When it comes to Bluetooth speakers, Ultimate Ears (UE for short) has been crushing the competition lately. More than a year after its release their UE Boom, a super durable, water-resistant bass-pumping sonic machine, still remains one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market. The only drawback to this thumpin’ crowd favorite is the cost – it currently retails for $179.99. UE gets that for many of us, that puts it just out of our price range – so they came up with a colorful, equally durable little sibling for the Boom, the Roll, and it is my must-have gadget of the summer.
The Roll is made from similar materials as the Boom and Mega Boom speakers, but rather than sticking to the tubular design of its heftier brethren, the Roll actually looks like a small Frisbee. At only 5.31 inches in diameter and weighing in at just 12 ounces, this little guy could almost fit into your back pocket. Just like the Boom and Mega Boom, the Roll is IPX 7 waterproof, which means that it can be dropped into up to a meter of water for thirty minutes without doing the little speaker any harm. A door conceals the USB port and aux input should you need to use them, but the connectors themselves are waterproof so the door appears to be mostly there to keep dirt out. It is also shockproof, meaning that it can take an occasional drop or tumble down the stairs and remain fully functional – it’s essentially “lifeproof”, the company says. Inside the speaker you’ll find two tweeters, a driver, a Bluetooth A2DP stereo audio connection delivering a whopping 65-foot wireless range and a battery that offers up to nine hours of sonic playback.
If you’re familiar with UE then you know that in addition to stellar sound, the little flourishes are what really make their products stand out - and the Roll is no exception. It comes in six colors, ranging from a muted black and gray model to a bright blue with neon green highlights, and each model includes UE’s signature oversized plus and minus signs for uber-visible volume control and flair. On the back of the speaker is a marine-grade bungee cord that can be strapped to your showerhead, a fencepost or even your bathing suit, and the upward-facing design of the speaker delivers 360-degree sound; eliminating the search for that “sweet spot”. You can even install a smartphone app to accompany the Roll which enables you to customize EQ, set alarms (the Roll has an internal clock, so it’ll wake you up even if your phone battery dies) and pair the Roll with another UE speaker. The Roll went on sale this week for $99.99 and if you purchase directly through UE’s website, you’ll even get an adorable little flotation ring for your maximum poolside listening pleasure.
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