by Sandy Berger
When you’re ready to purchase a new wireless Bluetooth speaker, sorting through all the products currently available can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Ultimate Ears (UE) has you covered with its UE Roll 2 Bluetooth speaker. If by chance you haven’t yet heard of Ultimate Ears, it is comforting to know that it’s Logitech’s high-end audio line.
The Roll 2 is a compact saucer-shaped Bluetooth speaker. It measures 4.3 inches wide and 1.6 inches thick and weighs 11.8 ounces (336 grams). It has fabric on the top and heavy-duty rubberized plastic on the bottom. With names like Volcano, Habanero and Atmosphere, the Roll 2 comes in six colors – two of which have a bright multi-color patterned fabric.
The magenta/purple model that I reviewed is called SugarPlum. Like all the others, it has two large plus and minus symbols embroidered on the fabric top that function as volume controls. The embroidery is a different color on each choice, which makes all of these devices unique. My SugarPlum was emblazoned with gold symbols.
A small power button and smaller Bluetooth pairing button sit on the rubber back of the speaker. It has an integrated bungee cord on the back that can be opened and attached to just about any stable object including anything from a light pole to a lounge chair or table. It’s perfect for traveling when you don’t know exactly what your environment might be.
If you like to listen to music in the shower, you’ll be glad to find that the Roll 2 is waterproof. If you’re swimming, it can withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes in three feet of water.
The Roll 2 retails for $100. If you shop around you’ll find that the original model is identical in looks, but sells for about $30 less. The Roll 2 has two enhancements not found in the original Roll. First, it has an increased wireless range of about 65 feet over the 35 feet of the Roll 1. Second, the sound quality has been improved.
While the sound of the original was good, the Roll 2 is clearer and louder. I found it to be a little light on bass, but the high and mid-range values were excellent.
The built-in rechargeable battery is rated for nine hours of music playback. The device doesn’t have a speakerphone function and it doesn’t have a way to pause, skip or repeat tracks, but you can link up two Rolls for dual or stereo sound. The Roll 2 also has an app that gives it added functionality. Install the app on your Apple or Android device and you’ll be able to turn the Roll on and off through the phone, adjust the equalizer settings and even use it as an alarm.
The Roll 2 excels as a small, rugged, waterproof speaker you can clip or hang just about anywhere. Its unique looks and versatility make it fun to use. With good sound quality and battery life, the Roll 2 is a winner.
Sandy began her career as a computer programmer and over the years has become a trusted authority on a variety of tech, gadgets and gizmos. A regular on TV, radio and podcasts, Sandy speaks at tech events around the world.