The best beach speaker
If on a hot summer day, you are lying on the beach with your friends and all you want is to listen to your favorite music.
If you wish a speaker which fits into a small bag, can be hanged on the beach umbrella and you can take it with you even into the water.
Something which looks cool.
Then the good news is that the new UE Roll 2 is here and promises all of these.
In the last weeks, I have tested the speaker intensively compared it with many competitors.
Let’s see in this UE Roll 2 in-depth review if it is great or a fail.
The UE Roll 2 is the refreshed version of its popular predecessor and even though the upgrades were minor it was improved in important areas.
At the date of this review, it sells for around 70 dollars.
- 50 feet
- 70% volume: 11 hours 30 minutes
- Maximum volume: 2 hours 10 minutes
- IPX7 certification
- It can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes
- Waterproof slim design
- It can be attached to anything
- Floatie is a good new accessory
- Very loud, clear sound
- Bad design of the charging port flap
- Missing music control capability
- Weak bass
UE Roll 2 Review Video
THE BOX, ACCESSORIES
The speaker comes in a box with a micro USB cable and with the Floatie which is a new accessory.
Unfortunately, there is no user manual included in the box, so your first minutes can be cumbersome with the Roll 2 especially if this is your first Bluetooth speaker.
By opening the box, it quickly turns out that design-wise there were no changes, it looks completely same as the former model.
It could be disappointing, however, I think this discman-like shape still looks cool and unique.
The front face of the speaker is covered by a waterproof nice textured fabric, while the back is made from a matte finished rubberized plastic, which seems to be very durable and nice to touch.
The fabric front looks great however it is not so practical, if you take it to the beach it can collect lots of sand what you cannot simply wipe off.
There are lots of color options you can choose from, I liked the stylish funny beach-surf design of my test device.
I think it will be really eye-catching on the beach or at a swimming pool and fits well to the purpose of the speaker.
The size of the speaker is good enough to fit into your hand and as it is promoted by the UE it is lighter than a can of soda.
Due to its slim design, it is easy to slip into a beach or a notebook bag.
The design of the speaker is so minimalist that the usage of the buttons is not intuitive at first look.
On the front face, there are a big plus and a minus sign what are the volume up and down buttons.
I liked that they put these buttons on the front and made them this large, so it makes easy to quickly adjust the volume level even if you are in the water.
On the back, there is a power button with a notification led and below it you can find the Bluetooth pairing button.
It got IPX7 water protection
Just as the original model the Roll 2 got IPX7 water protection which means it is not just splash proof but completely waterproof, it can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes.
The micro USB charging port and the 3.5mm audio input are also on the back covered with a waterproof flap.
I am not happy with the design of the flap, it is hard to open and it is feared that it will be damaged after a while.
So you have to be careful while opening it because if you break it, the speaker will lose its water protection.
Another problem is that the ports lying a bit too deep that is why it is hard to connect the cables to them.
The Bungee makes it super portable
At the back of the speaker, you can find another important thing: The Bungee.
The Bungee is an elastic cord what makes the Roll 2 super portable.
With this, you can hang the speaker everywhere and attach it to almost everything.
You can hang it on a tree when you are camping or just simply hang it on a hook in the shower.
The Roll 2 can accompany you everywhere by attaching it to your belt or backpack and since it is waterproof you can even secure it to your SUP or boat.
So I think it is really useful, my only concern that it cannot be replaced if it gets damaged.
From this point of view, I prefer the carabiner design of the JBL Clip 2 which seems to be more durable and it is even replaceable.
Due to its disc-like shape, the speaker cannot stand, so you have to hang it somewhere or lean it to something if you want it to face to you while you are listening to it.
In return, it has an omnidirectional sound, which means that the volume level is the same in all directions and everyone can hear the music well if you sit around the speaker.
The Floatie is a new super cute accessory
The UE Roll 2 comes with a new accessory which is the Floatie.
The Floatie is a mini inflatable life preserver which helps the speaker to float on the water when you use it in a lake or in a pool.
I think it looks pretty cute and it is nice that using it you can take the speaker with you into the water.
Several Roll 2 floating in a pool is the coolest thing I can imagine at a pool party.
It comes with a handy mobile app
Especially because with the UE Roll mobile app you can ‘Double UP’ two speakers which means you can connect them together to get an amplified sound.
You can pair two speakers even without the app by simultaneously pressing the Bluetooth and the + buttons on the speaker that is playing the music, then pressing the Bluetooth button twice on the speaker that you want to add.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ‘Double Up’ the UE Roll 2 with other types of UE speakers.
It is a handy feature of the mobile app that with it you can turn on and off the speaker remotely.
It is nice that it shows your battery level but unfortunately it does not display the exact percentage.
In addition, it contains an equalizer and an alarm clock where you can set an alarm using your own music.
By swiping left in the app you can go to the ‘Block Party’ feature, which allows two of your friends to join their phones to the speaker and within the app you can choose from which source do you want to play the music.
The main benefit of this feature is that you can connect 3 devices since in normal mode 8 devices can be paired to the speaker but it can handle only 2 active connections.
You can also change the name of the speaker in the app, so your friends can find it more easily.
How to setup
By default, it is easy to setup, however, I had some troubles with the pairing mode
Out of the box the UE Roll 2 starts in pairing mode, the Bluetooth button is blinking and the device is discoverable, so you can easily find it with your phone or computer.
When you turn the speaker on, it automatically reconnects to the last device it was connected to.
You can switch the speaker manually to pairing mode by pressing the Bluetooth button till you hear a tone and the button start blinking.
During my test, I faced the problem that the speaker did not switch to pairing mode.
I could solve this by resetting the speaker by pressing the - and the power button simultaneously for about 15 seconds.
This kind of glitches can really deteriorate the usability but hopefully, it was only an individual problem.
You can also check my UE Roll 2 user manual and how-to video for a detailed how-to guide.
According to the manufacturer, the battery life lasts up to 9 hours and it takes 5 hours 30 minutes to fully charge it with the USB cable.
In my battery test when I tested the speaker at 70% volume I got 11 hours 30 minutes playtime.
However, I only got 2 hours 10 minutes playtime when I tested the speaker on full volume.
This battery life is okay unless you want to use the speaker outside like by a pool where the max volume could be necessary.
If you press the volume up and down buttons simultaneously the speaker tells you the remaining battery percentage or you can check it in the UE Roll app.
To save battery life the Roll 2 automatically turns itself off after 15 minutes of inactivity.
It does not have music control capability
One of the cons of the speaker is that it does not have music control capability, so you cannot jump to the next track or back to the previous one.
You cannot even play/pause music, what can be really missing for example when you are in the pool far from your phone.
It is also a downside compared to the competitors that the Roll 2 does not have microphone, so you cannot answer phone calls with it.
It’s a pity that the UE omitted this feature because it would be handy when you are in the water.
Where is the 50% improved Bluetooth range?
According to the manufacturer, one of the main improvements of the UE Roll 2 compared to its predecessor is the Bluetooth range which was increased by over 50% to 98 feet.
Unfortunately, my outdoor test did not confirm this, I measured around 50 feet Bluetooth range which is much less than the promised value.
However, it is still above the average in this category.
It is super loud
According to the UE, the other improvement over the original model is that the Roll 2 is 15% louder and I can confirm it.
This is one of the loudest speakers I have tested in this size, the volume level is definitely above the average.
So likely you won’t use it on full volume indoor and it can be also enough for outdoor usage for example by a smaller pool.
UE Roll 2 Sound Test
The sound of the speaker is nice and clear, I especially like how great the vocals sound.
On normal volume, there are no distortions the sound is nice and balanced.
However, turning the speaker up to full volume, the higher levels of the sound are getting overpowered and the overall sound become flat and too harsh, not pleasant to the ears.
The bass is not too powerful and the deeper lows are missing, so some songs can sound thin and lifeless on the speaker.
So if you want heavy bass you should buy something else like the Sony SRS-XB10.
On the whole, I am satisfied with the sound the UE Roll 2 provides.
On normal volume, it is clear and has much richer sound than the smallest speakers and it can play clearly even complex songs.
The bass could be more powerful however it is also true for the most speakers in this category.
Overall I liked the UE Roll 2.
Its size is just small enough to make it super portable, also its disc-shape contributes to this, it is much easy to carry it in a beach or notebook bag than a classic brick shaped speaker.
The design looks cool it is youthful and the large volume control buttons make it trendy.
Its Bungee is particularly useful, much better than a simple hanger, you can attach the speaker with it to literary anything.
Its sound is excellent, clear, pleasant to listen, it is a good choice if you can live with the lack of deep bass.
The Floatie is a cool-looking, cute accessory, which is really useful when you want to use the speaker in a pool or on the beach.
If you want a super portable speaker with a good sound, then the UE Roll 2 is a good choice.
In my opinion, this is the best beach speaker on the market.
The Best Beach Speaker
Waterproof slim design
It can be attached to anything
Floatie is a good new accessory
Bad design of the charging port flap
Missing music control capability
One alternative of the UE Roll 2 is the JBL Clip 2.
It is a smaller more portable unit, which has a built-in microphone and some limited music control capability.
However, it does not sound as good as the UE Roll 2 and it cannot float on the water as the Roll 2 with its Floatie.
Another competitor is the Sony SRS-XB10 which has much better bass than the Roll 2.
However, it is only splash proof and does not have such convenient attachment option like the Bungee of the Roll 2.
How does it compare to other speakers?
UE Roll 2 vs JBL Clip 2
The JBL Clip 2 is one of the biggest competitors of the UE Roll 2 since this is the smallest, outdoor speaker of the JBL.
The two speakers have many similarities, both have rounded shape and are solid durable devices.
In terms of the size, the JBL Clip 2 is the smaller, more portable model.
The JBL Clip 2 is also IPX7 water protected and has a built-in carabiner on its top.
It floats on the water, however, you cannot listen to music on it like on the Roll 2, since it does not float on its back.
It has a shorter Bluetooth range 20 feet compared to the 50 feet range of the Roll 2.
However, it has a built-in microphone and a better music control capability.
In terms of battery life, the Clip 2 is slightly better, at 70% volume it provides 13 hours 20 minutes play time while the Roll 2 provides 11 hours 30 minutes.
Regarding the sound quality, it has a smaller sound than the Roll 2 and the Roll 2 is around 30% louder.
You can check my detailed comparison of the two speakers here: UE Roll 2 vs JBL Clip 2 - The Big Comparision
UE Roll 2 vs Sony SRS-XB10
The Sony XB10 is also a rugged, portable speaker with water protection.
It has a smaller footprint but bulkier design than the Roll 2.
The Sony SRS-XB10 got an IPX5 water protection, so it is only splash-proof which means you can use it as a shower speaker or you can wash it off, however, it cannot be submerged into water.
So if you would like to use your speaker for watersports or at a pool, then the UE Roll 2 is a safer choice.
The Sony XB10 has a detachable strap which can be used to hang the speaker on your bike or to attach it to your backpack, however it is not so versatile as the cord of the Roll 2.
It is a plus that the XB10 has a built-in NFC chip which means you can pair your NFC-enabled smartphone just by touching it to the speaker.
Compared to the Roll 2 it has a shorter 20 feet Bluetooth range.
The XB10 has a microphone unlike the Roll 2 and it has some music control capabilities, which means you can pause/play the music and jump to the next song.
It has a longer battery life, 15 hours at 70% volume and 6 hours 30 minutes at full volume compared to the 11 hours 30 minutes and 2 hours 10 minutes of the Roll 2.
Regarding sound quality, it has a stronger, punchier bass than the Roll 2 but its highs are not so nice and it tends to distort at full volume.
You can check my detailed comparison of the two speakers here: UE Roll 2 vs Sony SRS-XB10 Full Comparison
UE Roll 2 vs UE Wonderboom
The UE Wonderboom is the in-house competitor of the UE Roll 2.
They are both small, waterproof outdoor speakers and available in the same price range.
The most significant difference between the speakers is their shape.
Unlike the Roll 2’s disc-like shape, the Wonderboom got a cylindrical, bulkier design with a similar size as a larger apple.
The Wonderboom has some music control capabilities, which means you can pause/play the music and jump to the next song.
It is also completely waterproof but in addition, it is dustproof and according to the manufacturer, it can even survive some accidental drops from up to 5 feet as well.
It floats on the water, however, you cannot listen to music on it like on the Roll 2, since its drivers are mostly covered by water when it is floating.
The Wonderboom has only a small built-in elastic hook on its top which is not so versatile like the cord of the Roll 2.
In my outdoor test, I measured 50 feet Bluetooth range by the Roll 2 and 115 feet range by the Wonderboom, so it has an even longer Bluetooth range.
Its battery life is shorter; it has 6 hours 40 minutes play time at 70% volume and 2 hours at full volume.
The Wonderboom has bigger sound with more powerful, deeper bass, however, its bass is even too boosted and many times it becomes uncontrolled and overpowers other frequencies in the songs.
You can check my detailed comparison of the two speakers here: UE Wonderboom vs UE Roll 2 - Which one to choose?
Dimensions (H x W x D): 135 x 135 x 45 (mm)