Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 full review
The Ultimate Ears (previously UE) range of Bluetooth speakers has been a huge success from the very beginning and the firm continues to update the line-up. This time with the Wonderboom 2 so here's our full review.
This is largely more of the same stuff from Ultimate Ears but with a few improvements and tweaks for this pint-sized boombox.
The Wonderboom 2 comes in at £89.99 or $99.99 so just stays under the 100 mark making it a budget Bluetooth speaker. It's not the cheapest around, of course, but often in the audio realm you get what you pay for.
This means it's up against the likes of the Denon Envaya Pocket and Anker SoundCore Sport XL. However, the Creative Muvo Play is a similar speaker in terms of shape and features and it's only £34.99 so you could buy two.
Check out our chart of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers.
Design & Build
The Wonderboom 2 is no huge departure from the original model. In fact, you'd be forgiven for not being able to tell the difference at a glance.
Ultimate Ears is sticking to its bold and recognisable style that helps the speakers stand out in a crowded market. The Wonderboom 2 isn't the smallest available but is certainly petite enough to travel around with you.
Small but chunky is a good description for the Wonderboom 2 as it's like a drinks can that's about to explode. It's a nice size to hold and there's still a fabric loop on the top for carrying or hanging.
As usual, huge plus and minus volume buttons adorn the front with the remaining buttons on the top or bottom.
On the top are buttons for Bluetooth, playback and power and on the underside (we're not exactly sure why) is button with a tree on it. This is for the Outdoor Boost mode which we'll talk about below.
The playback button is particularly useful as you can control your music directly from the speaker rather than having to get your phone and unlock it etc.
As we've come to expect from Ultimate Ears, the Wonderboom 2 is very well-made. It's made from durable plastic with a fabric coating around the middle and feels like you could play a game of catch using it without worrying about dropping it. The firm does indeed describe it as 'drop proof'.
It's still waterproof but is now IP67 so is also dustproof. The main thing is that you can chuck it in water – it floats – without worry (1m of water for up to 30 minutes). You'll just need to dry it out a bit afterwards.
We took a look at the Radical Red model but the Wonderboom 2 also comes in Deep Space Black, Crushed Ice (Grey), Bermuda Blue and Just Peach. The fabric now has a two-tone finish so isn't just block colour.
Sound Quality & Features
It's little upgrades here and there that add up to improve the overall experience. So you can now pair two Wonderboom 2 speakers for true stereo field with left and right channels, rather than just a duplicate of the same sound. We've only got one sample so haven't been able to test this feature.
The battery life is now 30% longer so the Wonderboom 2 can keep going for a decent 13 hours. In other words, you won't need to charge it very often.
The USB port is hidden behind a flap to keep things waterproof but you won't find an aux input here so there's no option to plug devices in that don't have Bluetooth. This is a wireless speaker but for some having an alternative input might be a deal-breaker. The Creative Muvo Play does if you need one.
You will likely need the supplied cable as the USB port is set quite far into the speaker.
That's a lot of design and feature upgrades and we haven't talked about sound quality yet. Ultimate Ears has done two things to the Wonderboom 2 to improve the audio experience.
Firstly, there's more bass with the frequency response going down to 75Hz instead of 80. We'd like it lower but this is a very small speaker. Handling the sound are a pair of 40mm drivers backed up by two passive bass radiators.
As we expected, the sound quality is excellent. Ultimate Ears yet again manages to pack in a lot of power into a speaker that's not much bigger than a can of soup.
With the standard setting, the Wonderboom 2 has a tuning that will suit a lot of different type of music. There's definitely some bass but it's not overpowering, with more richness and power in the mid-range where the speaker is strongest.
Moving up to higher frequencies, the Wonderboom 2 is a little limited but this is to be expect for a speaker this size with just two drivers handling the entire frequency range. The fact is, the sound is excellent for such a portable speaker and it works well for the situations it's designed for.
This brings us to the other main upgrade called Outdoor Mode. With the design, Ultimate Ears knows the Wonderboom 2 is great for pool parties, barbecues and other outdoor events.
A button on the bottom switches you into Outdoor Mode which tunes the speaker for outdoor environments. The equalizer reduces the bass a little as when outdoors, these frequencies can just end up dominating and boosts the higher end which can struggle to carry across larger spaces.
It sounds weird inside, but take it outdoors and you'll realize you can hear the music a lot clearer, rather than a muddy mess.
It might be one of the more expensive small Bluetooth speakers you can get but the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 will be worth it if you want great sound and some extra touches.
This little speaker looks unassuming but feels bomb-proof and can deliver a surprisingly huge sound.
Add in waterproofing, handy controls, long battery life and the Outdoor Boost and you can see why you're paying a little more than some rivals.
We have almost no complaints when it comes to the Wonderboom 2, only that some users will want to make use of a 3.5mm jack input which isn't available here.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2: Specs
- 2x 40mm active drivers
- 2x 46.1 x 65.2mm passive radiators
- Frequency range: 75 Hz – 20 kHz
- Outdoor boost
- Optional stereo pair (with second speaker)
- 33m wireless range
- 13 hour battery life
- IP67 dust and waterproof