There are so many Bluetooth speaker options that it can be hard to figure out which provides the best value. When I was in the market for one a few years ago, I took the advice of The Wirecutter and picked up a UE Mini Boom, and I’ve been very happy with that decision.
So while I haven’t felt the need to upgrade, I took notice when the company launched an updated model called the UE Roll last year, featuring a waterproof design and a speaker that projects sound in 360 degrees.
Now there’s an even newer model called the UE Roll 2.
The new version looks and acts almost exactly like the original UE Roll. But it offers 15 percent louder volume and longer Bluetooth range. UE says it should maintain a connection to your phone or other gadgets from up to 100 feet away. Last year’s model had a maximum range of 65 feet.
That’s about it for new features, but the old features are pretty decent: up to 9 hours of battery life, a mobile app that lets you connect up to three phones at the same time or adjust the EQ settings.
Priced at $100, the new UE Roll 2 gets pretty decent reviews. But if you don’t need the volume or range improvements, you can save some money by picking up the original UE Roll (available from Amazon for $70).
Or if you don’t need the 360-degree audio or waterproof features, the older UE Mini Boom is still a pretty great speaker that can be purchased for as little as $30 if you don’t mind buying refurbished hardware.