A couple of days ago I had the sudden urge to get a speaker for the kitchen. I needed something compact that would stream wirelessly. I was happy to spend a little money, but didn’t want to spend a fortune.
After a few hours on review websites, the UE Boom 2 seemed to be regarded as the best compact speaker system for its size. Coincidentally, a few sites had the speaker on sale during the boxing day sales down from $250AU to closer to $160AU. I decided to pick one up.
The package arrived very promptly (less than 24 hours) so yesterday I set it up and gave it a run. Here are my impressions.
Packaging: the speaker comes in a round plastic container. Usually I wouldn’t care too much about the packaging, but with this speaker it’s notable. It’s very nicely done and in my experience, quality packing often means a half decent product inside.
Setup: I got a white speaker (black wasn’t available, and the colours would look a bit funny in my kitchen). The one annoyance is the charging/power cable (mini usb) is bright green. The speaker runs for 15 hours on battery and this is likely how I’ll use it since I don’t really want a fluorescent power cable in the kitchen.
Pairing was easy. I went into the bluetooth menu on my phone, added the speaker and it promptly asked if I’d like to download the corresponding app. That was a nice touch. The app itself is clean and simple to use.
The sound: As the reviews noted, this thing is surprisingly loud. It’s amazing how much can come out of something this size. That being said, you wouldn’t want to play it at full volume or anywhere near it. While the sound quality is very good for it’s size, at loud volume it is a bit wearing as it lacks low end. This is to be expected for a small speaker, but after being used to floor standing speakers and a giant subwoofer, it’s obviously not in the same ball park. That being said, the speaker sounds good at normal listening volumes and will work well in the kitchen setting.
Other notes: The thing is waterproof. Looking through the promo material on UE’s website, it’s full of young people partying near water. I thought the ruggedness was irrelevant to me at first, however now that I’m running this on battery (instead of being always plugged in as I initially intended to use it) I can see this being a handy feature around the kitchen. If I’m washing the dishes and it get splashed I won’t need to worry. If I’m chopping vegetables and it gets anything on it I can easily clean it.
So overall my initial impressions of the speaker were very good. It won’t replace your hifi, but for a small device you can easily move around the house it does it’s job nicely. So nicely in fact I ordered a second one. The device natively supports running the device in pairs so I’ll be interested to see how well that works.