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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 323 reviews

86%
would recommend to a friend

Expert rating

Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars with 8 reviews

Pros

Cons

Customer ratings & reviews

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Excellent BT speaker falls short of “smart”

    Posted
    Ruff
    • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
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    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: 3 out of 5 stars

    Great speaker . . . if you can get it to set up.

    Posted
    TechEnthusiast
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    Logitech makes some of the best keyboards and mice in the world. . . . They should probably just stick with that. The Ultimate Ears Blast speaker was an absolute nightmare to set up. Their site lists the requirements as being an Apple device running iOS 10.2 or an Android device running Android 5.0 or later. Good luck finding an Android device that this will work with this, though. I tried setting this speaker up on a ZTE phone running Android 5.1 and an Acer tablet also running Android 5.1. Neither of them was able to get through the installation process. The phone was able to find the speaker during setup, but it would consistently tell me that the speaker was unavailable. The tablet said the speaker was unavailable 2 out of every 3 attempts, but it would allow me to progress through the setup process on the 3rd attempt. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t finish the setup process with the tablet. At random points during setup (usually during the bluetooth setup but once on the finish screen itself) the setup process would suddenly lockup and force me to start over from the beginning (again with the speaker being unavailable 2 out of every 3 tries). I finally ended up borrowing a family member’s LG phone just long enough to set up the speaker. It took two tries on her phone, but I was able to make it all the way through the setup process. This brings us to the next difficulty. Having set up the speaker using my Amazon account and her WiFi, I tried changing Amazon accounts, thinking we could all give it a try as a family. NOPE. The speaker locks into whatever Amazon account is entered during setup, and good luck trying to change it. You can sign out of the account (whereupon Alexa quits responding completely), but upon trying to sign back in, it automatically logs you in with the account you initially used. As near as I can tell, there is no way to switch to a different account. The speaker, itself, works well with just a few little quirks. Alexa answered questions easily and kept us amused with some of its quirky answers. That being said, there were times when the speaker would just inexplicably stop responding for extended periods of time. The light on top would light up (indicating that it was listening), but then it wouldn’t react at all. Other times, the speaker seemingly goes to sleep with the light not even turning on. Unfortunately, the speaker doesn’t appear to be capable of making phone calls or using Amazon’s “Drop In” function (yet?). It was able to set reminders, answer questions and perform other Echo functions, though. The speaker also exhibited an odd, unpleasant “buzz” when set to maximum volume. Keeping it at 4-5 (out of 10) was adequately loud for our needs, though. The hardware, itself, is somewhat problematic too. The USB charging port is hidden behind a rubber flap on the bottom (note: don’t pull on the metal ring on the bottom. That won’t lift the flap). The port is positioned in such a way that you can’t have the speaker stand upright while charging. This is problematic for people who would be inclined to use this speaker as a full-time Alexa speaker and a part-time portable, Bluetooth speaker. Hopefully a stand or something will become available in the near future to allow this to charge while standing upright. I don’t dislike this speaker, but the aggravation of the setup process definitely soured things for me some. Between that, the sometimes unreliable response to voice prompts, the lack of the ability to make phone calls, and the unfortunate placement of the charging port; this speaker was a little disappointing. It was cute listening to Alexa as my family asked her to tell us jokes and sing songs to us though. I love the Logitech brand, and I’d heard good things about their UE speaker line, but this speaker misses the mark some. Honestly? I’m on the fence about whether or not to recommend this speaker.

    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: 3 out of 5 stars

    Nice but could be better

    Posted
    CoppinFam
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    In the box is the speaker, and a beautiful white cord for charging (I have so many charging cords and having a sturdy white one is nice to me!) Download the speakers app and charge out of the box and you are ready to set up the product. I charged while sleeping, so I am not completely sure how long this device takes to charge. (The battery indicator in the app tells you that the battery is fully charged, partially charged and .) The positives: Sound- the speaker in my opinion has great sound. It fills the room and Alexa is easy to hear in multiple rooms. I was able to activate from decent distance (from the bedroom to the next room with the door open) The undecided: Connectivity: The music play on bluetooth did drop once while listening in a 30 minute increment. I was playing from Apple Music via bluetooth and the music stopped playing all of a sudden. Otherwise, connectivity was very good. I did have the product right beside my phone when the signal dropped. Portability: The speaker is not too heavy to carry around but if you are not in wifi Alexa will not work but you can use as a portable bluetooth speaker. The negative: The speaker automatically plays from Amazon Music only! The negative is for people that already have Apple Music, Spotify, etc. The plus side, the app does send you a link for a three month free trial. If you don't want to keep it, you have to manually connect your music to the bluetooth. Another negative for me is having multiple people using the product. In my opinion, I would like to be able to walk into the room and activate the product by talking to Alexa but if another device connects, you have to open the app and re-connect each time the bluetooth. The Alexa system didn't work until I connected the bluetooth. Wifi- I tried to connect the wifi using the hotspot on my phone and it didn't work. It couldn't find my connection. (I wanted to try to use outside of my home in a home that didn't have wifi.) With updates, this product will be better but at this point I would not buy again. Also if it were just a bluetooth speaker without Alexa, I would definitely buy again. Would I recommend this to friends and family, maybe. I would definitely let them know to wait for more updates and this would be a great purchase.

    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
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    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 am 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 am 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

    Great potential, needs more work!

    Posted
    TheTruthRealDeal
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    The Ultimate Ears - BLAST Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant - Blue Steel is a device that I could not get up and running at 100%. I had to call customer service to address my concerns, but the representative was not knowledgeable enough to solve my problems. First, I downloaded the Ultimate Ears app and followed the step by step instructions to complete setup. Second, I signed into my Amazon account to connect with Alexa voice control. Third, I downloaded the Amazon Alexa app as recommended. I asked simple commands such as, what is the time and weather? The answers were stated correctly by the Blast speaker. Problems arose when I tried to get it to play music from my Google Pixel and from Tunein. No sound was produced from the Blast; even though I saw the playback icon fluctuate that meant the song was playing. The second day I tried to test it out, I said Alexa play Tunein. It connected to Tunein, without any problem. When I said Alexa stop playing music, Blast kept on playing music. The only way I could stop the music playing was by shutting down the Blast completely. All problems with the Ultimate Ears - BLAST Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant - Blue Steel come from the syncing with Amazon Alexa. Using the Ultimate Ears - BLAST Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant - Blue Steel strictly as a Bluetooth device works fine. I can tap on Blast under my Blutooth settings and connect my Google Pixel phone and then I can play music from any installed app. If Amazon Alexa can work perfectly with Blast, then the Blast experience would be fantastic. The volume is tremendous, but I was not able to find out how to create more bass. The potential of the Blast is great, once Alexa is properly synchronized.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Not much of a Blast.

    Posted
    Parker
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    Ok, the idea of an Ultimate Ears speaker with Alexa sounds like an excellent combination. I was excited. First let me talk about the speakers build quality. It look quality built and premium. I like the soft rubberized parts to it and the speaker grill which is made up of some fabric material instead of the usual metal is nice looking and pretty unique. The sound is great, has good bass and can get really loud! It comes with a usb charging cable and a wall plug. It is also waterproof. Set up was a breeze just linked it up to my amazon account, wifi and bluetooth. Now here's the issue i have, it's with Alexa and the bluetooth connectivity. When i ask alexa to do something i notice it disconnects from bluetooth. So, when i ask her to play a station from pandora it will disconnect from bluetooth and play from my phone. So i go into the UE app and it say bluetooth disconnected. Check settings in my phone and it is disconnected. I tried this about 10 times and kept getting the same result. When I reconnect and just play music from my phone manually it plays through the blast speaker no problem and does not lose bluetooth but who want to do it that way when you have Alexa integrated into the speaker. So i believe each time i ask Alexa a command it disconnects me from bluetooth prompting my to reconnect each time. Maybe they can fix this with an update. That is my biggest gripe with the speaker. Sound great, looks good but Alexa and bluetooth connectivity not good.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Good sounding speaker with connection issues

    Posted
    charliehustle77
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    To start off the sound quality from the blast is top notch. Very clear and a decent but not overpowering amount of bass. I like the feel of this speaker as well as it is rubberized and feels rugged like you can take it with you to the beach or camping as it is IP67 rated for sound and dust. The only issue, and it's a pretty big issue, is the connectivity issues I experienced while using the blast. Alexa and my bluetooth automatically just disconnects after a bit of time. I've tried to reconnect thru the app and eventually I have to set the whole thing up again thru the app like a new device. Not something I want to do every time I want to play music or use Alexa. I'm assuming that this is something that can be corrected thru a software update and is possibly just a glitch. I'm giving it 3 stars because I feel the sound is good and when it's working, Alexa is fun to play around with. I'm also giving this 3 stars with the expectation that the connectivity issues will be fixed with this speaker. As of this time I would not recommend the blast due to the price and current issues with the speaker. Once the connection issues are hammered out, I would recommend it.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Some connectivity issues

    Posted
    Jordan
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    The Ultimate Ears - BLAST speaker is a great portable speaker with great quality sound. One thing that I have noticed from using it on a daily bases is that the speaker has had connectivity issues. On the day that I got, I went through all of the steps to get the speaker connected (downloaded the app). Once I completed the process, I tried to listen to music, but received a message informing me that the speaker was not connected. I went back to the app and tried to connect it manually again. I restarted the speaker and finally got it to work. Through continuous use, I have still been having some connectivity issues with the speaker. Once connected, the speaker sound is great. It provides hours of music entertainment, and best of all, Alexa is now included! I am a Prime subscriber, so this is a big plus for me. It is pretty lightweight, and even has a clip provision. Overall, the Ultimate Ears - BLAST speaker has amazing sound quality. The reason for the three start rating is the connectivity issues that I have been experiencing almost every day since I got it. Not sure what the issue is there, but hopefully it will be resolved.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Decent speaker, with some design flaws

    Posted
    JediPy
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    Figuring out how to setup this speaker wasn't easy, but I was able to do it in about 15 minutes. It has really good sound quality, especially via Bluetooth from a phone. Alexa recognizes your voice about 80% of the time, which is pretty good. However, this device is clearly meant to be used wirelessly. There's no easy way to get it to stay standing up when it's plugged in. It also goes to sleep when not used for a while (and cant be turned off) - this is different than simply muting the mic. One cannot walk into the room after it hasn't been used in a while and give Alexa commands. This is a major drawback. Overall, it's a decent device if you're willing to deal with some of the design issues.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    UE stands for Unknown Error

    Posted
    Tyson
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    For so long now I have been impressed with UE speakers. That ends today! I bought this thing for the office because it connects to my phone and supposedly serves as Alexa for my Amazon services. Guess what? It doesn’t! It connects to my phone via Bluetooth but that’s where the honeymoon stops. Alexa is constantly disconnecting. I can maybe play my Amazon music, iHeartRadio, or pandora for maybe 10 minutes then she tells me ‘something went wrong. Try the help section in my Ultimate Ears app’. Well, I did to no avail. I would take this thing back if it wasn’t too late.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    A step backwards

    Posted
    Someguy
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
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    While this is a nice speaker and I got a good deal on it, it feels like a step backwards from the UE Boom 2, which is the opposite of what I expected. The Alexa function is nice but mostly a novelty. Replacing the dual pairing stereo function with that is a poor trade off. This speaker does sound more clear than their previous models. The treble is more crisp. But the bass is so quiet, even after using the EQ app to adjust the sound profile. Overall, I am disappointed with the performance of this speaker, but it looks nice and gets the job done, so I'm not returning it at least.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Something was wrong

    Posted
    Santiago
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I bought the Blast for my brother's Christmas gift, but he bought himself another Bluetooth speaker so I decided to keep it. The first time I used it it sounded great but it lasted less than one hour. I changed it and tried it again the next day and again it lasted less than an hour. I took it back to exchange it but they no longer had any of the speakers, so I bought a Megaboom. Great service on the part of Best Buy but the only review I can leave is good sound if the battery wasn't defective I would have enjoyed it

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Tough call to make

    Posted
    Flyboy6257
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    He speaker sounds amazing!! BUT I have issues with it. For starters the speaker will not connect to other Amazon echo devices and it’ll only connect to other UE Blast and some of its bigger variants. The build quality is great and its light but if you wanted to get a portable with home use with other amazon devices its not going to happen. Battery life is good but on occasion he sound interrupts itself when on WiFi. If what you want is portable and loud then this is great for your needs.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Great... but...

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

    Amazing sound. Superb quality and seamless connection to my phone. However, Alexa on it is very limited. Alexa doesn't know how to skip songs playing via Bluetooth which is so annoying. There is no skip button on the speaker, no pause or play buttons, so any of those controls I would have to do manually on my phone.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Wonderful speaker with drawback

    Posted
    AWilson
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    After using the speaker if you have a device connected through Bluetooth Alexa will not work. I also cannot answer any calls on this device. Apparently the microphone is only for Alexa and not for phone calls. Extremely dissapointing in that respect. Sound quality is amazing though.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    It keeps disconnecting from my laptop

    Posted
    Julie
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I purchased to listen to itunes during the work day from my laptop. It keeps disconnecting from my laptop and/or won't connect so I have to keep deinstalling it and reinstalling. I, also, find that it is hard to get it to be discoverable. The button is hard to see and won't always turn on.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Decent, but get the WonderBoom instead

    Posted
    Schris1
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    Good speaker, but for the price you ate better off getting 2 of the WonderBOOMs are linking them. The sound is 500x better, especially the bass and you can separate the sound for true stereo. The Alexa integration is okay, but connecting a Dot and you have the same thing.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Awesome idea but lacks a key feature

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

    UE Boom makes a booming radical speaker. I was excited to get Alexa with the UE but didn’t realize until it was too late there is NO PARTY MODE to pair up with other speakers. So if you need a stand alone killer speaker, this is great. If not, get a Boom speaker.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Sounds Good Looks Good WiFi Not So Good

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

    I like the looks and the sound is great for the size, but the wifi connection randomly disconnects. The Alexa part works but the mics are not as good as an echo and you have to be closer.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend