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UE Boom 2: One of the best wireless speakers gets even better

Jon Turi, @jonturi

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Ultimate Ears is at it again, updating the last straggler in its line of Bluetooth speakers to get them all on the same page in terms of build and software. A few months ago, the company revamped its entry level offering and today Ultimate Ears is announcing the UE Boom 2. This is the mid-level speaker in the UE lineup and although the changes may be hard to notice at first glance, they're significant enough to warrant a second look. It sports a fresh set of colors and a tighter fabric mesh that contributes to its new IPX7 waterproof rating. The internals have been reworked to improve Bluetooth range, sound quality and offer a few special features. The UE Boom 2 is available today on the Ultimate Ears website, with Apple's online store following close behind. You can pick one up for the same $199 price as the original UE Boom (it's £170 in the UK), but you'll be getting a good deal more under the hood.

Gallery: UE Boom 2 | 8 Photos

Gallery: UE Boom 2 press images | 22 Photos

The new internals have been packed in tight and your cylindrical speaker will have less roll potential, easily balancing in one spot when you lay it on its side. All the ports are now fully waterproofed, with the additional protection of tightly fitting port flaps. The Bluetooth range is said to have been bumped up to 100 feet and you'll want to snag the new version of the app to take full advantage of conveniences like remote power on/off, a five-band EQ, Double Up and more. New software updates will also arrive automatically when the speaker is connected to a mobile device, helping you stay current.

The major points of interest here are upgrades to sound quality and the new accelerometer-driven tap features. You may notice the Boom 2 is a bit louder than its predecessor (25 percent to be exact), due to the decibel rating's change from 88db to 90db. While you can Double Up with additional UE speakers, one of these should be more than enough for a small get together in a busy park. The battery is still rated for 15 hours, but if you're always jamming out at full volume, you'll find that time cut down significantly. If you really want to maximize volume and battery life, you should consider its bigger brother the Megaboom. The one thing that the Boom 2 is ahead of the game on, though, is with the new tap features. While holding the speaker (it won't work standing or laying down) you can tap once on the top to start or stop the music, and a double tap will skip to the next track. The Megaboom should soon catch up with the next software update, but early adopters who prefer the more affordable and portable UE Boom 2 will get all the new features right out of the gate.

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