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UE Boom 2 Review

Price:   $200 List | $144.49 at Amazon
Pros:  Good Sound quality, great volume, waterproof
Cons:  Lacks a bit of bass, expensive
Bottom line:  A great blend of durability and sound quality for those that want a loud speaker that can stand up to the elements
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Ultimate Ears

Our Verdict

The UE Boom 2 is the slightly louder and better sounding but slightly less portable sibling of the UE Roll 2. That isn't to say it isn't portable, it is completely waterproof and weighs less than 20 ounces. It is a good choice if you want to be able to use your speaker in rugged conditions, but want a bit more power than the roll 2 provides. It is also a good option for fans of the Bose SoundLink Color II that want something completely waterproof instead of just splashproof. However, if you want good sound in something that is reasonably portable and waterproof, the new JBL Flip 4 has more powerful bass, weighs the same, and costs less than the Boom 2.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Wednesday
April 5, 2017

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The UE Boom 2 offers the peace of mind of a completely waterproof IPX7 rating in a package that delivers a good amount of sound quality and volume. It's a great choice for those that want a durable speaker that can handle the elements, but don't mind sacrificing a bit of portability for some extra power.

Performance Comparison


The UE Boom 2 (shown in blue in the chart below) was a solid overall performer in our testing.


In the following sections we discuss how well the Boom 2 fared in all of the individual tests that make up our overall score.

Sound Quality


The Boom 2 was a slightly above average performer in our sound quality testing, earning a 7 out of 10 in a metric with scores ranging from 3 to 10. It provides decent bass, but it is decidedly lacking in that aspect when compared to our top scoring speakers. It was still able to create a well rounded sound that didn't feel too thin, but it definitely could have been improved with a bit more bass. The clarity was quite good with plucked guitar notes sounding crisp and well defined. Overall this was the best sounding of the completely waterproof speakers that we tested (the Bose SoundLink Revole sounds much better, but is only splashproof).

The Boom 2 sounds good enough for indoor listening  but its design really excels in the outdoors.
The Boom 2 sounds good enough for indoor listening, but its design really excels in the outdoors.

Portability


The Boom 2 earned a solid score of 7 out of 10 in our portability testing, putting it above the average in a metric where score fell between 2 and 10. We weighed the Boom 2 at 19.4 ounces, which was fairly standard for the speakers that try to balance portability with good sound quality. The cylindrical shape was fairly easy to slide into a backpack full of towels and snacks. With the fully waterproof IPX7 rating we didn't even have to worry about whether those towels were wet or not. We tested the Boom 2's waterproofness with multiple dunking and trips into the surf, and it's still going strong.

The Boom 2 is reasonably small and packable.
The Boom 2 is reasonably small and packable.

Volume


The Boom 2 was one of the louder speakers we tested, earning an 8 out of 10 in our volume testing. This put it towards the top of a metric where scores ranged from 4 to 9. It retained its sound quality even at high volumes, and filled our testing apartment with powerful sound. It can't quite match the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 and JBL Charge 3 in terms of volume. Both of those models have a bit more punch, but the Boom 2 is close.

Battery Life


The UE Boom 2 lasted 12 hours in our battery life test. This was slightly short of its claimed 15 hour battery life, but still plenty of power for most situations. It fell well short of our top performers, however, so it only scored 5 out of 10.


Value


The UE Boom 2 has a list price of $200, though at the time of this writing it can often be found for as much as $50 less. If you're looking for a high quality, fully waterproof speaker, then this is a great value. If you don't mind making some sacrifices in volume and sound quality you'll get a better bang for your buck from the UE Roll 2.

Who doesn't want a bright yellow charging cable?
Who doesn't want a bright yellow charging cable?

Conclusion


The UE Boom 2 is the highest quality of the fully waterproof speakers we tested. It is a great choice if you want extreme ruggedness but want to make as few sacrifices in sound quality as possible.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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