The Bluetooth speaker industry has exploded in recent years. Now with smart home speakers also coming into the fray, the segment has never been as competitive. As I always reiterate, competition will always be good for the consumer and this device is testament to that. In our Ultra Link 2.0 Volt review we look at what this competition means for us, as this device comes in well below R1000 yet hopes to compete with the more established players with regards to quality.
As expected at this price point, it isn’t water resistant like some other devices, but there are some positive trade-offs (other than price) that you get in return which we’ll explore in this review.
The aesthetics of the Ultra Link 2.0 Volt is unique, yet still very familiar to anyone who has used a similar device. The boxy shape means it can be used in any orientation, but of course the buttons are on the top of the device. This includes a power button, volume buttons, a button to control the lights in the speakers (which we’ll get to later) and a play/pause button.
On the left hand side you have a large silicone door that houses the USB (not Type-C, unfortunately) charging port, USB-A and 3.5mm aux. This cover isn’t the best quality and can sometimes be a struggle to attach again to be flush with the sides, but this is a minor gripe as it isn’t water resistant. On the other side you have a rubber strap that you can use to hang the speaker from your arm or somewhere around the house if you wish.
The Ultra Link 2.0 Volt is a dual directional speaker, so sound comes from both the back and the front simultaneously. The aim here is to make it sound as close to surround sound as possible, but of course this isn’t true surround sound. Luckily, the volume is really impressive and everyone in the room will be able to hear it properly.
The lighting effects around the speakers, on both sides, is a nice added bonus. The multi-colour display adds a bit of fun, especially if you are using it in a dimly lit situation. It’s not the brightest, but just adds an interesting display that adjusts according to the sound from the speaker.
Any speaker’s performance comes down to the quality and diversity of sound which is where the Ultra Link 2.0 Volt wants to stand out at its price point. The biggest challenge it faces is with the bass range. While not bad, you would ideally want just a slightly punchier bass sound. It might not be the best device for people that tend to listen to a lot of bass heavy EDM type music. That being said, the middle range and top-end sound is truly impressive.
I found it my favourite device to listen to podcasts to, as it accentuates voices extremely well and I never needed to adjust the volume when some podcasters move closer or further away from the microphone.
As mentioned before, the sound is really impressively loud for its price. You can play music at half volume to fill a relatively large room with sound. At max sound, I probably wouldn’t advise using it indoors – probably better suited for braais and the beach.
Testing the battery performance was quite difficult, simply because it wouldn’t run out of battery and I needed to string together many listening sessions without charging to calculate it. I generally got about 25 hours of battery life from the Ultra Link 2.0 Volt, which is honestly much better than I was expecting and at the top end of what you can expect for a wireless speaker. Of course, as you crank up the volume more often you will lose a couple of hours of battery life.
For the price (generally R700 – R800) the Ultra Link 2.0 Volt is a no brainer. You get a device that will last you several days, sounds generally good and built well. If this is your first time in thinking about wireless Bluetooth speakers for your home, it is a great initial plunge that I would encourage.