Through the years, the Boom speakers from Ultimate Ears has been one of the most favored portable Bluetooth devices in the market. It is well-designed and compact while also giving you big and excellent sounds despite its small size. Also, it’s suitable for outdoor use which makes it even better.
Ultimate Ears has a long history of creating outstanding and highly notable portable Bluetooth speakers. We have a couple of favorites from them like the Ultimate Ears Boom 2; this has been a constant favorite, and it is still listed as one of the best Bluetooth speakers around. This is why we were really excited when Ultimate Ears introduced their next generation Blast portable speakers.
If you take a look at it, it is shaped like the earlier Megaboom and Boom 2; however, the company included Amazon Alexa voice control and Wi-Fi connectivity for more convenience.
Blast is one of the smaller options in Ultimate Ears collection of smart portable speakers which just sits below their humongous Megablast Speaker. At first glance, you’ll notice that it is identical to the Boom 2, but if you take a deeper look at its features and specifications, you’ll find a ton of upgrades in this little speaker. The best thing about Blast is that these are probably the best-sounding portable speakers in the market today which have been Alexa-enabled.
Did these speakers pique your interest? If so, let’s learn more about the Ultimate Ears Blast portable Bluetooth speakers, its features, specifications, performance, and if it’s something that you’d want to add to your audio set.
Ultimate Ears Blast Review – What’s in the Box?
The Ultimate Ears Blast comes in a rectangular box black box that exhibits the product’s image. It also goes together with the company’s name which is written at the front portion of the box; you will also find this at the back and sides of the package.
For the speakers’ key features, you will find a couple of its details written at the back and sides of the box. Also, these information are written in French for the convenience of other customers. Other than these details, there aren’t any other important information about the product displayed on the box’s exterior.
Once you open the package, you will find the cylindrical-shaped speaker which is set in a sturdy plastic tray. It fits perfectly in this container which helps prevent the device from moving around when being transported. There are other items in the package and these include the USB cord, the charging plug, and a removable D-Ring.
Ultimate Ears Blast Review – The Best Gets Better
We’re glad to see the tough, rugged, and funky design again, and they used this for their Blast speakers. You can set it in your backpack and take it to camping, biking, or to the beach. This portable and durable Blast speaker will surely withstand all types of conditions. It is made to be waterproof and durable, thus, can withstand downpours, and even drops while outdoors.
Its design is definitely a big refinement and upgrade to the Ultimate Ears Boom 2; though the two devices appear very identical, the UE Blast sports a more cylindrical appearance that comes with sharp lines. The company decided to keep their cloth exterior – a feature that has become staple for the line of portable Bluetooth waterproof speakers.
If you’re someone who likes matching your speakers with your camping or outdoor gear, then you’ll definitely love the black-colored device that goes with any theme in mind.
If you look at the top portion of the speaker, you’ll see the power and pairing buttons. These come with a nice white light indicator; the front portion of the speaker features big volume buttons. There aren’t any playback buttons so this is where you can put Alexa to use; you can also use your smartphone if you decide to stream music via Bluetooth. On the bottom part of the speaker, you’ll see the screw down loop holding the cover that conceals the micro USB charging port.
If you want to have things easier, you also have the option to use Ultimate Ears’ Power Up dock and just set the speaker on this for charging.
Let’s talk about the specifications for the speakers’ 360 sound. It has a 90 dB maximum sound level and a frequency range of 90Hz to 20kHz. It features two 35-millimeter drivers as well as two 81-millimeter by 39-millimeter passive radiators.
We mentioned earlier that the Ultimate Ears Blast speaker doesn’t feature any playback buttons; this is because the company made this specific device a hands-free and voice-controlled speaker. They integrated the use of Alexa to the system so it can be used conveniently at home or on the go. This speaker is considered as a standalone Alexa-enabled product so it doesn’t require a Dot or Echo.
Ultimate Ears also included multiple mics featuring the Beam Forming technology and noise cancellation features to allow for a smoother and clearer far-field voice recognition, as well as control experience. For the speaker’s power, it comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can last up to a total of twelve hours of battery life.
When it comes to its compatibility, the speaker requires a Wi-Fi router with 802.11 a/b/g, or n for the initial setup. Audio playback is also supported for all Bluetooth devices featuring A2DP or Advanced Audio Distribution Profile.
Now for the wireless capabilities, the dual-band Wi-Fi supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks and for Bluetooth connections, you can pair up to a total of eight Bluetooth-enabled devices. Its Wi-Fi range is pretty good at 330 feet while its Bluetooth range is up to 15 0 feet.
Talking about the system requirements, you’ll surely need a Wi-Fi network, as well as a compatible iOS or Android mobile device; the minimum operating system requirements are Android 5.0 and iOS 10.2.
The Ultimate Ears Blast is IP67 dustproof and waterproof so it can be immersed in water for up to 30 minutes under 1 meter. All the speakers made by Ultimate Ears are IPX7 rated and waterproof, so you can have fun outdoors without worrying about the device getting wet. The best thing about the device is that it comes with a two-year limited hardware warranty.
Ultimate Voice Control
The Blast speaker is integrated with Amazon Alexa and directly connects to a cloud with Wi-Fi. Link to any mobile or Wi-Fi hotspot to take advantage of voice-controlled music and the full range of what Alexa can offer.
You only need to speak a command, or any word for that matter, and have tunes blasted out from Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, Deezer, Spotify, and Tune-In. You can also control your smart home devices, check the weather, and even enjoy all the other great uses of Alexa.
Ultimate Sounds + Endurance
Although this is a little speaker, the Ultimate Ears Blast is also a very powerful device. It is able to blast 360° of crystal-clear, clean, and bold sounds that will bring the music and its beat to life.
The Blast speaker is also a durable and highly enduring device, thanks to its rugged and portable design, as well as its 12-hour battery life. This will keep you going as much as you want, despite being outdoors.
Since Blast is a Bluetooth-enabled device, you can head out of your home, away from your Wi-Fi, and still be able to play and enjoy music from your smartphone or any other Bluetooth device. With this speaker from Ultimate Ears, the party will never stop.
Get Smart, Overtime
The speaker makes use of over the air software updates that gets even better every time. Just start the Ultimate Ears application then get their latest updates to enjoy the best wireless music experience.
Power Up Charging Dock
Power Up from Ultimate Ears makes charing extremely easy. You can listen to all the music you want simultaneously with charging the device. The sleek and rather cool design of Power Up looks great with the black Blast speaker that we have. The charging dock keeps your portable Bluetooth speaker charged at all times, so you won’t have to worry about not having enough power to play your favorite tunes.
The box containing the Power Up charging dock comes with the device itself, a chrome screw-in piece at the bottom that includes a pogo point, and a micro USB charger. The dock features the white LED on the side that blinks every time you charge the speaker; when it is fully charged, the white LED remains stable. We thought it was really easy to use and this is all thanks to the slight slope around the pogo pin.
It’s cool that the Power Up charging dock doesn’t have any wires. We dislike the sight of having messed up wires in the office so the fact that it is built this way, makes everything better and more convenient.
Using the Product
Alexa was able to support functions as it did with Ultimate Ears’ bigger speakers. For setup, you will need to download the Ultimate Ears app and from there, you will need to follow a couple of on-screen commands to pair your speaker with the Amazon account and your Wi-Fi.
It’ll take you less than five minutes to setup and install the software updates; after this, you’re good to go. Just remember that the application is mainly for establishing your Blast speaker with the Amazon link and it’s not really something that you need to use on a regular basis.
Just like Amazon’s Echo devices, you’ll need to connect to your Wi-Fi or mobile hotspot to use Alexa. It has a ton of skills available which includes the ability to manage smart home products. Currently, the applications that are Alexa-enabled include iHeart Radio, TuneIn music, and Amazon Music. You can also stream any music service with the Bluetooth just like how you’d work with the Boom 2 or Megaboom speakers from Ultimate Ears.
Let’s start off with Alexa and the commands. Alexa works similarly with every other smart speaker available. Speak the assistant’s name with a specific command and it will jump to action. These commands include everything from pausing or skipping music, playing a specific band or genre from Amazon Music.
We think that Ultimate Ears did a good job of integrating Alexa to their Blast speaker. It works just like the Dot smart or Amazon Echo, with Alexa being summoned to execute or respond to a large number of inquiries. In this case, you will mainly use this service to play music.
The commands work fairly well: the size of our workspace is just like a double bedroom and we didn’t experience any troubles or difficulties when it came to giving commands. Of course, Alexa is still not the best and smartest digital assistant available, and it still has a little trouble with complex instructions or commands and multiple questions. However, the service is still good enough for your regular music playing needs.
We think that the biggest advantage of using the service of Alexa is that it can let anyone in your home listen to music. This is because they won’t have to go through the process of pairing their smartphones to the speaker using the Bluetooth.
If you have already used a product from Ultimate Ears, then you probably know of the company’s most popular feature: the 360-degree audio for the best audio experience. We’ve tested the original Boom speakers, as well as the Boom 2 version and initially, these devices performed excellently in terms of sound quality.
The Blast portable speaker continues this trend and has become one of the most efficient and best sounding small smart speakers that we’ve tried.
We mentioned earlier that it does look a lot like the Boom 2, however, the Blast speaker has a slightly tweaked and altered internal speaker setup. Also, the sounds produced by Blast seems more refined compared to the previous offerings from Ultimate Ears. Listening to a variety of genres and music like post-rock, pop, disco gave off clear and pleasing sounds.
The rumbling bass and heavy sounds of the drums were distinct but everything blended perfectly for excellent audio experience. Jazzy tunes sounded exceptionally great, and in general, the speaker was able to deal with complex arrangements which was really good.
The speaker was also able to maintain its sound quality by having no distortions even at increased volume levels. When we tried playing heavy punk and rock music, the guitar and drums sounded great while the speaker was able to retain its clear sounds. For music that was heavy on bass, everything sounded perfectly as well. All in all, the sound quality that Blast provided us is better than what you’d expect, and it even sounded better than the Amazon Echo.
When it comes to the battery life of the speaker, it’s relatively solid and long lasting. We did our best to leave the speakers switched on for as long as we could and also on high volume. Surprisingly, it was able to last 12 hours of usage and we’re really surprised by this. It lasted the whole time off a single charge which is something that everyone will definitely appreciate. Just like what the company said, the battery life of the Blast speaker is durable, and is definitely one of its key features.
If you’re someone who is in search for a rugged, durable, and quality smart speaker, then the Ultimate Ears Blast is definitely your best pick over all the similar devices today. It offers better and clearer audio compared to other speakers around, and its performance also comes close to matching with the higher-end devices of today. Aside from its performance, its durable and sturdy design is also a great feature; plus, it also provides extremely clear sounds despite playing music at high volume levels.
To use the Ultimate Ears Blast speaker, you’re required to install the Ultimate Ears application which is available for both Android and iOS. The software is good and it gets updated regularly, so you won’t miss out on any of the benefits that it offers. The application also provides you with three free months of Unlimited Amazon Music which is nice since you can take advantage of this when you connect your Blast speaker.
The software also lets you tweak and customize the auto-sleep time, the language, as well as the updating manner of the firmware.
After trying out and using the Ultimate Ears Blast speaker, we can say that it’s like two products in one. It is mainly a portable Bluetooth speaker but with the additional function of a smart speaker just like the Amazon Echo. The inclusion of the smart assistant, Alexa, makes the speaker more useful for your home especially when paired with the Power Up dock.
When you need to leave the house for a camping, hiking, or beach trip, then you’ll have a durable and cool-sounding Bluetooth speaker with you. Overall, we would highly recommend the Ultimate Ears Blast speaker to you.
Where to Buy
If you want to have your own Ultimate Ears Blast Speakers, you can visit Ultimate Ears’ official website to purchase for only $279AUD.