The Creative Sound Blaster Roar blew us away the first time around — following it up wasn’t going to be easy. Fortunately, we’re happy to report that the portable Bluetooth speaker has been upgraded and is slimmer and better than ever as the Sound Blaster Roar 2.
The Sound Blaster Roar 2 is sleek and slim and comes in black or white. The slender profile is seductively deceiving for how much sound it can deliver. Two side-firing radiators add in some visual appeal along with great sound, as they pulse in and out. It is about 20 percent lighter than its predecessor and is easy to carry, fitting in a medium-sized purse just fine.
The Roar 2 is the multi-tool of portable speakers. It is Bluetooth 3.0 (up to two devices simultaneously) and NFC-enabled, along with a microSD slot that lets you play digital files and acts as a card reader when connected to your laptop or computer. You can also record audio to a microSD card directly using the microphone. The built-in microphone lets you handle calls and even record them. The Roar 2 can go for quite awhile thanks to the speaker’s estimated eight-hour battery life, a claim that held up to testing. Any excess power from the 6,000 mAh battery can be used to charge other devices thanks to a USB port.
As if it wasn’t oozing features as it is, the Roar 2 has the sugary sweet ability to go into Bedtime mode. For example, record some soothing music or a bedtime story onto the microSD card and put it into Bedtime mode, and it will automatically fade out after 15 or 30 minutes according to your preference. This is a nice way to put kids to bed, especially when you are out of town. That said, activating bedtime mode is a bit complicated, and an adult will need to do it.
Now for the real question. With all these bells and whistles, how is the sound? Excellent. Each unit has two top-facing drivers, an active bass unit, and two side-firing radiators. This positioning lets you use the Roar 2 upright in a purse or bag. An important facet of the sound system is the TeraBass. This is a feature that can be turned on or off and is programmed to make up for the richness of sound lost when playing music quietly. While bass is emphasized, mid-level tones are also crisp and deep. For its size, it is impressive that it could power a house party in a moderately large-sized living room, but don’t count on it for Bose-like sound when on high volume. Who would at that price point?
The Roar 2 comes with a portable carrying case and strap. This case is more than a little awkward to use. It takes some finagling to get the speaker in and even then it does not cover it completely. Also included is a Micro USB cord and an AC adapter that allows for fast 2.5-hour charging to full battery.
Coming in black or white for $170, this is a really great buy for myriad speaker scenarios. It serves well as a gaming speaker system or a small-business speaker for conference calls, presentations, and recordings. The sound capabilities are complex, smart, and versatile. The system is straightforward and easy to use, with sci-fi sounding female robot voice prompts. What’s not to love? See Creative for more details.
The Good: Tons of capabilities, fantastic sound, long battery life, serves as a portable power source to other devices, bedtime mode
The Bad: So many features it can be overwhelming at first, the carrying case does not completely close and is awkward to use