Ultimate Ears has just announced the Wonderboom 2, its follow-up to the Wonderboom, which for the last two years has been one of the most affordable, portable, and rugged Bluetooth speakers on the market. The new model arrives at the same $99 starting price as its predecessor, and can be pre-ordered now with an expected shipping date of June 24.
Though it looks virtually identical to the original Wonderboom, Ultimate Ears claims there are indeed changes that make the new speaker worth the upgrade. Battery life, one of the biggest factors when choosing a wireless speaker, is now at 13 hours, a 30% increase. Sound is reportedly improved through greater volume levels, improved bass, and a new outdoor mode that can be engaged through a hidden button on the Wonderboom 2’s underside. UE has also made the Wonderboom 2 more rugged than its predecessor: The Wonderboom was rated as IPX7, giving it excellent levels of water resistance, but not much in the way of dust resistance. The sequel is IP67, granting it the ability to be completely unaffected by small particles like sand, while it retains all of the water resistance of the Wonderboom.
The new speaker also boasts some new smarts: Two Wonderboom 2 speakers can be set up as a wireless stereo pair, or you can stream from a Wonderboom 2 to the original Wonderboom for a boost in volume and coverage. Dual Bluetooth connections mean that you and a friend can both control what’s playing on the Wonderboom 2 from separate devices, though how you end up managing the inevitable conflict will no doubt be a test of the friendship.
For those with a taste for a speaker that better matches their style, the Wonderboom 2 gets some new clothes, with two-tone fabrics available in Radical Red, Deep Space (black), Crushed Ice (gray), Bermuda (blue), and Just Peach (pink-ish).
UE Bluetooth speakers have been topping our lists of the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best outdoor speakers for years. We really liked the original UE Wonderboom, praising it for its sound quality and ruggedness given its remarkably accessible price, though we weren’t wild about its control scheme. It looks like we’ll have the same reservations about the Wonderboom 2, but we’ll let you know as soon as we get our hands on a review model.
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