Ultimate Ears’ Roll portable speaker takes a dunkin’ and keeps on thumpin’

A portable Bluetooth speaker that can shirk off a splash or a a few minutes in the rain is one thing, but one that you can submerse in the shallow end of the pool for a spirited game of “capture the speaker” is something else entirely. The Ultimate Ears (UE) Roll is just such a device. And the best part is, pulling duty as a sound-emitting submersible is just a perk — this is a totally respectable portable speaker by every measure.

Foremost, the Roll is a speaker, so it needs to sound good. Thankfully, it does. You should never expect chest-pounding bass from a speaker this size, but what UE has managed to coax from the Roll is impressive. The respectable amount of low end is just a bonus add-on to clean midrange and articulate treble that just barely borders on the hot side. We think that was an intentional move given the speaker’s intended role (sorry, couldn’t help it) as a go-anywhere sound source. Bottom line: If you’ve ever heard the outstanding UE Mini Boom before, then you can expect a similar, slightly more robust, sound signature.

The Roll is also remarkably resilient, with a high-impact enclosure, anti-skid silicone skin, and ultra-durable speaker grill. We literally kicked the speaker around the office for a while, and it survived the FIFA-style abuse no worse for the wear.

As if such durability and dunkability weren’t enough to lure you in, UE went ahead and tossed in a few smartphone-based convenience features to seal the deal. With the UE Roll app, users can pair two Rolls together for stereo operation, adjust EQ for customized sound, use the speaker as an alarm, adjust volume, or power the speaker on or off — a slick feature we’ve not seen on any other Bluetooth speaker line before. Battery life is a respectable nine hours maximum (depending on volume), with an approximated charge time of five and a half hours.

Priced at $99, UE’s Roll is bound to be a big hit this summer. Few (if any) speakers can match its compelling combination of sound quality, utility and features. Ultimate Ears is to be commended on yet another impressive addition to an already award-winning lineup of portable speakers.

Product Review

It's only $100, but this soundbar loses its balance to bring the bass

Anker has expanded into audio in a big way in recent years, the latest example being the SoundCore Infini soundbar. At just $99, it makes for a very affordable add-on to your entertainment setup, but is it worth it?
Smart Home

Rise and shine with the best alarm clocks to kick-start your day

People are finicky about their sleeping habits, but, fortunately, the best alarm clocks can probably match your lifestyle and budget. Here are some of our current favorites, including the Amazon Echo Spot.
Virtual Reality

Walmart stocks its stores with VR training for its employees

Walmart will begin rolling out virtual reality training experiences to all of its stores this year with the power of Oculus Go. More than 6,300 stores will receive the new technology, helping the company train its employees.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.

Google’s improvements to Sound Search will help it recognize songs better

Google has made some key improvements to how Sound Search works. By increasing the capacity of its machine learning algorithms, the company has made Sound Search faster and more accurate, especially in regards to more obscure songs.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.

From true crime to comedy, here's our list of the best podcasts around

When you aren’t in the music mood, podcasts can be your ear candy. Whether you love to stay up-to-date on the latest news or want to know what’s happening in sports, you’ll find something on our must-listen-to podcast roundup.

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation. Updated meta…
Home Theater

Pandora takes aim at Spotify’s Release Radar with smart playlist The Drop

Pandora is debuting its own answer to Spotify’s Release Radar in the form of The Drop, a weekly personalized playlist for Premium subscribers full of new music based on what they already love.
Smart Home

Amazon reportedly will introduce an Alexa-enabled microwave, amp, and more

Amazon's Fall 2018 Alexa device rollout is about to begin, sources say. Look for an Alexa microwave, an amplifier, receiver, and subwoofer, and an Alexa voice-responsive device for your car. Amazon is maximizing its voice-command presence.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…

Winamp media player might be back from the dead, with Windows 10 support

Winamp might be back from the dead, and it's bringing support for Microsoft Windows 10 with the first new software release since its acquisition by Radionomy in 2014. Fans of the media player will also enjoy new features and bug fixes.