From Ultimate Ears previous releases of the Boom 2 and Megaboom, the company has just released the satisfying modern upgrades of the Blast and it’s seriously larger friend, the Megablast. The well-known strong and robust build of UE speakers have been improved with the incorporation of Amazon’s Alexa to not only accompany you in the outdoors, but have prime placement in your house.
There is no need for Amazon’s Echo or Dot, as the Blast and Megablast are standalone Alexa enabled for hands-free voice control that will allow all controls from changing tracks, turning up volume, playing games and asking questions that need to be researched online. We will get to the specs of the speakers in a moment, but even with volume on both the Blast and Megablast at a considerable level, multiple microphones made it easy to have your voice and commands picked up for a smooth control experience.
Design-wise, the top and bottom are flatter with less curve on the edges to be sharp and defined and the colour range has also been given a contemporary update. Whilst still using a broad colour range, the speakers are less bright with the brand going for more muted and understated tints. The typically strong black is now a Graphite, bright red is a dark Merlot and the white verges on the faintest of greys in the Blizzard. These more modest pops of colour are a pleasant and calm change since the speaker will more than likely be in prime real estate of any room with its home-friendly Alexa capabilities and blend into your decor.
The sound is more dynamic and powerful than ever. Both speakers still utilize their key characteristic of 360 degree sound and in a stunning and appreciated improvement, the Megablast is 40% louder than the previous Megaboom. Deeper bass and clear vocals are supplied by the Megablast’s two 25mm tweeters, two 55mm active drivers and two 85mm x 50mm passive radiators – that is six speakers in it 237mm x 88mm frame. Sitting at two inches shorter, the Blast has four speakers – two 35mm active drives and two 81mm x 39 mm passive radiators that still emit commanding and impressive sound. The Megablast is naturally much louder at maximum volume, but the Blast still does a mighty job of providing music to an entire floor of a house. Neither break, red line or lose quality at maximum volume.
The Blast has a battery life of 12 hours, whilst the larger Megablast will play for 16 hours. In our tests, both speakers lasted this duration but the Blast would commonly cap off at 90% according to the Ultimate Ears app. The speakers still hold their own in the outdoors as well. Both are IP67 waterpoof graded which means they can be submerged 1m deep for up to 30 minutes and have the weight and sturdiness of previous builds.
Whilst the previous Megaboom boasted a 20-hour battery life, the incorporation of Alexa is a worthy sacrifice. We also eagerly await forthcoming updates to allow audio to be synced and played between multiple speakers.
Score: 8.0 out of 10
Highlights: Great sound; Alexa’s incorporation
Lowlights: Decrease in battery life compared to previous models
Manufacturer: Ultimate Ears
Price: $279 – Blast; $379 – Megablast
For more information on UE’s Blast and Megablast you can head HERE.