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Some solid upgrades help this rugged speaker stand out

Some solid upgrades help this rugged speaker stand out

A pair years again, Final Ears launched the Wonderboom, a squat little speaker that delivered nice sound at a very good worth. With some engaging shade pairings, and large, easy-to-use controls, there was rather a lot to love concerning the speaker, although there was additionally clearly nonetheless room to develop. Now UE’s prepared with its follow-up, launching the Wonderboom 2 earlier this summer time.

Does the Wonderboom 2 meaningfully enhance on its predecessor? Or is that this extra a Wonderboom 1.5, updating the look with out taking the time to essentially revisit performance? Let’s test it out.

Design, {hardware}, what’s within the field

UE leaves the overall design of the Wonderboom largely unchanged for its second-generation effort. We’ve obtained the identical outstanding +/- quantity controls up entrance, and trio of energy, pairing, and monitor management buttons on high.

This squat little speaker comes armed with some strong upgrades.

In comparison with the unique, the amount controls on the Wonderboom 2 are not clicky, however truly find yourself feeling higher to press. There’s additionally an enchancment to the association up high, with the center track-control button now clearly one thing you’re presupposed to press, the place beforehand it has been obscured by a UE emblem (and didn’t look very like a button in any respect).

Prime controls on the Wonderboom 2 (left), authentic Wonderboom (proper)

One other improve arrives within the type of the Wonderboom 2’s elastic loop. In case you really feel like hanging the speaker someplace, the loop is there to assist, however on the first-gen it was a bit too cosy. The brand new, broader loop is much more finger-friendly, and encourages customers to hold the Wonderboom 2 round.

Utilizing the elastic loop to launch the Wonderboom 2 skyward is ill-advised.

The material masking the speaker’s physique is as soon as once more out there in a gorgeous array of colours, and for this new mannequin UE makes them look even higher by including slight texture coloration — “athleisure model.”

Down beneath, a deep rubber flap covers the charging port, imparting the speaker with water-resistance. As all the time, I’d like to see the transfer to USB Sort-C, however UE is sticking with micro. There’s nonetheless no aux-in, however that’s not an enormous drawback.

This silly little outdated connector will outlive us all.

All in all, the design of the Wonderboom 2 retains what labored effectively, and fixes what didn’t — effectively, USB however.

The speaker arrives full of a micro-USB charging cable, security sheet, and that is about it — even the working directions are simply printed proper on the field.

Options and performance

There’s not a lot to be shocked by in terms of what a Bluetooth speaker just like the Wonderboom 2 does: pair it along with your telephone, activate some music, and revel in. As soon as once more UE touts the speaker’s 360-degree output. And sure, the Wonderboom 2 is basically omnidirectional, although you possibly can undoubtedly hear some shifts in tone stability as you circle the unit.

General, it’s a bit of louder than the unique — not a lot in order that it’s value upgrading simply due to that, but it surely’s noticeable.

Wonderboom 2 (left), first-gen Wonderboom (proper)

Like earlier than, you possibly can pair a number of Wonderbooms collectively. With the unique, although, the issue was this solely cloned the output. Now with the Wonderboom 2, you may as well create a stereo pair, having every speaker function as a separate channel. That was one in every of our massive asks from the first-gen, so it’s nice to see UE implement it. Higher nonetheless, you possibly can combine and match new and outdated audio system.

I additionally love how this pairing could be arrange with simply the audio system themselves – no further app wanted. As an alternative, you maintain the track-control button to each hyperlink and swap between stereo and regular modes.

Battery life is meant to be improved this time, leaping to 13 hours from 10. Actually I’ve but to run all of it the best way down, but it surely looks like there’s greater than sufficient juice to go round.

Float into the sunshine, little speaker.

Waterproof audio system are simple sufficient to come back by, however the Wonderboom 2 ups that sport by additionally floating — and that’s completely my favourite function. Sadly, it’s nonetheless not a lot use as a speaker when it’s bobbing round, however which may have been asking rather a lot. For this second-gen mannequin, UE provides dust-resistance.

All this sounds fairly nice, and it’s — however there’s one change for the Wonderboom 2 that I simply don’t suppose is kind of as profitable because the others. That is the Out of doors Increase mode you activate by urgent a button on the speaker’s base — an illuminated pine tree lets you recognize you’re in outside territory. The thought is that this prompts the speaker to regulate its output to sound louder and extra spectacular in vast open areas.

Timber = outside, duh. If solely Out of doors Increase sounded higher.

It does sound totally different, granted — however not likely louder, nor even higher. As an alternative I discovered Increase audio to come back throughout as extra hole and compressed. I can type of perceive how music like this could be simpler to listen to in actually noisy outside events, however I’d maintain off on utilizing it till you could — commonplace output from the Wonderboom 2 sounds significantly better.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. With the slight miss of that Out of doors Increase mode, the Wonderboom 2 is in any other case an incredible assortment of upgrades: tighter design, louder output, and higher linked-playback assist.

UE calls its new shade choices “athleisure impressed.”

The one factor giving me the slightest pause is that $100 feels a tad a lot to be spending on a speaker, particularly one this compact. However you completely do get rather a lot in your cash, and with gross sales already bringing the Wonderboom 2 all the way down to the $80 degree, it should not be exhausting to seek out one at a worth you possibly can dwell with.

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