Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Review: Full of wonder, plenty of boom

What's The Best reviews the UE Wonderboom 2, one of the most popular Bluetooth speakers available

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Review

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is an incredibly popular portable Bluetooth speaker. To such a degree, in fact, that it can easily be called a market leader. What’s The Best’s William Lobley sees if the UE Wonderboom 2 can live up to the hype.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Colour line up
©Ultimate Ears

The Review

The Wonderboom 2 sets up its own assessment criteria through the virtue of its name - so, does it create wonder, and does it boom?

The TL;DR version of this is: yes, very much so.

The wonder comes through the overall care and consideration that’s been put into the device. Ultimate Ears has been able to take what was so great about the original Wonderboom and refine it to a much finer point with the 2, and the result is a product that feels complete.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 linking
©Ultimate Ears

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Connecting with Bluetooth is as easy as can be, with established connections synchronising with haste on powerup. The range is long, and volume, play/pause and skip track commands transmit to the connected device with little delay. The 13 hours of battery life pays dividends in day-to-day usage, allowing for potentially weeks of Friday night and Saturday night play without the need for a recharge. It’s the most minor of shames that it still carries a USB micro-B connection in the age of USB-C, but the long battery life does make up for the omission.

The Wonderboom 2 is water and dustproof, carrying an IP67 rating. The speaker is more than suitable for the great outdoors, summers in the garden, and as some entertainment while bathing and showering. It’s robust too - I didn’t go at it hammer and tongs, but it’s more than tough enough to withstand ratting around the bottom of a backpack or taking falling from a patio table.

I’m not sure this warrants UE’s claim of the speaker being 'ultra' portable, however. It’s quite a chunky little speaker, weighing in at just under 500g. The weight, plus its rounded shape and high-placed hanging strap, does put it right on the border of being slightly cumbersome. It’s fine if you’re headed for a stationary gathering, like a picnic or BBQ, but for attaching to a backpack strap as you cycle? Not so much. Something like the Tribit StormBox is a far more portable option in cases like this.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 waterproofing
©Ultimate Ears

Related: EarFun Air Pro Wireless Earbuds Review | Tribit StormBox Micro Review

It's with the sound that you’ll find the boom, and even a little more wonder, because the Wonderboom 2’s audio performance is really very good. The highs are kept well in check - which is important on small speakers like this - serving to provide the necessary sparkle over the top of the well-represented mid frequencies. These two ranges are well balanced, bringing great life to guitar-centric music - from ZZ Top’s La Grange to Foal’s My Number - and synth-laden electronica, from Squarepusher to George FitzGerald.

The bass response is also amongst the most powerful for this size speaker. There’s a heft and sensation to the low-end with the Wonderboom 2, both on drum kicks and wallowing bass guitar lines. There’s a predictable lack of the thicker sub-bass frequencies, but such sacrifices must be made for portability, price and power. Though purists may sense the missing range, its absence doesn’t harm the impression left on you when listening. For example, Bicep’s Saku - a song reliant on panning and low-end presence to deliver a sense of atmosphere - is carried over well, despite the very lowest ambient rumbles being gone.

The Wonderboom 2 doesn’t want for volume. Even around 40%, the speaker will cause a room of people to raise their voices. What’s good here is that the audio quality stays consistent at higher volumes, where typically you would expect to hear some distortion and clarity degradation. This does happen at maximum volume, though. Even here the Wonderboom 2 has some magic to it, pumping out a kind of trashy energy - one particularly suited to more raucous songs, like The Bronx’s Knifeman.

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 360 image
©Ultimate Ears

Outdoor Boost mode activates via a low-key button on the underside. UE describes this as a function to boost loudness and clarity, and I found this to be mostly true. The loudness isn’t a volume boost - instead, this mode reduces the bass frequency and pushes the mids. This allows you to turn up the volume in an outdoor location without suffering from the loss of bass that so often occurs in open spaces. It’s a good idea, but in practice, it just makes the audio tinny. In my testing, I actually found this feature more useful when it came to listening to podcasts. Thinning out the bass helps voices to cut through the mix - especially those with deep voices who can sound somewhat muffled.

Even with my picky contentions over portability and Outdoor Boost, the Wonderboom 2 still ticks all of the boxes with its reliable connectivity, robust design, long-lasting battery and, most importantly, its energetic audio.

Also available to purchase at Currys PC World, John Lewis and Argos

Pros: Sound, volume, battery life, connectivity and dust/waterproofing

Cons: Too bulky to be 'ultra' portable and mixed result with Outdoor Boost

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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