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New UE Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth speaker arrives just in time for summer

The second-generation Wonderboom 2 sounds a little better, is more rugged and has better battery life for the same $100 list price.

The Wonderboom 2 ships soon in the US.
David Carnoy/CNET

We liked Ultimate Ears' original Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker, which sounded good for its compact size and was also waterproof. Now the company has launched the Wonderboom 2, which is a touch bigger than the original and sounds slightly better, with more bass and a special Outdoor Boost mode that boosts treble. It's available now in some European countries and for preorder in the US, with a scheduled ship date of June 25.

Like its predecessor, the Wonderboom 2 carries a list price of $100 (£90), is fully waterproof and comes in multiple color options.  What's different is the IP67 rating that means it's dustproof, more shock-resistant and also able to float. It also has 30% better battery life -- up to 13 hours at moderate volume levels, according to Ultimate Ears -- and you can link two together to create a stereo pairing by simply pressing a button on each speaker.

I got an early listen to the speaker a few weeks ago and indeed it seems to sound a little better than the original, with the sound being a little fuller. That said, there's only so much sound a small speaker like this can produce, so it does have its limitations. But like most of UE's speakers, these are tuned more for outdoor use and the outdoor Boost mode does give the speaker a sound boost outside (I heard it on a rooftop in Manhattan). You'd think you'd want a bass boost, but the treble boost actually helps deliver slightly richer, better defined sound in open areas.

All that said, this would also make a decent shower speaker, thanks to it being fully waterproof. 

I'll have a full review of the Wonderboom 2 in the coming weeks.  As I said, it lists for $100, but I expect it will come down in price in due time. You can pick up the original Wonderboom for around $60 on Amazon and even less for a "renewed" model.

The new Wonderboom 2 (left) is slightly larger than the original Wonderboom (right) and has a more prominent button on top.

David Carnoy/CNET
Now playing: Watch this: The UE Wonderboom may be small but it plays big

This story was first published earlier.