecting to your iPhone, iPod or Mac from up to 100 feet so you can kick out the jams from across the pool or the campground. (Cult of Mac will be testing the new speaker once we get one in our hot little hands.)
The good stuff from the original model, which was released last year, stays the same. The new UE Roll 2 is still rugged and waterproof (rated IPX7, which means it can be submersed in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes). The bungee strap, which is far more useful than you might imagine, still makes it Hodor-simple to strap the speaker to almost anything.
Most novel of all, the UE Roll 2 ships with a donut-shaped life preserver called the UE Floatie that lets the speaker float alongside you in the pool.
The UE Roll 2 comes in six colors, two of which are new: Habanero (orange with blue accents) and Tropical Anime (which looks like an explosion in a Caribbean comic book factory). Previous colors Reef (brilliant blue with a green pattern), Volcano (black with fiery red/orange accents), Atmosphere (royal blue with red accents) and Sugarplum (purple with yellow) return for a second spin around the pool.
“Thanks to its bungee cord loop, UE ROLL was our most portable, convenient, on-the-go speaker in the family,” said Charlotte Johs, general manager of Ultimate Ears, in a release. “No other speaker comes with everything you need to hang it in the shower, float it in the pool or attach it to your bike. UE Roll 2 delivers all that and more, with improved sound and wireless range, so you can do more of what you love with even more freedom and flexibility.”
I’ve tried (and thoroughly enjoyed) all of Ultimate Ears’ speakers, from the big UE Megaboom through the midsize UE Boom 2 and the original UE Roll. They all deliver excellent audio; the bigger the speaker, the better the sound, but the UE Roll is no slouch. Plus, using Ultimate Ears’ clever apps, you can tap cool features like remote on/off, Double Up (which lets you stream to a pair of UE speakers) and Block Party mode (which makes it easy for friends to stream their music through your speaker).
While Ultimate Ears’ “active lifestyle” promo shots show the UE Roll rolling with the punches in the ocean, swimming holes, sandy beaches and other rugged locales, I can confirm that it works great in the shower.