We compare Ultimate Ears' new Blast and Megablast smart speakers, which pump out impressive audio and support Amazon's Alexa AI for smart home control.
Any new self-respecting speaker these day has to come with a smart voice-controlled assistant onboard. In the case of the new speakers from Ultimate Ears, it’s Amazon’s Alexa artificial intelligence that is running the show.
Ultimate Ears has just unveiled its new Blast and Megablast speakers as the portable way to get Alexa voice controls wherever you place the smart speakers. Of course, as you'd expect from UE, these new blasters are also about audio quality, connectivity and funky design.
So what’s the difference between the two new speakers and which is best for you?
Ultimate Ears Blast vs Megablast: Design and build
Both the Blast and Megablast look tough and they can certainly handle a fair bit of rough stuff. The speakers are both shockproof and waterproof thanks to an IP67 rating, which means they can be submerged in water up to three feet deep for up to half an hour. In other words, these speakers are ideal for blasting music by the pool, hot tub or on a boat. Good news for party people with cash to burn.
The UE speakers come in six colours including Graphite (Black), Blizzard (White), Blue Steel, Merlot (Red), Mojito (Green) and Lemonade (Yellow), with those colour options varying depending on your country of choice.
Both the Blast and Megablast feature 360-degree audio speakers, for sound which really fills the room, regardless of positioning. They also use microphones for that hands-free voice control, via Alexa.
The Ultimate Ears Blast has a reported battery life of 12 hours, while the Megablast will keep pumping out the tunes for a hefty 16 hours maximum.
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Ultimate Ears Blast vs Megablast: Sound quality and connectivity
Both the Blast and Megablast come with Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi built-in, meaning they can play music directly from a phone, tablet or computer, or via a wireless network connection. That Wi-Fi range is a hefty 330 feet, while the Bluetooth connection cuts off at a very respectable 150 feet.
The Megablast is the speaker that pushes the limits for Ultimate Ears, as it is the company’s most powerful yet - 40 percent louder than the Ultimate Ears Megaboom, in fact. That means you get a hefty 93 dBC but a more powerful mid-range, deeper bass and clearer reproduction of vocals and instruments.
The Megablast uses two 25mm tweeters, two 55mm active drivers and two 85mm x 50mm passive radiators. The Blast has less power and instead sports two 35mm active drivers and two 81mm x 39mm passive radiators.
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Ultimate Ears Blast vs Megablast: Smart features and Alexa
Thanks to the Amazon Alexa artificial intelligence built into the Blast and Megablast speakers, you’ll be able to control your music using your voice alone - presuming you’re using Amazon Music or another supported app. The speaker does come with a free three month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited (when bought before Jan 2018) however, meaning millions of tracks at your fingertips - or the tip of your tongue, rather. Plus, Deezer controls are apparently going to be added soon.
Of course, it’s not just music controls that Alexa is good for.
Amazon Alexa skills means you can also control any nearby smart devices using just your voice. From lighting and heating to cooking and cleaning, Alexa is one of the most widely-connected smart assistants. You can also ask it the weather, your commute, your calendar plan, order a pizza and even play word games.
The best part? Amazon is always adding more skills to Alexa's repetoire, so you’re getting a constantly improving speaker. For instance, you can now enjoy full multi-room audio playback, if you have more than one Alexa-supported speaker in your home. At over 25,000 skills available at time of publishing, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Ultimate Ears Blast vs Megablast: Pricing
The Ultimate Ear Blast is, as the more affordable option, priced at £200 here in the UK. The Ultimate Ears Megablast is the more premium speaker, packing in all of the power, and so is priced at £270.
Ultimate Ears has also launched a charging dock called Power Up that aims to tidy away wire clutter while charging. The Power Up dock is priced at £35.
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