We here at Digital Trends are unapologetic fans of the California-based audio tech company Ultimate Ears. The brand’s line of extremely rugged waterproof Bluetooth speakers not only sound explosive but also look ridiculously cool and have awesome monikers. Two of the company’s finest offerings are the incredibly loud Blast and Megaboom 3, which have each earned the Digital Trends’ stamp of approval. Right now, they’re available on Amazon at awesome discounted prices.
Since Amazon’s voice assistant has become so popular, Ultimate Ears has decided to preload her into some of its Bluetooth speakers. Enter Blast, which looks nearly identical to the rest of its siblings but is equipped with Wi-Fi, microphones, and everything that Alexa needs. It’s cylindrical like a tall beer can, with a thick rubber coating that makes it water-resistant in meter-deep water for not more than 30 minutes. But unlike the Megaboom 3 (see below), this speaker doesn’t float. It’ll sink like a rock when you throw it in the pool, and no one can really listen to music underwater. Better place it by the pool and not in it.
As usual, you can find two giant volume buttons on the side — Ultimate Ears’ signature look — and the power and Bluetooth buttons on the top. On the bottom, you’ll find a rubber flap that conceals the charging port, which is secured by a “D-Ring” screw. Remove the screw so you can mount the Blast on a tripod. Unfortunately, since the charger plugs into the bottom, you’ll have to flip the Blast upside down in order to charge it. You might want to spend an extra $40 for the wireless charging dock. Thankfully, this issue has been fixed with the Megaboom 3.
We’ve already kind of expected it, but it’s still worth mentioning that the Blast offers a dynamite audio performance. Despite its modest size, the Blast gets very loud – so loud, in fact, that you will not want it at max volume in the shower (trust us). Even at higher volumes, though, we rarely noticed any distortion, as the speaker reproduced a variety of music with impressive clarity.
So how well does it work as an Amazon Echo speaker alternative? Terribly, to be quite honest. Initially, we were pretty stoked to give it a try since most of our favorite speakers right now support Alexa. That excitement vanished quickly though. When using the voice assistant, there’s a two-second delay before she answers, and we can’t tell if she’s actually listening without looking at the top of the Blast. The supposedly far-field microphone isn’t the most accurate either. You’d have to enunciate very very clearly for Alexa to understand what you’re saying. Battery life is good at 11 to 12 hours at moderate volume.
Still, we can’t deny the fact that Ultimate Ear’s Blast is stupendous as a Bluetooth speaker. Right now, you can get a renewed unit on Amazon for a cool 11% off. Get it for the incredibly low price of $51 instead of $58.
The cylindrical Megaboom 3 comes in many colors, including Lagoon (blue), Night (black), Ultraviolet (purple), and Sunset (red). This deal’s speaker comes in Cloud (light blue). Once again, there are two massive volume buttons on the side and the Megaboom 3’s exterior is protected by a high-density fabric that’s designed to withstand the elements.
With an IP67 water-resistance rating, this portable speaker can hold out against virtually any type of abuse. You can take it with you while swimming (this speaker floats) or tag it along on muddy camping grounds. Just make sure the water is no more than three feet deep and it doesn’t stay submerged for more than 30 minutes. Its multifunctional top button — Ultimate Ears calls it the “Magic button” — can be used to play and pause a song, skip tracks, and even pull up an assigned playlist. You don’t even need to pick up your smartphone to listen to your favorite tracks.
One of the issues of the older Booms, Megabooms, and even the Blast is you had to turn them upside down in order to charge them. Thankfully, Ultimate Ears has repositioned the Micro USB charging port of the Megaboom 3 on the side, so you can now charge it upright. This speaker also pairs with smartphones via Bluetooth quickly, and its signal strength is strong enough to continue playing even with several walls in the way. You can also set it up to play music simultaneously with other Ultimate Ears speakers.
When it comes to sonic performance, the Megaboom 3 is powerful, punchy, and perfect. It can go incredibly loud without any noticeable distortions, and the way it disperses sound is pretty impressive. It projects a bold and vibrant sound in all directions, which can easily fill a room and won’t sound tinny outdoors. Finally, the Megaboom 3 promises to make parties last longer, thanks to its 20-hour battery life.
Ultimate Ear’s Megaboom 3 usually comes with a $200 price tag, but now you can get it on Amazon for an awesome $40 off. Let it fuel your parties with headbanging tunes for $160. What’s even more awesome is that you can get an additional $50 off instantly when you are approved for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card, bringing the price even lower to $110.
Ultimate Ear’s Blast and Megaboom 3 can both be cranked up to an incredibly loud volume without ruining the music, guaranteeing a rollicking good time at parties. You can’t go wrong with the Blast despite its disappointing Alexa integration, and it’s our pick for the best waterproof Bluetooth speaker of 2019. For $108 more, the Megaboom 3 offers longer battery life, more smart features, a better placed charging port, and the ability to float. We deemed it the overall best Bluetooth speaker for 2019.
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