After covering the announcement of UE’s Wonderboom 2, I finally got my hands on one. And you know what? It’s an exciting-sounding, portable Bluetooth speaker that’s perfect for summer (and pretty much everything).
First off, UE?
UE, or Ultimate Ears (sigh), are an American audio company owned by Logitech. I’ve been a huge fan of its equipment for some time, especially the UE Boom range.
And if I was going to sum up their hardware? It’d be as ‘reasonably-priced, well-designed, and exciting-sounding.’
So… the Wonderboom 2?
As the name suggests, the Wonderboom 2 is the second device in the Wonderboom range. Basically, it’s a small, spherical Bluetooth speaker that hovers around the $100 mark. While not quite entry-level, is aimed at people who don’t want to break the bank when getting a portable speaker that actually sounds good.
Got it. So what features does the Wonderboom 2 have?
A fair number. The company claims:
- 13-hours of battery life (I’ve found this to be pretty accurate — I would’ve actually guessed longer than this from my usage)
- A Bluetooth range of 30 meters (its connection is strong enough to cross multiple rooms in my house)
- A IP67 rating, meaning it’s waterproof, sandproof, and dustproof (I’ve showered a lot with the Wonderboom 2 and it still sounds as good as ever. I’ve not tested it in sand, unfortunately)
All of that is pretty standard, but the Wonderboom 2 has a number of other features that are more, well, captivating.
Pray tell, what are these “captivating” features?
Well, the first is the option to ‘double up’ Wonderboom 2 speakers so they play music together. This ability has been in UE gear for some time, but the last Wonderboom model could only do this in mono. Now? Wonderboom 2s can do it all in stereo, baby.
Unfortunately I didn’t actually get to test this feature, as I only had a single speaker. But I’ve done it with the UE Boom range in the past, and it worked perfectly — so I don’t see why it’d be different here.
The other exciting update is a button on the base of the Wonderboom 2 called “Outdoor Boost.” Unsurprisingly, when you press this button, the Bluetooth speaker‘s sound changes so it can be heard better outdoors. Specifically, when activated, the Wonderboom 2 drops the bass, and increases the mids and trebles.
In a way — and don’t stop reading here — the Outdoor Boost function reminds me of phone speakers. I’m sure most of us have experienced being on public transport and hearing someone blast music from their mobile that carries across the whole vehicle. The outdoor mode on the Wonderboom 2 reminds me of this — a high register that can cut through ambient noise. But, unlike phone speakers, it actually sounds decent.
On the topic of sound…
First things first, the Wonderboom 2 isn’t an audiophile piece of hardware — not that its size, price point, or design suggests that. This isn’t a speaker designed for solitary listening in quiet environments, instead it’s meant to be a hardy, go-with-you-everywhere sort of device. And in that respect, it excels.
One of my big points when covering audio equipment is straightforward: does it make me excited about listening to music? The Wonderboom 2 does this with aplomb.
Whether it’s the the messy post-punk beats and guitar stabs of Fontaines D.C’s ‘Liberty Belle’ coming through with clarity and depth, or the R&B-tinged folk twangs Faye Webster’s ‘Kingston’ sounding rich and luxurious, the Wonderboom 2 makes me want to play music on it.
There’s a lovely balance to this speaker‘s sound, a crispness and a throaty, bassy thrill that doesn’t disperse at higher volumes. For under $100, it’s exceptional.
Who’s this for?
Anyone looking for a great portable speaker. It’s that simple. Whether you want something to follow you around the house, or to take to the beach, the Wonderboom 2 is for you.
There are a range of colors, so you can go for something understated or vibrant. It’s tough, so it can be chucked about in your bag. And it sounds great. Once again, UE has pulled it out of the bag. For the price, I couldn’t imagine what else I’d want from a portable Bluetooth speaker.
What if we want something a bit cheaper?
Well, then I’d recommend the Tribit MaxSound, which you can pick up for around $50. Still, I’d suggest putting that extra bit of cash in to get UE’s Wonderboom 2. I understand that won’t be achievable for everyone though and the MaxSound is also a fantastic bit of kit.
Conclude this for me, guy!
Basically, if you’ve been on the hunt for your Summer music companion, I can’t recommend the Wonderboom 2 highly enough. It’s well-designed, hardily-made, and sounds great. For the price, you really can’t go wrong.
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Published July 24, 2019 — 13:01 UTC