I've never considered myself an audiophile, but I do appreciate a good speaker. Thanks to my job, I've had the good fortunate of testing out a few speakers from Ultimate Ears and each has surprised me with their amazing sound.
When Ultimate Ears reached out about testing its new Wonderboom 2 speaker, I jumped at the chance because its original Wonderboom won me over with its diminutive size—it is the smallest speaker in Ultimate Ear's Boom line.
Now that I've had the Wonderboom 2 for a few weeks, I thought I'd jot down some of my thoughts in a full-on review that goes over some of the improvements Ultimate Ears made, some of the things I liked, and some of the things I didn't like. In the end, the Wonderboom 2 convinced me of one thing: it is the best small portable speaker you can buy right now.
Wonderboom 2 is the new perfect portable speaker
Ultimate Ears is adding a ton of new features to its miniscule speaker. It now comes with a battery that lasts 13 hours, fuller 360-degree sound, and a new Outdoors Boost mode that pre-adjusts the equalitzer for the perfect outdoor sound.
- Impressive sound
- Great battery life
- Works out of the box
- Fantastic design
- No customizable EQ
- Still comes with MicroUSB port
Wonderboom 2 What I like
Looks wise, the Wonderboom 2 basically looks just like its precedessor, and that's a good thing because it already looked really good. However, once you look deeper, you notice that Ultimate Ears changed more than you initially realized.
The Wonderboom 2 retains the same short, spherical design with the ubiquitous large volume buttons on the front, yet it feels so much better. The fabric used is now softer and less stiff. The volume buttons are flatter and as a result, easier to press, delivering a satisfying click. The handy bungee cord is now flat, making it much more elastic and easier to place onto a hang on a wall.
This change extends to the colors Ultimate Ears offers for the Wonderboom 2 that are much more in line with modern fashion. I had the opportunity to test out the Radical Red version that's a mash-up of a vibrant red color with stylish blue accents, but the Crushed Ice Grey, Bermuda Blue, and Deep Space Black also offer something a little different from the norm.
Since the Wonderboom 2 is primarily an outdoor speaker, Ultimate Ears improved the design to a full IP67 rating, which means it can withstand just about any environment and still work without issue. I tested it out in the shower and in the pool and it came out unscathed.
The 13-hour battery, a three-hour improvement over its predecessor, also comes in handy. For the type of usage that I put the Wonderboom 2 through, it lasted me over two weeks with on and off usage before I needed to plug it in to charge again.
The Wonderboom 2 is a rugged, tough speaker that also sounds fantastic.
Ultimate Ears also also threw in two additional buttons that adds more functionality to the speaker. The first is the Magic Button from the Boom 3 line that lets you control playback. One press plays and pauses while two quick presses will skip a song. I found this super useful as I didn't have to take out my phone to meddle with the music.
The second button is placed at the bottom of the speaker and is neatly shaped like a tree. It is for the new Outdoor Boost mode Ultimate Ears added for more versatility with outdoor usage. That, it seems, is the primary place users of the Wonderboom placed their speaker. With the button, the equalizer will be pre-adjusted to deliver a louder and crispier sound outdoors.
Outdoor Boost mode cuts back some of the bass in favor of a richer, fuller sound that sounds better in an open space. I definitely don't recommend using it indoors because it doesn't sound as good, but outdoors, the sound travels better as it relies more on the high end.
Overall, the Wonderboom 2 benefits from the complete 360-degree sound. It doesn't matter what angle the speaker is, the sound is delivered in the same pulsing stream.
Wonderboom 2 What I don't like
Unlike the more expensive Boom 3 speaker, the Wonderboom 2 is intended to work as is the first time you connect it to a device. It does not need to pair to a companion app to reach its full functionality.
This is a refreshing approach, though it does come with the drawback that sound isn't customizable at all beyond the built-in Outdoor Boost mode. I don't necessarily mess around too much with EQ on speakers that offer it, like the Boom 3, but some people do and that will be a major disappointment for them.
It doesn't offer customizable EQ via an app and it still comes with MicroUSB.
I also really like sound that comes out of the Wonderboom 2, but if you push it to its limits, sound will get muffled. I found this to be the case with full, orchestral music. I played some of my favorite soundtracks on the speaker—Tron: Legacy, Interstellar, Man of Steel—and when the orchestra really kicks in at full volume, there's noticeable distortion.
I must state the qualifier that most people won't be listening to expansive music compilations on their camping trip, but moreso popular songs. When it came to that type of music, the Wonderboom 2 passed with flying colors. From Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" to Drake's "Passionfruit," popular music sounded terrific.
I do have another bone to pick with Ultimate Ears, one that I've been picking at for years now. Its speakers still come with MicroUSB, not USB-C, the more modern port that offers faster charging speeds and reversibility. I'm sure this means the manufacturing costs are kept down, but it's a corner that I wish Ultimate Ears hadn't cut.
Wonderboom 2 What can be improved
As it is, the Wonderboom 2 is a perfect little speaker that caters to its market astutely. I do wish it offered the option to customize the sound, but aside from that, it checks off every mark. Are there better speakers out there? Definitely. But each of those come with their own compromises as well.
Just look a the Boom 3 by Ultimate Ears. It has a much fuller sound with the customization I seek and the same build quality as the Wonderboom 2. But it also costs twice as much at $200. The same can be said for closer comeptitors to the Wonderboom 2 like the Bose Soundlink Micro, yet I'd still go with Ultimate Ears' miniauture Bluetooth speaker if I was spending the same amount of money.
Wonderboom 2 Should you buy it?
If you are looking for a great portable speaker, don't hesitate on the Wonderboom 2. It's a fantastic little speaker that will be perfect for those camping trips or days at the beach. Ultimate Ears also made it super easy to set up out of the box. Just connect it to your phone and you can start playing tunes; no need to worry about connecting it to an app.
While listening to the music on the Wonderboom 2, make sure you use the new Outdoor Boost mode for even better sound in open spaces. It cuts back on the bass and accentuates the higher end to deliver a louder sound that reverberates better in the great outdoors.
Wonderboom 2 is the new perfect portable speaker
Ultimate Ears is adding a ton of new features to its miniscule and robust speaker. It now comes with a long-lasting 13-hour battery life, fuller 360-degree sound and a new Outdoors Boost mode that pre-adjusts the equalizer for the perfect outdoor sound.
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