Portable Bluetooth speakers have become ubiquitous, and none are more recognizable than the popular Ultimate Ears (UE) Boom range.
The UE Wonderboom 2 is an upgrade on the original Wonderboom we thoroughly reviewed in 2018. The older version has excellent sound, battery life, and is nigh on indestructible.
This ruggedness seems to be front and center on the upgraded model. It retains its IP67 dustproof/waterproof rating even when the flap protecting the charging port is left open.
The Wonderboom 2 might seem like a great case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The $99.99 price hasn’t changed and it looks very similar to the original Wonderboom.
Despite this, there are a few notable upgrades. The Wonderboom 2 is slightly larger than the original measuring 10.4 cm high with a 9.5 cm diameter. This is to house an upgraded battery claiming up to 13 hours playtime—30% more than it’s predecessor.
Another reason given for the larger frame was an upgrade to the speaker for better bass response. The punchy 360 sound of the original remains, with no distortion until you reach close to max volume.
A new addition is the Outdoor Boost mode, triggered using a button on the bottom. More than just a volume boost, it also equalizes the sound to take into account the lack of reflections from indoor walls.
UE Wonderboom 2 speakers can be paired to give true stereo. If you have an original Wonderboom, they can chain together—though you won’t get an actual stereo experience.
A notable omission for some might be the charging port. The Wonderboom 2 retains its microUSB port, and in the age where USB-C is king, this might be a mild annoyance.
In use, the Wonderboom 2 sounds excellent and feels as rugged as it looks. The IFA 2019 show floor had several models, along with a tank of water to dunk them in, and a dust tank to bury them in. We were also encouraged to drop them on the show floor while in use—in short, they were confident!
This speaker isn’t going toe-to-toe with any piece of home hi-fi gear, but then again it’s not designed for that. In our review of the original Wonderboom it survived being parked on by a car. The upgraded model looks every bit as tough.
If you are looking for a near unbreakable portable speaker under $100, the UE Wonderboom 2 is going to be tough to beat.