Ultimate Ears recently released a new product on the market, the UE Blast Bluetooth wireless speaker. But this isn’t your ordinary Bluetooth and wireless speaker; it features voice control and delivers innovative ways of listening to your favourite tunes.
The Blast features a tubular design, measuring at 18.8 cm x 6.8 cm. It has easy to spot + and – symbols at the front, used to increase and lower the volume. At the top, you have the Bluetooth button; if pressed simultaneously with the – symbol, you’ll activate the Alexa Privacy mode and turn off the mic.
Next to the Bluetooth button at the top is the On/Off button. At the bottom, you have a small white LED, which signals the charging state. Next to it is the micro USB port. Below these parts is the slot for contact charging, which you can utilise if you have compatible accessories.
Blast is available in six colours. It is made of graphite and features minimalistic but funky design. The Blast also has the IP67 certificate: it is shock and waterproof (up to 1m) Upon purchase, you receive Micro-USB cable (for recharging, instruction manual, removable D-ring (for tripod installation), and one Lithium-Ion battery.
The Blast features Wi-Fi compatibility and works with both iOS (10.2+) and Android (5.0) devices. The Wi-Fi supports both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz networks and connects with devices that are within 100m of the speaker. It is also Bluetooth compatible, capable of connective with up to 8 devices simulations (max range of 45 m.)
One annoyance was that I needed Wi-Fi connectivity the first time I set up the Blast. The speaker runs off a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, with a maximum usage of around 12 hours. Naturally, the battery life will vary depending on use and eventually age.
Let’s start with the coolest feature: Alexa voice-control. The Ultimate Ears Blast isn’t merely compatible with Alexa; it has Alexa built into the device. As soon as you set it up, Blast will connect to your cloud, allowing you instant access to your music. Even though the Blast is a speaker, you can also use the built-in Alexa for its other functions. Use it to play music, check the weather, or to pre-order paper towels! Compared with Google Home, I felt that our experience with Alexa on the Blast wasn’t as polished. That said, this product feature shows great potential in the future.
We also mentioned that the Blast is waterproof and shockproof. This means that you can carry it with you wherever you go, in the shower or on the beach. The speaker is quite robust; it can take a couple of hits here and there. Another cool thing about the Blast is that it uses Ultimate Ears app, which features live updates, meaning that the Blast and its functions will improve with time.
The Blast uses a cylindrical 360 sound system, with the max loudness of 90 dB. The sound is loud and clear, focusing on all-direction performance and sound clarity. The Blast isn’t as loud as Ultimate Ears MegaBlast, but the max 90 dB will shake your furniture, especially if you play hard rock or electronica.
Thanks to the 360-degree system, the Blast is perfect for outdoor activities, parties, barbecues, etc. It delivers dynamic and immersive sound, one that will put you on the map. And if you think the music is too loud or too low, easily tell Alexa to lower the volume; easy, is it not?
It is clear that the Ultimate Ears has a clear vision of what the future of speakers should look like. Their waterproof and robust Blast Bluetooth/Wi-Fi speaker is, in essence, a 2 in 1 device, featuring voice control and delivering clear and high-quality 360 sound. Whilst, the Alexa experience could have been a little better, it was hard to fault the speaker capabilities of the unit at this price point.