The BLAST and MEGABLAST wireless speakers are the latest and greatest offerings from Ultimate Ears, a company that has produced an ever popular and growing line of Bluetooth speakers that are offered in fun designs and different forms. The BLAST and MEGABLAST feature a similar design to the UE Boom and MegaBoom while boasting some changes inside including improved sound quality, and the addition of Wi-Fi for Amazon Alexa voice control.
Inside the box, the UE BLAST and MEGABLAST includes a micro USB for charging and USB power brick. The cable itself feels very high quality and has a slimline design customized for the speakers. A d-ring is also included for the tripod thread at the bottom of the speaker.
UE BLAST/MEGABLAST Quality
The design seen in the BLAST and MEGABLAST is rather familiar when compared to the UE Boom 2 line. It retains a similar size for both models while carrying over a cylindrical shape that the other models were best known for. As a result of the design, the speaker can deliver a 360-degree sound output while making it easy to sit vertically or horizontally. The speaker is wrapped in a mesh material the solid elements of the speaker are coated in a soft-touch silicone. The BLAST and MEGABLAST are offered in a variety of fun colors including black, blue, red, white.
As for build quality, the speaker feels very solid. There are no visible areas of plastic due to the silicone coating while the mesh material feels and looks high quality. The speaker itself is also IPX-7 rated making it waterproof for use at a pool, beach, or kitchen, etc.
On the top and sides of the speaker, you will find buttons including a large volume adjustment on the side, while the power and Bluetooth connect button is found on the top.
Sound Quality on the UE BLAST & MEGABLAST
The UE BLAST and MEGABLAST sound great to say the least. At the price point, I believe that the sound quality lives up to expectations with a full sound delivered through a 360-degree speaker design.
The sound was very balanced while the base was prominent at the same time. Both speakers are loud, and the offering of two different sizes allows you to decide which is best for you. The UE BLAST features two active drivers and two passive radiators, while the larger UE MEGABLAST has two drivers, two radiators, and also the addition of two tweeters. From my experiences, I found the regular sized UE BLAST more than enough to fill a room nicely. Additionally, there was minimal distortion at near-max volumes which is impressive especially at the volume thresholds both speakers can reach. Generally speaking, the speakers deliver a clean music listening experience that I was very satisfied with.
Through Bluetooth, you can connect up to 8 audio sources to the BLAST and MEGABLAST at a 150ft maximum range. From my testing, the claim of 150ft is accurate in open spaces, but in a house for example with surrounding walls, 120-135ft is the maximum range I was getting while holding a consistent connection.
Ultimate Ears App & Amazon Alexa
Ultimate Ears have been using a mobile app with their speaker line for a number of years now and the BLAST and MEGABLAST also use it. Within the app, you have general controls for the speaker such as power and volume adjustment and software updates, but you also can connect and control multiple paired speakers as well. The app for these particular speakers is also used to connect the BLAST and MEGABLAST to Wi-Fi while linking your Amazon account to activate Alexa voice controls. The app itself delivers a simple but intuitive experience that should be used to take full advantage of the speakers.
One of the headline features of the new BLAST and MEGABLAST, of course, is the Amazon Alexa capabilities through Wi-Fi. The voice controls allow you to control basic settings such as volume, ask personal assistant questions and general information, and through the use of Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, or TuneIn you can control songs. (Unfortunately, there is no Spotify or Apple Music support for the voice control functions.) Google Assistant has been a popular choice amongst personal assistant integrations for Bluetooth speakers this year, but Ultimate Ears has taken a different approach with Alexa. I personally don’t use voice assistants whatsoever, but I can see this being a welcome addition for many users, especially for those who are already used to the Amazon Alexa ecosystem around the house.
Battery Life on the UE BLAST & MEGABLAST
Battery life on both models is impressive: a 12-hour claim on the BLAST and 16-hours on the MEGABLAST. That’s enough to last you multiple listening sessions before charging. The battery life will depend on listening volume and frequency of Wi-Fi voice assistant use, but from listening alone at around 70% volume, I found a 10-12 hour battery life claim on the UE BLAST to be quite accurate. Ultimate Ears also introduced a neat accessory for the speaker called the POWER UP, a simple wireless docking station solution for easy charging for the speakers. With the use of a bottom thread attachment, the POWER UP was an elegant touch for charging while listening, but will have to be purchased separately.
The Best Wireless Speaker?
At the end of the day, the UE BLAST and MEGABLAST is a solid set of speakers due to strengths in multiple categories that consumers come to expect at this price point. First and foremost, sound quality was excellent, but in addition to that, the build quality and design is fun and vibrant, waterproofing is a great feature to have, and lastly, the battery life is excellent on both sizes. The UE BLAST is personally one of my set of Bluetooth speakers and is one that I can recommend for many.