What Is the Wonderboom 2?
The Wonderboom 2 is the newest version of the budget-end Bluetooth speaker from high-performance audio company Ultimate Ears. This upgrade packs in plenty of new features while keeping the costs low, or at least low when compared to other options in the Ultimate Ears family.
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What’s in the Box?
- Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker
- Micro-USB Charging Cable
What New Features Are Included in the Wonderboom 2?
The key improvements in the Wonderboom 2 over its predecessor are:
- Bigger sound: the updated version is extra loud, has improved bass, and a new Outdoor Boost mode.
- 30% more battery life, improving the length of playback from 10 to 13 hours on a single charge.
- True wireless stereo sound.
- Now totally dustproof in addition to being waterproof up to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes (technically, the rating has gone from IPX7 to IP67).
- Aesthetic changes including new color options, minor changes to button placement, and an improved hanging strap with added elasticity.
What Is Outdoor Boost?
Outdoor Boost is a new option designed specifically (and unsurprisingly) for outdoor listening. It is switched on and off using a tree-shaped button on the base of the unit and gives “louder, crisper audio with a built-in and pre-adjusted equalizer (EQ) that compliments any outdoor environment.” A look at the technical specifications indicates that the “louder” audio is a boost from 86dBC to 87dBC.
I tested the Outdoor Boost on the speaker outside to see how it sounded (outdoors, in England, in mid-December, you’re welcome) and while the difference in audio quality would have been hard to quantify, there was a definite improvement with the Outdoor Boost switched on at least in my opinion.
What Color Options Are Available?
The Wonderboom 2 is available in:
- Deep Space Black (Black)
- Crushed Ice (Grey)
- Radical Red (Red)
- Bermuda Blue (Blue)
- Just Peach (Pink)
What Are the Issues?
I had really hoped that this new version of the Wonderboom would be compatible with the wireless Power-Up Plate I reviewed earlier this year. The Power-Up Plate allows Boom and Megaboom speakers to charge by simply placing them on top of it, but the Wonderboom 2 still doesn’t have this feature which seems like wasted potential.
I’m also disappointed to note that the Wonderboom 2 is not compatible with the Ultimate Ears App. The app is incredibly helpful in allowing you to set alarms, enable or disable options (such as the noise the speakers make when shutting down, very helpful if you listen to them while trying to fall asleep), and simply getting to see the remaining battery life. While I appreciate that this is a more budget-minded option from Ultimate Ears, including functionality with their existing app would have really made it stand out.
Should I Buy a Wonderboom 2?
As always, the answer to this depends on exactly what you’re looking for, but if I had to sum this up in a single word it would be this: yes.
For all the fanfare over its improvements, there’s not a huge amount of difference between the Wonderboom 2 and the previous version, yet those few differences all add subtle improvements. The controls are slightly more intuitive, the hanging hook more useful, the battery life extended, and so on. None of these things are enough to make me rush out and immediately purchase this new incarnation to replace my older Wonderboom, but for new buyers, or those looking to add a new Ultimate Ears product to their family, they do add value to this already excellent little speaker.
I tested out several listening modes on the Wonderboom 2 and was impressed with them all. While it was much too cold to spend a prolonged amount of time outside with it (and the local delivery drivers were giving me odd looks), Outdoor Boost helped improve sound quality in a big space, and I was even able to use the double-up mode with my previous generation speaker. While the technical specifications state that you will only get a stereo pair when connecting two Wonderboom 2’s together rather than an original and a 2, I listened to some stereo sound test videos and found that there was a clear difference between right and left, although the two speakers would sometimes switch identities between videos.
My eldest niece will (all being well) be headed to college in a seaside town in the Fall of 2020, and this is the perfect speaker for those in her situation. Waterproof, dustproof, impact-resistant, and lightweight, the little Wonderboom 2 can handle anything that college life can throw at it while constantly providing excellent sound—whether that’s going loud for a Friday night beach party or quiet background music for a night of pre-exam cramming. I know I’ll be sending her off with one of these speakers in her luggage in just a few months’ time. Those same qualities also make the Wonderboom 2 ideal for kids. Our Wonderboom is now in the possession of my ten-year-old and I can rest easy in the knowledge that it will survive near-endless falls from his desk or accidental drink spillages during sleepovers.
Ultimate Ears is now my go-to speaker brand and with enough in our household that each member has their own unit, I have yet to be failed by any of them. These speakers are robust, look great, and sound amazing, and the Wonderboom 2 adds yet more checks in all those columns. The range of available colors means there will be an option to suit everyone, and the packaging is also impressive with minimal use of plastic.
The Wonderboom 2 doesn’t add enough new features to make replacing your older-model an immediate must, but if you’re in the market for a budget speaker that will handle all life has to offer, there’s really no better choice.
GeekMom received this item for review purposes.