From Boom to Blast, new UE speakers add Alexa and amp up the volume

Ultimate Ears UE Megablast Blue Steel

Ultimate Ears has cultivated a reputation for crafting quality speakers and headphones, both for professional studio use (see: the incredible UE 18+ Pro) and for rugged outdoors adventures (see: the amphibious Wonderboom). Suffice it to say that when UE tells us they’re launching new products, our ears perk up.

And, after getting a look at UE’s new fall lineup, we feel lucky our ears are even still attached to our heads. For the past few years, the Boom moniker — currently attached to the aforementioned Wonderboom, the Boom 2, and the Megaboom — has been synonymous with UE’s line of speakers. Today, though, the new Blast and Megablast are changing the name and the game.

Both the Blast and Megablast are equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and voice-controlled Alexa support, meaning you no longer need to play music from a phone or tablet. Say “Alexa, play Feel It Still,” and within seconds, you’ll be jamming to Portugal. The Man’s newest hit — no hands necessary. Alexa can adjust volume, read you the weather forecast, and answer millions of questions, just like she can with one of Amazon’s smart speakers. Both speakers feature three microphones along the top, so we’re optimistic about accuracy for far-field voice recognition.

In addition to Amazon Music (as well as Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, of course), the speakers support TuneIn and iHeartRadio over Wi-Fi, with both Pandora and Deezer on the way soon. They’re also Bluetooth enabled, in case you’d prefer to play Spotify or Apple Music (or Youtube, or whatever) from your phone. For loudness control, huge, trademark UE analog volume buttons are proudly displayed in white.

The Megablast will be 40 percent louder than the Megaboom, which was already quite powerful.

The Blast and Megablast — comparable in size to the Boom 2 and the Megaboom, respectively — feature the same cylindrical shape as their brethren, only with sharper edges and a slightly more contemporary aesthetic overall. The Megablast is UE’s first wireless speaker featuring independent tweeters (two, at 25mm) along with 35mm active drivers and passive radiators to boot. According to Ultimate Ears, the Megablast will be 40 percent louder than the Megaboom, which was already quite powerful.

Both speakers are IP67 rated for dust and water resistance, meaning they’ll happily and safely accompany you in the shower (though, unlike the Wonderboom, they won’t float). The Blast’s battery is rated at 12 hours, while the Megablast should last for 16.

The speakers will officially release on October 26, with a retail price of $230 for the Blast and $300 for the Megablast. Both speakers will launch with four colorways in the U.S.: Graphite, Blizzard, Merlot, and Blue Steel. During a live demo, we also saw versions in Mojito green and Lemonade yellow; we don’t yet know when or if those colors will see the light of day.

But wait! There’s more! In addition to the Blast and the Megablast, the new UE Power Up charging dock — compatible with both Blast and Megablast — allows you to juice up the speaker by simply placing it atop the dock. The Power Up (see above) is available in white and white only, for $40, and it’ll launch alongside the speakers on October 26. You can pre-order it via UE or Amazon now.