Customer Ratings & Reviews
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Customer ratings & reviews
Excellent BT speaker falls short of “smart”Posted
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
Really excellent speaker with Alexa integrationPosted
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
Ultimate Sound! A Powerful Amazon EchoPosted
I really enjoy this new speaker from Ultimate Ears. It's called the blast for a reason as you could blast your music insanely loud with 360 degrees of sound. There are some noticeable flaws to it but nothing major that turned me away from using it as my daily speaker. @@@@@@@@ Note: I list built in Alexa as a Con down below but it's also a Pro for different reasons which I also list further down. @@@@@@@ Cons: Sound Distortion- At high volumes there is a lot of distortion and it doesn't sound all too great. Built in Alexa - It may seem nice to be able to tell your speaker "Alexa, shuffle my music" but it really isn't all that satisfying when your speaker has to be connected to a WiFi network for that to work. I have a gym in my garage which is detached from my house and the WiFi isn't very strong in there so I could not use voice controls to play my music. When I was able to use voice controls the mics would not pick up my voice when the volume was too loud. When I told Alexa to raise volume to 10 I was surprised with how big the sound was that I wanted to lower it back down with voice controls to 5 but the mics would not pick me up even when I yelled at the speaker. No Aux Port: Very minor that there isn't an aux port with many new phones going without the headphone jack but it would've been nice to have one so you had an alternative to just using bluetooth or relying on a strong wireless network. Pros: Amazing Sound Quality: Despite not sounding great when the volume is all the way up this speaker does sound amazing at mid to slightly higher volume levels. It has a very smooth sound signature with enough bass to get me pumped for my workouts and enough volume to be heard from a distance without cranking it to max volume and distorting the sound. Alexa Built In: When connected to a WiFi network this speaker allows voice controls via Amazon's Alexa through your amazon account. The speaker practically turns into a glorified Echo device where you can use voice purchasing, ask questions, play games, and control your smart home devices. @@@@@@@@ note: you get three months of music unlimited from Amazon after purchasing this speaker) Water Resistant: Ultimate Ears seems to have this feature right on point where they've practically made it standard to include water resistance to their speakers which I highly appreciate. I do enjoy listening to music in the shower and with this speaker I don't even need my phone to play music so I could take it in the show without any worries about damage. Design: I'm really enjoying the tubular shape and how tall the speaker is. It'sn't a huge speaker by any means and is smaller than most medium sized speakers on the market. The 360 degree sound is really a benefit when it comes to design and I'm glad it's there. Surprisingly I was able to fit the speaker into my shorts pocket. Battery Life: 12 hour battery life is huge for me. I'm generally listening to music various times throughout the day without interruption and while using this speaker for 10 plus hours now it has not died. I also have it auto sleep when not in use for 15 minutes to save battery life if I forget to shut it off which happened often after messing around with Alexa voice commands. Overall, I really do enjoy using this speaker and I would definitely recommend it to my friends and family members. The price point is really premium but you are getting Alexa built in and a regular Echo isn't cheap so you are essentially getting two products here. I like Alexa built in but I feel as if you have to have the speaker docked and plugged into the charger for it to function like a voice assistant at all times which isn't too practical. Personally, I'm using this speaker as a portable device with a few commands thrown at it here and there since my home is integrated with Alexa compatible devices but mainly I use it for its intended purpose and that is music. It's a bummer that only Amazon music is supported with this device so I can't use voice controls to play my music from Spotify or Google Play Music. It'sn't a huge deal since there is Bluetooth compatibility which works just fine. It's a great speaker with amazing sound and some neat features and it's definitely worth it for me.
I would recommend this to a friend