I've been dying to review the new UE Roll so when it finally dropped in, I had to try it out! Here are my findings after 2 weeks of using it.
The UE Roll is rated waterproof, shockproof and has a 9 hour battery life. The speaker is designed simply, it actually resembles a UFO about to take off from your table! A stretchable carrying band pulls up from the back so that you can hang it anywhere you like. The volume + and - buttons are huge. Pressing the both of them and the speaker reads out remaining battery life. This speaker is designed to be easy to carry around, easy to operate, full stop.
One of the key features of UE portables is that UE app. The app adds a growing set of functions like:
The unique thing about the app is that new features will be added in future, which makes the speaker feel better value for money over time.
To be honest, I was very skeptical of what to expect from a UFO shaped speaker. When I unboxed it and picked it up, it certainly had heft to it, which was promising. As the speaker was clearly front facing only, I had no clue what 360 degree sound they were talking about. This clearly wasn't designed for that! The only way I found that you can get so-called 360 degree sound is if you place the speaker flat on the table, with the driver facing upwards, and not how it was depicted.
After listening to the speaker every day for about a week, the UE Roll certainly beat my expectations. Audio was loud and clear, and did not sound grainy, and music sounds full and rich even with little bass! The beats in 'Feel Good Inc' by Gorillaz sounded tight and clear, and rap vocals are clear and legible. Playing 'Sometimes When We Touch' by Olivia Ong, the opening guitar sounded tight and resonant and her vocals loud and clear. In short, this speaker is a joy to listen to, if you don't mind the lack of bass.
Can a speaker this well-designed have any faults? When using this speaker for the first time it seemed well rounded (no pun intended), perfect for its size and price! But when I used it for a few more weeks, I realized that when my phone is somewhere else charging and I want to skip tracks, or pause my music, I have to do it on my phone. There aren't any buttons that could do that for me! Also, there is no speakerphone, though that was a very small issue for me.
I really enjoyed using the $149 UE Roll. Where else can one find a speaker this small and yet sounds so good, with an app that lets you switch it on remotely? It's price really justifies what you're getting which is a simple speaker that is fun and easy to use (and nice to look at). It's waterproof which is more water-resistant than any other speaker out there in this price range. Go swimming with it. Jump off a helicopter and into the sea with it. It WILL survive. (Just not sure if you would)
But if you're looking for something just as clear sounding but with more powerful bass, the $179 JBL Flip 3 is a great alternative. It has a speakerphone and even a button that controls your music. That said, would LP pay $149 to get a speaker as sexy and fun as the UE Roll? Hell YEAH. And you should too!