Remember last week we reported on the launch of the new Ultimate Ears speakers by Logitech? Well it just so happens that I have spent an entire week with the smallest of the range, the Ultimate Ears Roll (UE Roll), testing out everything it has to offer, and I have to say that it could be the greatest thing to ever happen to portable speakers.
The UE Roll goes for R2500, which is basically cheaper than the entry level Beats Pill, this is makes the speaker extremely attractive to new buyers as it has so much more to offer than just a simple speaker that fits in your bag. It is dustproof, waterproof, and shockproof, all with a rating of IPX7, which makes it life-proof in a nutshell. Like all other portable speakers, you have to worry about where you taking them and most of the time, these portable speakers are carried with you when you are going to a party at a friend, camping, or to a beach, hence the portability factor.
This is where the UE range comes in, as Logitech have eliminated the fear of damaging your speaker completely. I took it to the pool and swam with it around my wrist, I tossed it around my garden, and even hung it in the tree to drip dry. It is really the best thing that you do not have to worry about. I was more worried about dropping my iPhone into the pool while taking the pictures than anything else, but thanks to the 20-meter Bluetooth range, that is the least of your worry when playing music through it.
The UE Roll is the round-shaped speaker of the three in the range, the other two, the Megaboom and the Boom 2, are cylindrical. The speaker fits perfectly in my hand, but might not in other’s due to my large hand size, but that is not an issue as the bottom has a rubber coating and the top is made from what seems to be stitching. It is 125mm in diameter, 40mm thin at its highest point, and only weighs 330 grams. So in a nutshell, it is heavy enough to know its there, but not awkward to hold at all.
The UE Roll, unlike the others, has a built-in strap that tucks away under a flap on the one end of it. The strip is a blessing as it can be strung to anything from your wrist, to a belt, to even your car mirror, if you wanted to. Its a sturdy strap that seems to be able to withstand quite a beating. When you are not using it, you can then tuck it away underneath the holder where it becomes almost invisible.
On the top of the device there is a + and – sign that when pressed adjust the volume of the device. These buttons are actually hidden underneath the fabric but you know they are there thanks to the button indicators that stick out.
On the bottom of the device, you will find a flap that opens and seals. When open you will find two ports, one Micro USB for charging, and another for an AUX cable for a wired music approach. When not charging or using an AUX, this flap needs to be closed to avoid water damage. You will also find the power button and the sync button under the device. The device will signal you when it is powered on or searching for a device to connect to by a tune that sounds like conga drums. This suits the device’s look and practicality given its all made to be in the outdoors.
I had an issue when pairing my phone for the first time to the device, which could be an Apple problem or a problem with the device itself. I then reset both my iPhone and the device and it worked. I also could not help but feel that the device’s power and sync buttons could have been designed with a larger button, or a deeper press. At times you feel that you cannot tell when you have pressed the button or not. This is not a major issue as you will only need to sync your device to it once, and only power it on and off once per use, so it is not like you use the buttons constantly.
On the Wild Side
It is a strange feeling being able to play music from a device with such high volume and then being able to toss it in the swimming pool while it plays. Saying that, the music does not play underwater, yes, we have laws of physics to thank for that, but the idea of it being part of your wild moments truly shines in this regard. Max volume is loud, and even though there is a clear loss of bass, the music quality is fantastic. To think that the speakers on the device are sealed for waterproof purposes, yet the sound is so great is a marvel in design.
You can adjust the equalizer using the device’s dedicated app. Although there are very little options to choose from, it is an app that will receive dozens of new features in the months to come. The same goes for the device, it runs on a software that can be updated using the app, so any bugs that need to be squashed, or new features will all be added thanks to this feature. You can also use the app to adjust the volume of the device.
As for battery life, I used it on and off for a few hours a day and I would say I got a good 7 hours out of it. It also charges fairly fast as I left it for 3 hours and I was good to go again for another 5.
For a tiny speaker the size of the UE Roll, you would expect a lot less than what it offers. If you take a look at some of the speaker on the market, their prices are much higher and the features are a bit dismal. the UE Roll on the other hand has a great list of them, these of which include the speaker’s selling point, its IPX7 rating, meaning that it can withstand anything you might encounter from a house party that turns into a swimming party, or a camping trip that might turn into a bunch of friends drunk on a boat in the lake.
Once you wrap your head around the ability to do anything in life and not worry about the speaker you spent thousands of rand on, it will surely sway you in the direction of one of the new Logitech Ultimate Ears range. The UE Roll might be small and colourful, but it packs a punch.
The Ultimate Ears Roll retails for R2499 and will be available locally in the next coming weeks.