I loved, and continue to love, the UE Boom. It's a great little speaker — water-resistant, surprisingly powerful, just the right size, versatile Bluetooth. After a couple of years, Logitech and Ultimate Ears have a new one — it's (unsurprisingly) called the UE Boom 2, it's more powerful, more waterproof, with new controls, and new software.
I've respected every speaker that Ultimate Ears has done in the past couple of years, in fact, since the launch of the original Boom. The Mini Boom was great for its tiny size and $99 price. The $349 UE Megaboom is a big-room champion, the $149 UE Roll went to places that we'd never thought of using Bluetooth speakers before. Each one has its own usefulness, and there's a definite progression in loudness as you step up in size. But the original was always the best, and now it's even better.
The new UE Boom 2 is 25 per cent louder at full power than the original; given that we didn't have too many complaints with the sound of the original UE Boom, that translates into a Good Thing. That same 360-degree, omnidirectional sound now has more bass, although you can use the UE Boom app (for iOS or Android) to tweak the sound as you wish. Oh, and it comes in six new colours (although the red version I have is obviously the best). And there's always the potential for the kind of limited-run special editions we've seen the Boom in in the past.
UE has doubled the Bluetooth range of the Boom 2, now promising (up to, under ideal conditions) range of 30 metres. NFC makes pairing a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone simple enough, although you'll still have to go through the open-settings-and-add-a-new-device rigmarole on Mac or PC. The 180mm tall, 67mm diameter Boom 2 is identical in size and nearly identical in weight to the outgoing version, which you'll find for a crazy cheap run-out price if you look around hard enough.
Alongside the UE Boom 2's new speakers and extra power and extra waterproofiness, Logitech is updating the UE Boom app to enable a new feature for the new speaker — which is great if you're using it in the pool or with sand-covered hands at the beach. If you pick up the speaker and tap its top, you can pause or play music from whichever app (Spotify, Apple Music, whatever) you're using. A double tap will skip forward, and a triple will skip backwards. Software updates also mean the Boom 2 will support UE's upcoming X Up feature, which will let you pair over 10 UE speakers simultaneously.
The new UE Boom 2 will be out in Australia later this month — we don't know exactly when in September, but it'll be before October, at least — and it'll set you back $249, a $50 bump over the price of the original Boom. Don't complain too much, though — considering its $US199 asking price over in the States is roughly $279 here with the current exchange rate, we're actually getting a damn good deal. Save up your pennies, and buy one (or two) when they're out. [UE Boom]