From poolside wireless speakers to smart speakers, you get speakers for almost every occasion and place. In the last couple of years, the wireless speakers or outdoor speakers have gotten quite popular. Those speakers are small, waterproof, and wireless so that you can easily hook them to your backpack. And the JBL Clip 3 and Ultimate Ears (UE) Roll 2 are two such speakers reigning the popularity charts.
The JBL Clip 3 and the UE Roll 2 are portable and can fit in your hand. Also, both are IPX7-rate, which means they can withstand water splashes and rain. You also get to pick one from a beautiful array of colors.
Those were the common attributes. But what about the differences between the features of the JBL Clip 3 and UE Roll 2 wireless speakers?
Well, that’s what we are going to discuss in this post today. Let’s get started.
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Design: Carabiner vs Bungee Cord
What do you prefer? A sturdy carabiner or a bungee cord?
That’s how the Clip 3 differentiates itself from the UE Roll 2 at a physical level.
Unlike its predecessor, Clip 3 has a built-in frame for the carabiner which gives this wireless speaker a rough and rugged look. The metal hook feels strong and sturdy. You do not have to worry about it dislodging from your backpack.
Overall, the weight of Clip 3 is around 210g. Most of the smartphones weigh that much (Yes, OnePlus 7 Pro, I am looking at you). And when it comes to the size, it measures around 2.4 x 5.7 x 7.8 inches. Yep, it will easily fit in your hands.
Coming to the design of the UE Roll 2, there isn’t enough difference between it and its predecessor. It follows the same design principle where the back is covered with plastic, while an IPX7-rated waterproof fabric covers the front.
And as is the design of most UE speakers, you will find the enormous Plus and Minus sign on the front, doubling up as volume control.
And what makes it special are the different color options.
And as we mentioned above, there’s a neat bungee cord that you can attach to poles, shower heads or even your backpack. Plus, there’s a clip at the back which you can strap the bungee cord to almost anything. This comes handy when you want to hook the speaker to your belt or to the rails of your bike’s handle.
The UE Roll 2 weighs around 1.02 pounds and 5.4 x 5.4 x 1.6-inches and is considerably bigger than the Clip 3. While the Clip 3 will fit easily on the palm of your hand, you’ll find it somewhat difficult to do the same with the flat surface of the Roll 2. Thankfully, the flat surface makes it easy to hold.
Also, the click-and-clip design of the JBL Clip 3 seems more durable and assuring than the bungee rope. A lot of buyers have been praising that on Amazon.
On the common grounds, both the JBL Clip 3 and the UE Roll 2 have a watertight flap to cover the charging port and the 3.5mm input. Furthermore, both float partially on water. Note that it just floats partially.
When a speaker is designed for outdoor use, it is natural to expect its battery to last a lifetime. Well, not a lifetime exactly, but a day’s worth of battery will not be asking for too much.
JBL advertises about ten hours of playback time for the Clip 3. Less than a day, but manageable. If we go by the user reviews on Amazon, most are satisfied by the battery life. However, some are dissatisfied by the same.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that when it comes to wireless speakers, the battery seems to die out sooner when you play songs and audio at high volumes.
The guys at Soundguys tested the JBL Clip 3 and found that it to last around 16 hours. That was when the output was at 75dB, which can be a bit low for outdoor usage.
The only issue which you might find is that the JBL Clip 3 still comes with a micro-USB port for charging, which is a bummer. Unfortunately, that’s the same for the UE Roll 2 too. Neither of them support any kind of fast charging feature.
Interestingly, the UE Roll 2 sports a decent battery life of 9 hours. Again, that will also vary depending on the volume and the genre of the music you play. The folks at SoundGuys tested that and were able to squeeze around 10 hours at 60% volume.
One thing about the UE Roll 2 is that you can enable the Standby Mode from the app. That causes the speaker to shut down after 15 minutes of inactivity, and that saves battery life.
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Sound Quality: Bass and Loudness
When it comes to outdoor speakers, you’ll want it to have a better bass as well as a little louder. This time the JBL Clip 3 has a fuller sound output and needless to say, the bass has also improved significantly, compared to its predecessor.
And for its size, the bass is decent. However, it would be wrong to expect a mini speaker to produce a deep thumping bass. So yeah, the bassheads might be disappointed.
When it comes to the sound quality of the UE Roll 2, it produces a decent sound for its size and price. The good thing is that the audio output is distinct and doesn’t distort when it hits the high notes.
The bass is decent and doesn’t sound tubby, but at the same time, it isn’t going to rattle any windows as Amazon reviewer Michael Henry puts it.
Extra Features: Double Up
One extra feature that the Ultimate Ears Roll 2 boasts of is Double Up. With it, you can connect two UE Roll 2 to augment the sound. You can also pair it with other UE Boom Speakers.
All you need to do is press the Bluetooth and the + buttons simultaneously on the Roll 2. Once done, hit the Bluetooth button twice on the Boom. Simple.
On the other hand, Clip 3 is not compatible with the in-house JBL Connect+ app. That means you won’t be able to link it to other Clip 3 speakers. On the upside, you do get a built-in echo & noise-canceling speakerphone capabilities with this one.
Moreover, the Roll 2 speaker comes with its pool float. So, if you want to take the speaker with you to the pool, blow up the float, place your speaker on top of it, and voila! You have a floating speaker. Plus, it can also simultaneously connect with up to two Bluetooth mobile devices.
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Which Speaker Should You Buy?
So, which portable wireless speaker should you get? Well, it depends.
The JBL CLIP 3 seems like a decent bargain. It’s small, portable and has a built-in frame so that you don’t have to worry about the device dropping on the floor. Plus, the sound isn't bad either both for its price and size. The only issue with it is that you can’t pair it with other speakers to amplify the sound.
With the Ultimate Ears Roll 2, things are a tad different. Though it’s a tad bigger then the JBL Clip 3, it’s easily portable and can be clipped/attached to many things. The sound is decent and louder at the same time. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can connect either a Roll 2 or a Boom speaker and add oomph to your party. Plus the colors are cool and add to the party spirit.