A Patterned Speaker 

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Combining art with modern technology is a speaker from Ultimate Ears.

UE ROLL 2 Ultraportable Bluetooth Speaker
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The UE Roll 2 is a wireless speaker available as a Limited Edition Drippy model featuring a design by the American artist Jen Stark who is probably best known for her paper sculptures.  As well as its rather unusual name, the Drippy UE Roll 2 also stands out with regards to its circular appearance and the patterned Jen Stark inspired front fabric skin.  Although designed specifically for use with the iPod, iPhone and iPad range of devices, this speaker can be used with Android devices just as easily.

Mini discus shaped (diameter 14cm), the Drippy Roll 2’s front face is covered with the Jen Stark design that is meant to mimic the repetitive layers often found in plants as well as the geometric framework found in the universe.  This pattern is overlaid with a white plus and upright minus symbols.  While the design is distinctive, it is not one that I found attractive or particularly appealing.  What I did discover, after various experiments, was that the plus and minus symbol overlays were connected to the controls to adjust the volume level emitting from this speaker unit.

Wrapped around the rear of the Drippy Roll 2 is a thick cord which I presume could be used to attach the device to a hook or something similar.  The reason for this presumption and my earlier experiments was the almost total lack of any instructions provided with this product.  Examining the product’s packaging did reveal an image that indicated that the cord can partially be removed from the rear of the speaker.  The image seemed to suggest that the cord would then serve as a kind of stand to hold the speaker in an upright position but this turned out to be a pipedream as the cord was too floppy even to support itself.

Located at the rear of the unit, near the top, are recessed controls for turning the power on / off and activating the Bluetooth facility.  A small flap, at the base of the speaker’s rear, can be raised to reveal connection options for attaching a micro USB lead and audio cable for when the audio supplier does not support Bluetooth.  While you are furnished with a Day-glow yellow standard-to-micro USB lead, you will need to provide the audio cable with 3.5mm jack leads. Due to the arrangement and positioning of these two connection ports, I found it was tricky when attempting to insert leads into these ports.  I especially struggled to insert the USB lead in order to charge the speaker’s built-in internal battery that has a claimed 9 hours of playing time.

Included in the box with the speaker and USB lead is a UE Floatie.  This particular item is a blow up Lilo type of platform on which the speaker unit can rest while it is floating on water.  Inflating the UE Floatie should be no bother for anybody with lung capacity more powerful that my reduced capacity following a recent operation.

Ultimate Ears (UE) have developed an app to work with the Drippy Roll 2.  This app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.  With this app you can named your speaker, set an alarm to go off at a specific time to awaken you, adjust the Equaliser settings and connect two Roll units together to provide increased volume output for those occasions when entertaining a larger audience.

The Drippy Roll 2’s output was of a reasonable standard for a device of this size.  It is fairly limited in its functionality.  For example I was unable to find any method to cycling forwards and backward through tracks from the device itself although you could carry out these tasks from the smartphone connected to the speaker.  Unless you are a fan of Jen Stark, who I had not heard of before taking delivery of this device, then I feel the suggested recommend price of £79.99 is on the high side.

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OverallUltimate Ears Dippy Roll 2 rated 52 out of 100

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