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Customer Ratings & Reviews

Ultimate Ears - BLAST Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa - Graphite-Front_Standard

Customer rating

Rating 4.3 out of 5 stars with 322 reviews

86%
would recommend to a friend

Expert rating

Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars with 8 reviews

Pros

Cons

Customer ratings & reviews

Page 1, showing1-11 of 11 Reviews mentioning:
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Sound is great, Alexa is so helpful

    Posted
    Blukai99
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    Incredible sound! Can be used in any situation...party, sleep, in pool, shower, etc., Alexa can be turned on/off; The app. allows control of all.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Excellent sound!

    Posted
    MrsDodge222
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I love the sound that this speaker produces! The music and lyrics are so clear and crisp. The built in Alexa is so convenient. The app that controls the system is also pretty handy and made the setup really quick, I was done in just a couple minutes. I would have given a 5 star review but Spotify is not a supported app! Since that is my main source of music I would definitely like to be able to use the full functionality of this speaker to control it but I've settled myself to manual controls for now. However, that is the only downside that I found - overall an excellent product with amazing sound!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Loud, very loud.

    Posted
    jason
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    If you want a very loud speaker and waterproof, this is it. It is portable, good sound quality and comes with Alexa. It is easy to setup too, I have no problem using with my moto Z play android phone. Just install the Ultimate Ear app and Alexa app and follow instruction. No problem with wifi connection. It will be the perfect speaker if it has easier way to charge as now you have to place it upside down and peel open the rubber door to expose the micro usb port. Also it is lacking in bass, maybe a plus if you listen to audio book. There is no way to find out the battery level, the app only say partially charged. But I can overlook those because it is a loud portable good sound quality speaker.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Average sound, stylish design

    Posted
    BenisJ
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    The goal with any speaker should be quality sound before anything else. I have another, smaller UE bluetooth speaker that delivers better all-around sound than the Blast. The Blast gets plenty loud but the sound isn't very full. Very little bass and the higher end sounds are a bit tinny. The app seemed easy enough to setup...until it kept failing to complete the mandatory software update for my UE Blast out of the box. There was no skip option so in order to connect it to the wifi I had to muscle through the update. It took 3 tries. Even though it warned me not to turn off the device during the update, I had no choice. Nonetheless, eventually it updated and I was able to use Alexa. If you are a heavy "Alexa do this and that" person then the Blast is pretty cool even if the sound isn't great. I paired the Blast with my phone and my laptop. It continued to play music as long as I left my music player open on the laptop. I paused music and left the office for a while and the device shut off (likely when my computer went into standby mode). When I wanted to ask Alexa something I had to hit the on button and let it connect to wifi again. I had planned on keeping this unit in my kitchen. Having to tap the Blast to turn it on and wait for the wifi might get old fast. It isn't as fast asking Google or Siri on your phone. And if you want to play music by speaking a command, for now you have to rely on the Amazon music system ("Alexa play some hiphop" will play music from Amazon while "Alexa play my mellow jazz Spotify mix" will do nothing--but you can launch Spotify and bluetooth the stream to the speaker). The design is very stylish. It is basically an oversized pop can. Imagine a 16oz beverage can and you pretty much have the Blast in size and weight. I like the stylish lines, oversized buttons, and fabric mesh wrap. HOWEVER...the device needs to be set upside down if you want to charge it and keep it vertical. The USB (micro, not C) cable is included in the box as well as a wall charger but because of the design, you cannot plug the cable into the bottom and stand the Blast upright unless you flip it upside down--essentially charging from the top. The hook is also on the bottom of the speaker. To recap, sound quality less than spectacular, average at best. Loud enough. Stylish design with some flaws. Alexa is cool. I had some app setup issues but that may be a one-time thing. Either way it was resolved after some restarts. This product is just "meh" for me.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Good bluetooth speaker but left me wanting more

    Posted
    Section8ght
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    This Blast speaker is a good everyday take with you Bluetooth speaker for casual listening and added sound for movie streaming, but it left me wanting more overall. The initial setup was a little frustrating because you have to download the app before you can connect the speaker. The Alexa feature is a bit underwhelming because she does not pick up my voice very well and it feels like I have to yell to get a response sometimes. I listen to Pandora as one of my feature music apps and connected it thru the Alexa app for this speaker. Every time I asked Alexa to play one of my radio stations, it acted as if it was going to start playing, but then every time would respond with "I'm having trouble playing that station for you". Maybe there is an update that will fix the issues with the Alexa app, but for now I'm just using the Bluetooth feature to play music and connect to my laptop for streammg movies. For the size of the speaker I was expecting a lot more power with a full dynamic range. It does have full sound but seems to lack on the deep rich lows, mids and highs are great. The 360 degree profile I think only refers to the design of the speaker body, because if you listen closely while rotating the speaker, you can hear the change in sound from the different drivers built into the speaker. I have experienced several drop signals while using the Bluetooth which is kind of frustrating. I will be playing music and then ask Alexa to turn volume up or down, then the music would stop and not start playing again. I would have to disconnect the speaker and reconnect it. I love the look and feel of the speaker and really love that it is waterproof. It is the perfect companion for the shower and medley of songs. I can comfortably take this speaker in the shower or to the pool without the stress of worrying about it getting wet. Overall, this is a decent Bluetooth speaker but still needs a little work to iron out all the quirks with the wifi and Alexa. I have not used the multi connection with other UE speakers because I have no one with one to try it out. But I'm sure that would be really cool to share music and make a surround sound party at the beach or pool.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Excellent BT speaker falls short of “smart”

    Posted
    Ruff
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    The UE Blast is quite simply one of the best sounding compact Bluetooth speakers on the market. It easily outperforms similarly priced speakers from the likes of Bose, Harman Kardon, and JBL. It produces a full range of tones without ever sounding tinny or flat. It is capable of producing impressive bass, and volume for its size. I replaced a Bluetooth speaker in my home that was nearly four times the size, without questioning whether or not the Blast could produce the same quality of sound. A unique advantage of this model is that it produces stereo sound as its speakers are multi-directionally positioned within the unit. Now as far as being a "smart" speaker, powered by Alexa...it falls short in a few areas. First and foremost, Alexa is connected through WiFi and only supports (and therefore only can control) Amazon Prime Music or Amazon Music Unlimited. That means that if you use Spotify, Apple Music, or another streaming service, you must connect through Bluetooth and therefore cannot utilize Alexa's built-in controls. This also means that if you're streaming music over Bluetooth, that you lose connectivity when Alexa is activated. The speaker cannot simultaneously connect to Bluetooth and WiFi, and is incapable of smartly switching between the two. Once you have activated Alexa you must manually reconnect and restart the music that you had been playing through Bluetooth. This is a huge inconvenience, and the speaker's biggest downfall. Setup is fairly easy, but requires the Ultimate Ears app to be installed on your phone. The app itself is pretty basic, but even so still has some shortcomings. Once I set up the speaker once, I had to repair Bluetooth to my phone several times for no apparent reason, which was not easily done. Battery life is decent. Not nearly the 12 hours of playback that the materials quote though. Probably closer to 8 or 9. The unit itself is fairly attractive, made out of quality materials, and is fully dust and waterproof which is a must for a portable speaker. My only other complaint is that the charging port is on the bottom of the unit, so you cannot leave the speaker upright (its natural position) while charging. To do so, you would have to shell out $40 for the charging base for either the UE Blast or Megablast. Seems like an ill-conceived design or a way to gouge the customer on what is an already pricey product. If you're just looking for a great Bluetooth speaker, this does a nice job, but you could probably find a cheaper non-"smart" option.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

    Great idea, lacking design

    Posted
    ravedave
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    I have used several bluetooth speakers, at best this is an OK design. My setup had problems from the start. Alexa initial setup went well and the Bluetooth setup went ok. Came back in a few minutes and the bluetooth had disconnected and Alexa would not respond to commands. There is a button on the top for power (short push) and reconnect to bluetooth (longer hold). Alexa would not reconnect from the app so I had to use the Alexa app to reconnect. I emailed tech support to see if they has any suggestions with the connectivity, no response from them after 3 days. I always listen to the same song when I buy new speakers and headphones. This was definitely more in the treble than bass side. Pros: Nice design love the water resistance so I can take this to the beach or pool. Great battery life. Has some Alexa functionality. light weight Cons: connectivity issues with bluetooth and Alexa. The power is at the bottom, so you cant just leave this on the counter unless you buy the extra charging dock Limited Alexa commands, so not an echo replacement. Alexa can fail to "wakeup" to commands. no email tech support after 3 days. The sound was more on the treble side. Older versions of ultimate ears allows multiple devices to be connected for music play. this does not. Some of the issues I had may have been helped with support from Ultimate Ears. But 3 days and no email response makes it hard to know if its a me issue or a device issue hardware/software. I guess I have to say, look somewhere else for a speaker. I gave this 2 stars. It has some decent features and seems like a great idea and maybe it will get better with time

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Really excellent speaker with Alexa integration

    Posted
    Shaunh20
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    I had been looking to get into the speak-your-command speaker game for a while but was unsure of what I'd like to go with but ultimately when the opportunity came to get the UE Blast with Alexa I jumped at the chance. While I had some experience with issuing commands to my Xbox I knew the experience of using Alexa was much better since I had set them up as gifts for relatives in the past. When I received the UE Blast it was nearly fully charged and had minimal packaging. It was ready to go out of the box but I did have to download and configure the app which was pretty easy. After linking it to my account on Amazon and establishing a bluetooth and wifi connection I was ready to test it out. The speaker itself is quite similar in design to another speaker that my wife and I had been using for a couple of years now, that is the UE Boom. It's bigger and has better sound. I knew that our experience with the UE Boom had been a positive one, the speaker held a charge a long time, was easy to pair and had excellent sound so I held high hopes for the UE Blast. Once everything was configured the UE Blast was very easy to use by issuing Alexa commands. The toughest part is remembering the best way to address the commands, although it should be noted that Alexa doesn't require rote, specific type of commands (as the Xbox does) but through practice my wife and I have found out that it does respond to certain phrasings better than others. You also have to learn to add a slight pause after saying "Alexa" and not just start yelling out commands but that becomes second nature in practice. I was highly disappointed to see that Alexa could not control Spotify and that Spotify would only work when using a Bluetooth command, similar in nature to the UE Boom. Spotify is my primary music source and I do not like that Amazon seems to want to steer you to their Amazon Prime Music direction. However, it should be noted that you do not have to be a subscriber to the Amazon music service to use Alexa on this device, but it will open up more music, including your own if you have a subscription to it. I have used the speaker twice now in long sessions and the first session I got about 7 hours out of moderate listening levels which was, in my opinion, disappointing considering the speaker promises "up to 14 hours". We all know "up to" is the key there but still, half of the promised amount is not what I'd consider a home run. The second time listening from a full charge we got roughly 9 hours and that is listening at moderate listening levels so that was a bit better. It honestly made me wonder if the first I was not at a complete charge. It should be noted here that the only way to know the charge level of the speaker is through the app and you will only know two levels of charge, full charge or partial charge and that is a sincere lack of information in my opinion that needs updated with a future fix for the app. The quality of the sound of the speaker is very high for a large room and the speaker will fill the room with sound. Any larger than a large room though and the speaker will struggle but for most people volume or clarity of the music won't be any issue whatsoever. It was disappointing that I was unable to band my UE Blast to my UE Boom to create a stereo, or mirror, effect from one source. I worked on this for well over an hour before looking online and determining it simply is not possible. So word to the wise, if you already own a UE product and are considering buying this to add on as a "stereo" effect or even just a multi-room, one source solution you will be out of luck. It remains to be seen if this will be fixed in a future update but I sincerely doubt that it will happen based upon my research. Ultimately I do recommend this device, it's very clear, very loud, integrates Alexa commands perfectly and has decent battery life. Just be aware though that it won't control Spotify via Alexa, the battery life is not what is promised (but still good overall) and it won't pair with another UE device. Another downside of course is the price. I am not completely sure this is a great value for most people but I will say if you have the money the device won't disappoint. For most people on a budget this would be a better value purchase on sale or at a discounted rate perhaps on Black Friday. There are certainly more reasonably priced devices that will do many of what this speaker offers. But if you want a great all-in-one solution, are aware of some of the limitations of the device and its app and are willing to pay the money you cannot beat the UE Blast.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    All show and no go

    Posted
    Crasher
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member
    • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

    Ultimate ears blast, what is it and is the true 360 audio worth the buy? Ultimate ears blast is a mobile upright 360 audio boombox with Built in Alexa. Ultimate ears claims to provide a water tight true 360 sound with Alexa built in that you can take with you anywhere life may take you. Ultimate ears seems to fall short in a few key categories so lets dive in and talk about some of the good and bad with this product. First off out of the box your going to receive the Ultimate Ears speaker, micro sd charging cable, and some brief instructions on set up. Linking the speaker to your mobile device is done with in a matter of seconds. Ultimate Ears also provides an app that allows a few more features and the ability to update your speakers firmware. So lets talk about the app for a second. The app offers very little features as of writing this review. You can check your speakers battery life, link additional speakers, manage wi-fi settings and connect to and manage your Alexa and amazon account. That's really all the app has to offer and its kind of disappointing and let me tell you why. When I first turned on the speaker and linked it to my mobile device so I could stream music, the quality was average at BEST! I messed around a little bit with my mobile device's audio equalizer and it did seem to help out a bit however the equalizer is very basic and limited. I went on to Ultimate Ears app hoping to find an equalizer to help improve my audio quality and to my dismay they did not offer one. My mobile device's base equalizer did help to improve sound quality and made it at least sound decent. Everyone thing about the sound was truly average. While listening to some of my music all my tones were within equal range and never seem to over power one or the other. My bass never took away from my vocals and my mids never took away from my highs. Now as far as the 360 audio sound is concerned I do not feel this is a true 360 audio device. I own 3 other devices that are portable 360 audio boombox style and the sound coming out of those devices can be heard the same no matter where you are standing. With the Ultimate Ears Blast I noticed right off the bat that the speaker has a solid strip going down the speaker that houses the big volume up/down button. If you are standing in the direction of the volume buttons the audio is going to seem distant and far away due to the fact you have a solid strip covering up the speaker. With the speaker positioned at waist level I noticed audio pitch and quality varied depending on where you were standing in relation to the speaker. The point of a 360 speaker is to get the same sound and quality equally no matter where you stand in relation to the speaker up to a given point. The quality of the sound was so inconsistent that I found the best sound came from being within 5 feet of the speaker. Battery life also seemed to drop rather quickly. Ultimate Ears claims about 12 hours of battery life but I got about 10 hours before I had to recharge the speaker again. There is some good though. You have a portable Alexa that you can take with you anywhere that you can command to play your music or playlist and even get sports and weather updates. The unit is also water proof however I wouldnt be so quick to dunk it in water. It can easily shrug off any drink that may get spilled on it or if your having a poolside party any water that may get splashed on it will not affect it in any negative way. At the end of the day if your looking for a cost effective speaker that you can take with you no matter where you go that has a built in assistant then this may be for you. However if your like me and care how rich and consistent your sound quality is then you may wanna pass on this unit. My hope is that over time as the app and firmware updates the sound quality and functionality will continue to improve also.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    UE Blast is a blast, but at an explosive price

    Posted
    TechnicallyCorrect
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    The Ultimate Ears (UE) BLAST Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa is UE's first attempt at a wifi speaker with Alexa integration. Wi-Fi is a key point, this is not just a bluetooth speaker ( while an excellent bluetooth speak you should not buy it for that.) This seems to be nearly identical ( on the outside) to the UE Boom so if you want only a bluetooth speaker, you should be looking to that model since it much less expensive. Build - The speaker is a relatively small at about 7 inches by 3 inches. It is surprisingly heavy for its size, not too heavy but just an indictation of how solid it is. It is waterproof and dust proof so the entire speaker is covered in a rubberized plastic. The charging port and contact charging point ( more on that later) are covered by a cap made of the same rubberized plastic . It is screwed on to provide a tight seal. I like that aspect of the design but I can see the cap and screw being easily lost. I do not see those pieces as available for purchase on the UE site. As with most UE products, they are built like tanks. UE gets high marks for quality of design. Form - The speaker is cylindrical and designed to stand on one end but can easily be laid down if you choose ( not that you would want to.) When charging you cannot stand on the end in an upright position and have to lay it down. There is a charge base available called the Power Up charging dock but it will cost you $40 . This is a negative part of the design. In my opinion, you would want to have this always on a charging port in your home to take the place of Amazon Alexa. At the $230 list price, now you need to spend another $40 to use it the same way. Either they should have included it in the price or designed the plug in port so that you can stand up the speaker in the correct upright position. Function - As a speaker alone , it is great. The sound level is simply amazing for a a speaker of this size. It can easily fill up a room , very powerful. But power is not everything, I found the sound to clear with little or no distorition at high levels. Throughout the whole volume range the bass and treble were spot on . As a speaker alone, it is top notch. I would have like to see some controls for bass and treble in the app but there is none. So let's talk about the app. Don't get your expectations up, there is not much to it. It seems the app is there only to provide set up and does not do much more. You can see the battery level, turn on and off the microphone in the speaker and see some basic settings but that is about it. There is no equalizer, sound modes etc. When connected to Wi-Fi, you get the access to Alexa and can stream music from Amazon, iHeart and Tunein. You cannot ( yet) access Pandora, Spotify etc but can access most music services when streaming from bluettooth device to a speaker. I say this may change because I did not get a chance to test that aspect of it but I question what Amazon will allow to access since other music services are competitors. Beyond streaming you have access to the full Alexa suite - home automation, the Alexa app ( it worked great with the speaker) and much more. The microphones in the UE Blast were excellect. Not quite as sensitive as the Google home but did the job well. The speaker could mostly pick up my voice even with the speaker at full volume. in summary, this is a great speaker first and an Alexa enabled device second. It would be vice versa if the charging dock was included and the price was lower. The regular price on the speaker is about $230, plus the Power up charging dock is $40 plus tax; you are nearly at $300. At that price point, I do not think the value is there. UE needs to decide this is an Alexa device first, include the dock and have the overall price point at about $200. If they did that, this would be a 5 star product. Even so, I will still recommend it because of the stellar sound and quality and prices do come down over time.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Wonderful speaker, poor Alexa device

    Posted
    Bootleg89
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I was so excited to receive this item that I could barely contain myself. I have so many "smart home" devices and have always considered getting an Alexa device such as an Echo to control it all. When I saw the UE Blast with built in Alexa control I could not resist. Then I received it... Once I received the speaker I immediately set it up. It required an app that helped set it up. The app does almost nothing other than get the speaker online to your wi-fi. It does not offer any other useful features, maybe to update the system software when need be. The real functionality comes form the Alex app. That links all of your smart devices to the speaker and also to your Amazon account. This was the most exciting part for me. After set up I wanted to test it out. So I asked Alexa to open Pandora and play one of my favorite stations. No she says. Although the Alexa app allows you to link your Pandora account the speaker is NOT compatible with Pandora. What?? Then I read the box and it shows that the speaker works with only like 3 apps, iHeart Radio, Tune In, and Amazon Music. Huh? I was so confused. I pay for Pandora premium, so not being able to use it via the built in Alexa is extremely disappointing. So I asked Alexa to "play me some music". She started to play some songs. They sounded familiar, like it was pulling from my Google Play music library. So I asked Alexa to play a specific song and she says no again. I then asked Alexa "where are you playing music from?" She said she wasn't sure. Literally said she wasn't sure. Ugh. I then asked her to change my thermostat's temperature and she said that she could not do that either. Wow. The novelty of Alexa wore off quickly, not only with me but with all 3 other members of my household. They actually are angry with her and want her to leave. Now the speaker itself is terrific, which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 3. I love the crisp sound and the battery life is fantastic. I still have not needed to recharge it. It also gets very loud. I have to lower it sometimes since it is playing so loudly I don't even realize it. Overall I must say that the speaker works great as a portable waterproof rugged speaker, but you can say that about a lot of Bluetooth speakers. The Alexa feature was what was supposed to set it apart. That turns out to be the most disappointing feature on this device.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend