Hello, and welcome to my official A Pirate’s Life review of the Ultimate Ears UE Roll portable USB Bluetooth speaker! I just got back from a two-week to Hawaii and Kauai, testing this product out in the field. A, I would like to say it was an absolute blast to use, and B, I would say that I really have no complaints other than some obvious things due to the size and nature of the speaker itself.
As far as sound quality, it exceeded my expectations for a small, odd-shaped speaker. I have been previously using the Bose Soundlink Mini, which produces awesome sound, and a particularly great low end, which is lacking in this UE Roll. However, for what it is, an outdoor good times, indestructible, waterproof party speaker, I couldn’t be more happy.
The simplicity of the volume buttons on the top of the speaker, with the giant plus and minus signs, come in very handy. As some might know, often the speaker will be on full blast or something in a situation where it is inappropriate, and it’s easy to lean over and mash down on the plus or minus button, depending on your desired volume.
On the bottom of the speaker, there is an elastic loop, which can be used to either hang on something or wrap around something, which holds the speaker securely in place and makes it very versatile. I can imagine this being wrapped around a branch, a pole, hung on a stick, any number of clever outdoor and wilderness uses. The first time I dropped the speaker into a swimming pool, I kind of grit my teeth a bit, and although the speaker does not sound great while there is water on it, it does not ruin the speaker, and it gives a lot of peace of mind knowing that the speaker itself can be soaking wet and not be ruined.
There are two buttons on the bottom, the power button and a Bluetooth button. I don’t think it would hurt if in future models they labeled these two buttons, because without knowing what they are, you just see two buttons sitting there. There is another panel that you can pull back, which hides the water-sensitive items like the USB in port as well as the auxiliary jack port. In the past I’ve always been a fan of the aux cord as opposed to using Bluetooth, but I feel that this speaker in particular has swayed me back into the Bluetooth fan category. It was very nice on the beach to be able to almost Frisbee-toss the speaker to a different location into the sand just to get it out of the way whenever necessary. It’s nice to know that the thing is durable and adventure-proof.
When compared to other UE models, I actually prefer this shape over the UE Boom shape, for a number of reasons. One, if I’m sitting at the top of a hill or on a pile of boulders, I don’t want to have to worry about my speaker falling over and literally rolling down the mountain. I think that that is a funny shape to begin with, and I don’t think that it’s necessarily the smartest shape for a speaker. I love the shape of the UE Roll, because it fits perfectly into the mesh side pocket of any backpack. It can hide away in a little crevice, and it’s much easier to pack than a UE Boom or Megaboom.
The sound quality surpassed my expectations. It actually gets pretty loud and shoots sound in a 360 degree circle, which is also very communal and awesome for beach parties and just hanging out. Overall, I would say that for the price, the usability, the durability, shape, size, and sound, the UE Roll is an absolutely fantastic speaker, and it will take the number one spot in my backpack, personally, and also on my blog for best adventure speaker.
If you’d like to purchase a UE Boom, the retail price is only about 75 dollars, and you can click this link to purchase one on Amazon. I won’t get rich from this purchase, but it will buy me a beer. Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy your new speaker.