The Ultimate Ears Roll is the second speaker by UE to enter India. Following up to the UE Boom, the UE Roll has us expecting a lot out of it. Shaped like a pancake and featuring IPX7-certified waterproofing, the UE Roll is aimed at the generation of active music enthusiasts.
To begin with, the speaker is light, and has a wrist-suspender that UE claims is a marine-grade bungee suspender. It binds on tightly to the rear curve of the speaker, and remains hooked on to a protrusion. You can use it to suspend the UE Roll from any hook, or use it as a strap to attach on your wrist, belt, or any accessory as you please and require. The strap is durable and has high tensile strength. In the time we have spent with the speaker, which is about two days now, it has shown no sign of struggle to withstand exceeding efforts of stretch. The only qualm that you may have with it is that the suspender feels uncomfortably tight on the wrist, when you strap it on. The UE Roll feels reasonably light at 330 grams, and is approximately 120 grams lighter than the JBL Flip 3, which weighs 450 grams.
The UE Roll sounds clear, although bass seems to be slightly higher than optimum
While the rear is made of waterproof rubber material, the front face has durable stitched fabric, which has a pleasant wire mesh feel to it. The two volume buttons on the purple UE Roll that we are presently in the process of reviewing, are stitched on to the front in contrasting sharp yellow thread. The buttons respond to moderate pressure inputs, and tapping the two together gives you battery status in UE’s trademark voice alert. Much of the functioning is similar to the UE Boom, including, what we feel till now, its audio performance.
The UE Roll has a frequency response of 108 Hz - 20 kHz, and its audio is powered by a 2” driver, and two 3/4” tweeters. It has a maximum sound level of 85 dBA and the audio that you get is amply loud, and quite clear across varying genres of tracks. However, upon initial impressions, the UE Roll makes the highs sound more pronounced, and low frequencies sound overpowering. There is a slight sense of hollowness to the audio, which makes the bass seem more overpowering, and coupled with the sharp trebles, the mid frequencies sound slightly compromised. There is a nice sense of warmth in the audio, and timbre is good, a characteristic that reminds you of the UE Boom.
"The audio is clear and pristine, although metal heads may not find it the best"
I’ve listened to a variety of tracks on the UE Roll, including Opeth’s Deliverance, Joe Satriani’s Flying in a Blue Dream, Skrillex’s Bangarang and Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig in the Sky. Flying in a Blue Dream sounded rather sharp, with the finer hi-hat rolls getting subdued. However, Bangarang, which consists of powerful bass and sharp treble, sounded rather good, which seems to be the UE Roll’s forte. One important aspect to note here is that the audio from the UE Roll sounds exceptionally clear and pristine. However, the grunge patch used in Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive, sounds a tad too heavy, slightly limiting the versatility of the speaker. Similarly, with Opeth’s Deliverance, the distortion patches sound very heavy and while there is no distortion in the audio that the UE Roll produces, it may not be the best speaker for metal heads.
The UE Roll is available in four lively colours
Ultimate Ears has claimed a battery life of 9 hours on the UE Roll. We are yet to check its battery stamina, and while 9 hours sound decent, you may encounter a slightly difficult time when you are plugging the UE Roll in for charging via the concealed micro-USB port. There is a rather stiff rubber flap that houses the microUSB and auxiliary ports, and it is quite difficult to maneuver. It is understandable that UE had to make it stiff to ensure waterproofing, but it is a tad too stiff for my liking. The UE Roll is IPX7 waterproof-certified, and at its launch, it was plunged into a water body that is 4’ 6” deep. While it lost its Bluetooth connectivity from the source device that was about 25 feet away from it, the connection was automatically resumed once the device was retrieved from water and kept playing audio without any irregularity. It seems quite sturdy. At the same time, there is a pleasant sense of jovial overlay, a crucial factor for UE for its target audience group of 17-28 years.
At a price of Rs. 8,490, the UE Roll seems like a fairly good proposition, delivering decent audio along with the added advantages of waterproofing, good looks and a decent build. The aspect of waterproofing, coupled with decent audio quality, may act as an attractive proposition for the style-conscious youth. As of now, the UE Roll has been a pleasant, likeable experience. Watch this space for our review, soon.