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UE Boom 2 gets fully waterproof update, now even more rugged

Tom Morgan
15 Sep 2015
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Ultimate Ears updates its most popular Bluetooth speaker with fully waterproof construction and louder drivers

Ultimate Ears has updated its incredibly popular UE Boom rugged bluetooth speaker, adding full waterproofing and an even louder sound for the UE Boom 2. The original UE Boom is consistently the second best selling Bluetooth speaker here in the UK and in the US, and it's clear to see why: with a stain- and water-resistant skin, cylindrical design and angled drivers for an enveloping sound, and plenty of colour choices, it's a fun speaker that won't crap out on you in the rain.

The UE Boom 2 builds on this design, changing very little on the outside. That means it will still slide into a bike bottle holder, and the rubber skin can absorb impacts from chest height. It still has a tripod thread in the base, along with a clip for hooking onto a bag, but now the acoustic mesh is more tightly wrapped around the outer skin. This is primarily to allow for better customisation for special editions, but also helps make the Boom 2 IPX7 waterproof. That means you can do more than rinse it under a tap after a day at the beach - you could drop it in a bucket of water and the music will keep playing.

The internals have been completely redesigned, helping boost the total volume but also increasing the wireless range. You can now move up to 30m away from the speaker and maintain a connection to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Gesture controls have been added too, letting you tap the top of the speaker to start and stop playback, or double-tap to skip tracks. Finally, pressing both volume buttons at once will activate an audible battery life alert. 

UE's free app returns, letting you pair two Boom speakers together (or any combination of Boom, MegaBoom and UE Roll speakers) into a stereo pair to double up on sound, with the correct speaker appearing as a visual indicator on your smartphone screen - even correctly matching the colour of the speakers. You can turn the Boom 2 on and off from the app, without having to power it on using the button on the speaker itself, and you also get an EQ for customising the sound signature. Finally, UE has teased some 'interesting' over-the-air firmware updates in the future, indicating new features can be added as and when they are ready.

The Boom 2 should last for around 15 hours of continuous music playback, and typically takes three hours to recharge. Although its louder than the original Boom, an early first listen suggests there's not much different in terms of sound quality; there's plenty of mid-range clarity at sensible volumes, with a respectable amount of bass for a Bluetooth speaker, but more subjective testing will be needed to give a final verdict.

The UE Boom 2 is going on sale later this month in the UK, with prices expected to start at around £169. A review unit has already arrived in the office, so you can expect a full review soon.

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