Tech Tuesday: Creative’s Sound Blaster Roar 2

Meet the Swiss Army Knife of bluetooth speakers.

We’ve tested out plenty of Bluetooth speakers, but we’ve never seen one as versatile as Creative’s Sound Blaster Roar 2. This isn’t just a way to give your music better treatment than the tiny, tinny speakers on your phone; it’s a hub for communication, a reserve battery pack and a place to store and play your entire music collection all in a portable package. 

The weighty build of the Roar 2 doesn’t correlate to its small size, but it is a testament to the amount of tech built into the little guy. The Roar 2 jams in five individual speakers, a microphone, USB input and output, as well as a MicroSD card slot. It boasts eight hours of battery life, but can also charge your phone in a pinch if you need it after a day at the beach. The portable form factor, easily held in one hand, contributes to our love of the Roar 2. It doesn’t take a thought to toss this in your bag and take it with you wherever you may go. Sound quality here is also well beyond what you’d find in similar devices in the $170 price range. 

There are several thoughtful design choices found here. The MicroSD reader means you can pick up 128GBs of storage dedicated specifically for music, put your collection on it with plenty of space to spare, and rock all day even without your phone. Want to pull those files off the card and onto your computer? Just connect the Roar 2 to your laptop and transfer whatever you want. The lack of a display on the Roar 2 is a shortcoming that mitigates the usefulness of these perks, but using playlists got us around that issue. 

Most impressive about the Roar 2 is the ability to use it as a Bluetooth speakerphone. In fact, it was the solution we needed but didn’t know about when we did our fantasy drafts earlier this year. In a 12-man league, only one had to remote in for the draft via FaceTime. We got by with the built-in speakers of our iPad, but would have killed for a solution like the Roar 2. Imagine the entire league hearing the guy remoting in, and letting him hear the goings-on of the draft itself—the picks, the thought processes and the trash talk—without feeling like he was on the other side of the country. (It also makes taking calls while drinking beers a whole lot easier too, but that’s just a bonus.)