Normally, using your phone or tablet to control playback on a Bluetooth speaker is no big deal, but there are situations where that is less than ideal. If you’re at the beach, for example, you might not want to risk bringing your phone near the water, even though the speaker you’re using is waterproof. In a case like that, users might want more detailed control over playback than simply skipping forward or backward through a playlist.
Fortunately, Ultimate Ears is introducing a solution to that very problem with two of its most popular speakers, the UE Boom 2 and UE Megaboom. On Tuesday, the company announced that both speakers are receiving an update that adds voice integration for both Siri and Google Now, offering users much more control over playback.
“Music lovers can now truly stay in the moment, playing their favorite song from the middle of the pool or even while diving off a cliff with their UE speaker in hand,” Ultimate Ears general manager Charlotte Johs said in a statement. “No matter how wet, muddy or wild the situation, with Siri and Google Now voice integration on UE Boom 2 and UE Megaboom, fans no longer need to pick up their phone to play DJ. Now, they can just say it to play it.”
With this update, users can simply tap the Bluetooth button on either speaker and Siri or Google Now take over from there. It isn’t quite as seamless as the voice control with something like the Amazon Echo, but it’s still a handy feature for anyone owns a UE Boom 2 or UE Megaboom. The new feature requires a firmware update, as well as an updated version of the mobile app for each respective speaker.
The UE Boom 2 debuted in September 2015 and retails for $200, while the UE Megaboom was released in January 2015 and sells for $300. Both speakers are IPX7-certified waterproof and offer 360-degree sound. In our review of the UE Megaboom, we praised the bass response, battery life, and feature set, but found the sound didn’t quite live up to some of the more premium Bluetooth speakers we’be seen.
Both the firmware update and the updated versions of the app for iOS and Android are available beginning today. For more information, see the Ultimate Ears website.
Updated by Kristofer Wouk on 06-28-2016: Edited to correct retail pricing of the UE Megaboom and UE Boom 2