Portable speakers are available these days for a dime a dozen, with new brands landing on SA shores on a regular basis. One such brand is Ultimate Ears, or UE, as they’re known in the industry. UE launched their UE Boom and bigger UE Megaboom in South Africa early in 2015 and now we finally get to play with the latest model, the UE Roll.
We loved the design! It’s fresh and funky with the most gorgeous colors available and it comes in a flying saucer shape, with an integrated bungee cord at the back, which means you can hang it in a tree or attach it to your mountain bike, when you’re out on the trails on a Saturday morning. It’s waterproof (it comes with a IPX7 certification) so you can take it out on the surf with you or safely have a pool party, right next to the pool, without any worries about your speaker getting damaged. The flying saucer design also means that you can hold it quite comfortably in your hand and at 340 grams it won’t break said hand. The battery should give you approximately 9 hours play time and the best thing of all, the range of reception is up to 50 meters, which puts the UE Boom to shame, what with its 35 meters and all. The built-in battery pack is rechargeable with the earphone and microUSB cable ports safely tucked away behind a waterproof rubber cover.
The only buttons you’ll find on the Roll is their trademark Plus & Minus volume controls on the front with a Bluetooth pairing button and a power button at the back. The device is largely controlled via an app on your smartphone (apps available on both iOS and Android) and we tested it with an iPhone 6 and the Xperia Z5. It performed very well on both platforms, with its response time to commands found to be prompt and very quick. We particularly found it very impressive when you played videos on the phone, as the sound came across awesomely. If you like to watch TV series or movies on your smartphone or tablet, you’ll enjoy the crystal clear sound that comes from the Roll. You can switch the device on or off via the app, as well as change the volume and the equalizer settings. The equalizer settings are very basic so your DJ friend won’t be all that impressed and you have a choice between three different settings (Custom, The Standard and Bass Jump). The bass isn’t very impressive though as there’s no noticeable difference between the Standard and Bass Jump.
We also like the Double Up feature whereby you can link up more than one Roll to your phone, in order to create a surround sound effect. The Roll can be set-up to function as an alarm clock for those early morning rises, and you can choose your wake-up tunes from your library on your phone.
As mentioned earlier, the built-in rechargeable battery will last for 9 hours and it manages to produce music at a very impressive sound level. The speaker is made up of a 5cm woofer paired with two 19mm tweeters, which will explain the so-so bass output. This however does not mean that the Roll does not deliver crystal clear vocals, because it does. We think that the diminutive size of this speaker is what brings down the bass quality but to be honest, other than that, we’ve got no complaints about the Roll.
We really enjoyed reviewing the UE Roll. It’s a funky and fresh take on a device that’s become very ho-hum in both design and performance. It’s sturdy enough to be thrown in your beach bag on the way to the surf or to be slapped onto your MTB for an outing in the woods. The sound might not be earth shattering loud but it’s clear enough for you to hear your beats over the noises of the other beachgoers. Fashionistas will be impressed by the cool designs and funky colors and music lovers will enjoy the ease of connecting it to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It does come in at a pricey R2499-00 (exclusively available from Incredible Connection) but if you compare it to the other players in the market and what you get for your monies, it’s really not priced out of the market.
Awesome Colors and Designs To Choose From
Diameter: 135mm. Height: 40mm. Weight: 330 g
Maximum Sound Level: 85dBA. Frequency Range: 108Hz – 20kHz. Drivers: One 5cm woofer and two 19mm tweeters.
Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery for up to 9 hours of battery life between microUSB charges.
Compatible with any smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth® capabilities running on either Android or iOS or 3.5mm audio output
IPX7 rated: UE ROLL can be immersed in liquid up to 1m for up to 30 minutes.
Tech Specs via http://www.ultimateears.com/
What We Liked About It
The design is fresh and unique and it’s easy to set-up via your smartphone or tablet.
Waterproof and sturdy design means that it can go EVERYWHERE with you
We Frowned Upon…
Sadly, the Roll does not have speakerphone capabilities
We would have liked to see a bit more bass coming out of the woofer