When we last reviewed the UE Boom, weren’t too impressed. We were even a little reluctant to review it until numerous people requested it. In the same way, we were a little reluctant to review the UE Boom 2 when it came out, but refigured it’s only fair to give it a shot to see if Logitech was able to improve upon the things we didn’t like about the original. Mainly: does it sound better?
Ultimate Ears Boom 2: What’s in the box?
In the box you’ll get the speaker, a bright neon yellow wall charger and micro USB cable, the instructions and warranty information, and that’s about it.
Build & Design
We’re looking at the “Lost Time” special edition speaker by James Reka, but whichever one you get will have the same build and design just with different color fabric. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the original UE Boom will find this one very familiar. In fact, it’s almost identical to the original. A fabric covering surrounds the speaker save for the plastic that makes up the top, bottom, and front of the speaker. On the front is also where you’ll find the signature UE Boom + and – buttons that control volume.
The rubberized plastic gives it a great grip and the fabric covering makes this one IPX7 waterproof, giving it a one-up on the original which only had an IPX4 certification. Naturally this now makes it perfect if you want to bring it to the beach or a pool party. It also gives the speaker a more durable feel and even though it doesn’t look it, it survived a few drops with not even a scratch. Up top you’ll find the power button and another smaller button above that which is the Bluetooth pairing button. The bottom of the speaker has two flaps that are flush with the speaker, but open up to reveal the micro USB input for charging and the 3.5mm input. There’s also a small metal hook on the bottom so you can attach a string or carabiner clip to. It looks flimsy at first glance but it is actually fairly strong and should be fine for average usage.
The cylindrical design puts it at about the size of a can of tennis balls, except way thinner. It’s not big and you shouldn’t have a problem tossing it in a bag for transport, but it just seems a little too tall. I would’ve definitely enjoyed it more if it was maybe an inch shorter than it is, but that could just be my personal preference. Even though it fits nicely in the hand, its height just makes it a little awkward in my opinion.
As far as connection goes these never had a dropped signal in average usage. UE claims a range of 100 feet but when we really put this to the test we couldn’t get passed around 60 feet without the signal being dropped completely, and that was in a wide open space with nothing in the way. Still, that’s very impressive and besides that the speaker was never more than 30 feet away from me resulting in no dropped audio.
The best part of the Boom 2 when it comes to its connection are the extra features that you get when using the app. The app shows you a smaller cartoon version of your exact speaker and lets you raise or lower the volume by clicking on the + and – signs on the cartoon version. You can even power the speaker on and off in the app which is actually really useful in practice. You can also tell how much battery life is left in the speaker, pair a second UE speaker for double the sound, set alarms, and customize the sound with EQ settings all in the app.
Like the original Boom, UE claims a battery life of 15 hours but also like the original it fails to live up to that expectation. In our testing we got closer to 12 hours which is still decent, but still pretty far off from the claim. We would’ve liked for them to up the battery life since something like the JBL Flip 3 gets almost 10 hours and isn’t as big. But I guess that’s just me being critical since 12 hours is still going to get you through a solid day at the beach. If you need to check how much battery life is left you can just hold the + and – buttons down at the same time and it’ll tell you.
How does the UE Boom 2 sound?
You can change the sound with the EQ settings in the app and I was able to customize a setting that made the speaker sound way better in my opinion, but we did all of our testing on the “standard” EQ setting that it comes with out the box.
The bass is there, but it doesn’t go as low as most people might want. Bass kicks in “Feel No Ways” by Drake are lacking a lot of their depth and feel more like they’d prefer to be a part of the mids.
Mids were a little fuzzy overall. Vocals in “Got It Bad” by Leisure weren’t overly clear, but they were given a clear precedence over the rest of what was going on in the song which is good. It felt like the bass was always right behind the vocals, which took away from the other instruments in the background.
Highs were very slightly harsh but not enough to be a bother. The hi-hats and crashes in the drums of “Seed 2.0” by The Roots lost a good amount of detail overall and were a little too loud for my taste.
Should you buy the UE Boom 2?
The sound of the UE Boom 2 is slightly better sounding than the original and the waterproofing is always a good selling point, but that’s about it. The Boom 2 makes a few upgrades and keeps everything basically the same, which is to be expected. It’s doubtful to see a company like Logitech do a complete redesign of something that got such positive reviews at the original Boom. Still, a better battery life would’ve been great. It just seems like Logitech exaggerated a few of the specs which isn’t really necessary since the real specs are still fairly impressive. 11 or 12 hours of battery life is still good enough for most people and a range of 60 feet is double what most of their competitors claim.
Overall, the UE Boom 2 is fine. It’s not not bad, it’s not great, it’s just fine. The biggest problem I have with it is probably the price. At almost $100 less you can get something like the JBL Flip 3, which I think has a way better value overall. Still, if you want full waterproofing instead of just splash proofing then the UE Boom 2 is the way to go.