Ultimate Ears Roll is a tough, wearable speaker that hangs, swims and sounds great

 

UE-Roll
Over the weekend I got my hands on the new $99 Ultimate Ears Roll Bluetooth speaker — a durable and waterproof frisbee of a device that pumps the beats like the UE Mini Boom cousin it is replacing. The form factor is totally new however.

First up: The UE Roll sounds really good with significant bass emerging from that thin profile. Not quite as good as $200+ portable speakers like the Bose Soundlink Mini or even the full-sized UE MegaBoom but plenty good to fill up a room or for a few people to rock out with some background music on the beach for a volleyball game. If you find yourself in a quiet, still spot the sound really comes through clean even though the device with its bungee cord off the back lends itself to the great outdoors and physical activity.

UE-Roll

The Roll connects to Apple and other Bluetooth devices – even the Apple Watch – through a typical Bluetooth 4 connection, but Logitech offers some very premium features via the iOS or Android app that debuted with the Megaboom. With the app, you can set an alarm, “equalize” the sound, pair two or more speakers for stereo or do Sonos-like arrays in every room, check battery status and more with updates promised for the future…

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Key Details:

  • UE Roll is a frisbee shaped Bluetooth speaker meant for play
  • Somewhere between my tested 5 hours of battery and the claimed 9 hour of battery can be expected
  • Great sound, great build quality
  • Apps and 66ft range are big differentiators here
  • $99 shipped starting later this month, pre-order here

The standout feature here is the housing. It is made from a rubber-like substance on the back and a fabric color front or top, (7 patterns to choose from) and is IPX7 (1M underwater) waterproofing which “seals” the deal. I tried dunking it, throwing it and even rolling it down a hill. The sound never stopped coming, though it did sound muffled underwater. UE notes that it can actually go 66 feet from the host device, twice as far as normal Bluetooth speakers thanks to some antenna circuitry/wizardry. It also includes a bungie cable for attaching it to your person, or, as my son did, put it on a bike. Also on the back you’ll find MicroUSB charging and Aux input.

Downsides are few but just like the Megaboom it is a bit of a hassle to plug in with the microUSB port being very recessed. It charges in an hour or two and the battery claims 9 hours of life. In my short time with this speaker I can tell you those battery estimates are a bit optimistic and folks should probably expect closer to 5-6 hours, especially if the music is turned up high. Another quibble is the volume buttons – they are huge, spanning the whole front of the speaker but you’ll have to train your aim for center because only a small part of the buttons work.

Overall, the UE Roll is a winner. I love that you can throw it in a bag for the weekend without having to bring a charger or a box to keep it from becoming crushed. I love that you can leave it outside in the rain or keep it near a pool without having to worry about it getting wet, stepped on, or hurt in any way. I also love that this is wearable anywhere from the shower to a camping trip or a bike ride right out of the box.

We’ll have more on this speaker in an upcoming roundup.

Manufacturer:
Ultimate Ears (Logitech)
Price:
$99, Amazon
Compatibility:
iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple Watch, All MacBooks, any Bluetooth Android or PC

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Comments

  1. rwanderman - 8 years ago

    Their slogan “take your music where it shouldn’t go” is not a great one. The last thing I want on the trail is someone carrying one of these blasting music.

    I maintain two stretches on the Appalachian Trail and see a lot of thru hikers. A few (very few) have music playing loud enough so that I can hear them from a few hundred yards away. Totally obnoxious. These things will make it worse.

    • Seth Weintraub - 8 years ago

      I’m not sure I would take it so literal. I think they meant the pool, on a bikeride, etc. Manners are up to humans and I think your example is just a case of bad manners.

      • rwanderman - 8 years ago

        I’m not sure I want music on a bike ride either. That’s as bad as listening to a boom-car driving next to you on a quiet street.

        No, my example is one of both bad manners and the capacity to carry a lightweight speaker that’s sturdy enough to get bumped around in a place where it’s, at last for some people, inappropriate to play music out loud.

  2. Ed Mease - 8 years ago

    Logitech is a company that does not stand behind the product they sell when it comes time to honor the warranty with a malfunctioning product. I had to summit a complaint to Ca. BBB before they would even acknowledge my warranty claim. It took a couple months of fighting with this company to replace my malfunctioning earphones made for my iPhone. They sent me an over the ear bluetooth head phones with a big microphone sticking out of it designed for a desktop system as a comparable replacement. There are way too many other companies out there that DO stand behind the products they sell and honor the warranty. I will NEVER buy another product from this company.

    • Seth Weintraub - 8 years ago

      In my experience, I think Logitech makes “value” products but UE products are very high end. In case you can’t tell, I very much like the UE products which have never failed to exceed my expectations. I’ve never had to deal with warranty folks but I imagine you got unlucky because complaints are rare.

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Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.


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