The word “Ultimate” is an understatement.
The Ultimate Ears’ flagship Bluetooth speaker, aptly named Boom 2, is arguably one of the best portable wireless speakers currently on the market. It’s relatively small compared to the MegaBoom, but it is as what it loses in size doesn’t come across with the amazingly powerful sound this little guy can dish out.
Among its notable qualities include:
- Being waterproof.
- A 15-hour battery life.
- The ability to pair up with another UE speaker.
- A range of a hundred feet.
- The Block Party feature.
- 25% louder than its predecessor.
- It’s priced at $199.
We’ve already spent a couple of days playing around with the device and yes, we love it. Read more to check out my experience with Boom 2’s features, along with our impressions, and know if it’s a must-have accessory for music lovers – in fact, I’m using it right now.
Waterproof and durability
Compared to other speakers, the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 is built like a tank – or a submarine, depending on how you put it.
Right after we opened the packaging and tried out a few songs, we immediately proceeded with the durability test. Its official web page advertises it as being waterproof… and they were right. The IPX7 waterproof rating is justified: we spilled various liquids all over it, including water, juice, and booze – because yes, we keep plenty of beer at the Ultimate Mac offices.
We even put it on a water dipper and let it stay submerged for a couple of minutes. After hastily retrieving it (why in the world would you leave it submerged anyway?), we checked the auxiliary and the micro-USB port and found a welcome development: its waterproof capabilities are good as advertised. However, take note that it’s a bad idea to leave it at the bottom of a pool – it can only withstand being submerged for 30 minutes under a for under a meter.
It’s pretty sturdy as well: we dropped it two times on a concrete surface at a height of six feet and we detected no damage or noticeable effect on its performance at all.
The sturdiness and ruggedness of the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 makes it ideal for parties, outdoor events, and even hiking and camping gatherings.
Size and dimensions
Boom 2 is quite large, and this can be off-putting to some potential buyers. Officially, it weighs in at 1.2 pounds (or .548 kilograms), is 7 1/8 inches tall, and is 2 3/4 inches wide. Dancing or even walking around while holding it might seem a little out of place. It’s not that heavy at a little over a pound – it doesn’t feel bulky at all, even when stored inside a bag.
Anyway, we shouldn’t pay a lot of attention to the size – it’s a speaker, so it’s supposed to be placed on a surface, not carried around while splashing water – as depicted in the picture above.
It is available in several colors: black, orange and purple, blue, red, green and blue, and white – each have their own nicknames, but we prefer using colors instead for clarity.
Sound and sound quality
We earlier said that it was 25% better than its predecessor – if you liked Boom, you’ll like Boom 2 more. It is armed with two 45mm active drivers and two 45mm x 80mm passive radiators. Its maximum sound level can reach up 90dBA.
We played several different songs of varying genres on it, and safe to say that whatever your taste of music is, the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 will deliver it to your eardrums beautifully. We tried out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood, and Eminem’s Spacebound and they all sounded great.
One of the worst qualities it has is it being unable to reach the 100 feet range. Though it depends on the overall environment and surroundings, the maximum distance it had for us is just somewhere between 50-60 feet. And yes, we tried it on a parking lot with zero interference. But hey, we can’t complain: you’re not exactly going to turn it on and walk a hundred feet while it’s playing, right?
Its wireless capabilities are outstanding: it can pair up with any Bluetooth-equipped device (up to eight), it can stream music to two other Boom 2 speakers. It can be configured and used on iOS and Android devices – for iPhones, there’s an app for it available on iTunes and the App Store. The app gives you wireless access to the speaker, allowing you to change the music and activate Block Party.
There’s also the Tap Control feature, wherein you can tap the top of the speaker once to play or pause songs, or tap twice in quick intervals to skip.
Charging and battery power
First, let’s talk about a minor but annoying inconvenience.
The speaker comes with an adapter and a micro-USB wire. You can’t charge it while it’s standing upright – if either the top or bottom outlets are being used, it can’t stand up. Seriously, we don’t know how this flaw was overlooked. If you make it lie on its side, it rolls due to its cylindrical shape – you need to place a stopper to prevent it from rolling off your desk.
As for the battery, it uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery, like most electronic devices nowadays. According to its official website, it has a battery life of 15 hours, but this is exaggerated: it only managed 11 in our test, though we played it without stopping and at full volume. It takes its time while charging as well: from zero to 100, it needs two and a half hours.
The Block Party feature allows multiple phones – either may it be run by iOS or Android – to share their music on a single paired speaker or multiple ones. It’s perfect for parties, but there’s one glaring downside: people could anonymously change the music in the middle of your favorite jam.
It can also support phone calls, though we don’t know why you’d want to put a phone call on a speaker.
Verdict: is it worth it?
For the $199 price tag, it is. I mean, hey, I actually ended up buying one of my own. The Ultimate Ears Boom 2 speaker is one of the best in the market and is a must buy if you’re in the market and looking for one.