UE Roll 2 Review: The little speaker that packs a punch, and more

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There are myriad of choices out there when it comes to Bluetooth speakers these days. In a sea of rectangles, squares, and cylinders, the UE Roll 2 breaks the mold by offering a unique circle shape with a low profile. The slim and compact design make it easy to toss into a bag. You’ll barely even notice it, thanks to it weighing in at 0.73 lbs. — less than a can of soda.

Design

The colorful fabric cover on the front along with the embossed plus and minus signs for the volume really help the speaker to stand out. It’s not only bold in style, but also offers a bungee on the back to make it more functional.

The bungee was really helpful as it let me strap it or hang it from many locations, which allowed the music to face the listeners and get the speaker off the ground in many situations. But, it also makes it the ultimate portable speaker. It could easily be used to attach it to a bike or a number of other places. I found this to be a big benefit to choosing this speaker over others.



The back itself has a soft touch feel to it. That’s where you’ll find the indented power button and the Bluetooth pairing button. Hidden under the waterproof flap is the micro USB charging port and 3.5mm audio output jack.

The UE Roll 2 gives you plenty of options for connecting. You can connect up to eight devices total and two devices simultaneously. There is also an option for pairing two UE Roll 2 speakers together wirelessly for a true stereo audio experience, allowing you to rock the party even harder, as long as you keep them within 20ft. of each other. The 3.5mm audio jack also allows for connecting to another speaker, your mobile device, or an Echo Dot.

This speaker is also IPX7 rated, so it can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Of course, music doesn’t sound too good underwater. That’s why it comes with its own inflatable floatie. Now you don’t have to worry when you’re out at the pool, it can join you and keep the party going.

There are no playback controls on the speaker itself. That’s not a big deal because you’ll most likely control the music from your phone anyways. If you want even more control, look for the UE Roll app offered for both for Android and Apple devices. Don’t worry if you don’t want to use the app, you can still control music playback from your chosen app and volume with your phone.

App

That being said, I would definitely recommend the app for a much better experience. It’s not the prettiest of apps, but function wins over form here. One big reason I don’t use Bluetooth speakers much is because I’d have to get off my lazy butt and turn it on. The UE Roll app changes that by giving you the freedom to power the speaker on or off from the app — this is, by far, my favorite feature.

But, it does much more than this. For instance, you’ll need the app to pair up two UE Roll 2 speakers. Then there is the Block Party feature where three different devices can take turns playing music. Plus it allows you to use the UE Roll 2 as an alarm clock, where you set your own music track to wake you up. The app also shows you the current battery level, offers an equalizer, and a way to increase the speaker volume.

Distance

Distance is important when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. Thankfully, the UE Roll 2 doesn’t come up short in that department. You can expect up to a 100ft. range. Although, if you’re going to be that far away, you might need more than one if you want to actually hear your music.

Audio Quality

The UE Roll 2 features A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), and the audio quality was pretty good to my ear. This isn’t an audiophile speaker, and I’m sure it won’t please everyone. If you don’t like it, then thankfully the app offers an equalizer option. Dig in and tweak it yourself until you like the sound, but then again, an equalizer can only do so much.

As I said it’s not for audiophiles, and you can’t set expectations too high for a speaker this compact. For hanging out around the pool or out at a BBQ it’s perfectly acceptable. There’s enough bass without it being too heavy, and it’s clear enough to not be muddy.

Battery Life

Battery life is rated for up to nine hours, and in my usage it definitely met those expectations. This is all dependent on several factors, so nine hours is not guaranteed, but it should get close enough. If you’re curious you can always check the battery level by pressing down the volume down and up buttons together, or by using the app.

Conclusion

Overall I came away more impressed with the UE Roll 2 than I expected. In a sea of hundreds of Bluetooth speakers from countless manufacturers, the UE Roll 2 found a way to stand out and show there is a reason to buy it over many of the other alternatives. Some try to do it with just a gimmicky design. Granted, it does stand out because of its design. However, it backs that up with an innovative way to mount the speaker, decent sound quality and volume, waterproofing, and a feature packed app.

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