It’s been a little over fifteen years since Bluetooth technology officially entered the consumer market. Bluetooth began with wireless keyboards and mice, and quickly took over audio and mobile hardware. Until very recently, wireless speakers were functional at best, and completely useless at worst. Fortunately, as more audio manufacturers embraced the technology, they’ve been able to design compact wireless devices with remarkable audio performance and reliability. Wireless speakers today are capable of producing sound that makes even the fussiest of audiophiles drool in awe.
Such is Creative Labs’ latest Sound Blaster Roar 2, an improved version of their popular Sound Blaster Roar from last year. Note that I said improved and not new, as the Roar 2 is more of a response to fan feedback rather than an entirely new device. It’s designed to deliver the same audio quality with a lighter build. While I personally never had the opportunity to test the original, I’m astounded by just how much power this tiny device offers.
"While I personally never had the opportunity to test the original, I’m astounded by just how much power this tiny device offers."
The Roar 2 is slightly larger than Monster’s Superstar Backfloat, a palm-sized Bluetooth speaker designed for outdoor usage. The Roar 2 may be small in size, but it’s capable of filling an entire room with rich and expansive audio. The body is only 7.4 inches wide, 4.3 inches deep and 2 inches high. Weighing in at only 2.2 lb, the Roar 2 is undoubtedly petite and perfect for listening to music on the go. The unit houses five powerful drivers that fire upwards when the device is placed flat on its back. There are two passive radiators on each side for deeper bass and richer sound, a neat feature that not only works well, but looks cool when music blasts at high volume.
The Sound Blaster Roar 2 is loaded with features, all of which are easily accessible via just a few buttons clicks. The power button, volume button and Bluetooth-pairing button (which is also used for answering phone calls), are conveniently placed above the speaker on the top left side. The phone functionality works well, although once you step away more than 4-5 feet, the audio on the other line becomes slightly distorted. But, when sitting close to the Roar 2, voice clarity remains flawless regardless of background noise.
"The Sound Blaster Roar 2 is a fantastic bluetooth speaker system, and Creative Labs is inching closer to perfection."
The battery indicator lights are neatly tucked away in the top right corner, and the device can be charged with either the included power adapter or a USB cable when plugged directly into a computer or phone. Keep in mind that USB charging is notably slower, especially if the device is used during the process. The Roar 2 is also NFC compatible, allowing users to quickly pair their Android device for remote access.
The backside features several connections, including a handy MicroSD Slot that lets you upload your own music. You can effortlessly switch between tracks by using the mini control panel on the side. There’s even a rec-button that let’s you record your voice for playback. However, the Roar’s most impressive feature is the Roar function, a feature designed to improve sound with two audio-enhancing settings: The Roar for richer mids and highs and TeraBass for enhanced depth. Both modes have a drastic impact on audio fidelity. When turned off, the Roar 2 lacks intensity and clarity, but when both modes are enabled, music transforms into a completely different experience.
"When turned off, the Roar 2 lacks intensity and clarity, but when both modes are enabled, music transforms into a completely different experience."
If you’re on the lookout for wireless speakers, then you probably need something with extensive battery life. The Sound Blaster Roar 2 provides eight hours of high-volume sound when fully charged. It may not be as good as Klipsch Gig’s 12-hour battery life, but you’re getting much better sound quality in return.
The Sound Blaster Roar 2 is a fantastic Bluetooth speaker system, and Creative Labs is inching closer to perfection. The Roar 2 is beautifully designed, rich in features and boasts stunning audio performance whether you’re listening to music or playing games. It doesn’t have the best battery life, and the audio can come off as a little too muffled without the Roar feature enabled, but at only $170, you aren’t likely to find a better alternative at this price point.
Review by: Tin Salamunic
Review by: Tin Salamunic