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Ultimate Ears - MEGABLAST Smart Portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa - Blue steel-Front_Standard

Customer rating

Rating 4.3 out of 5 stars with 218 reviews

87%
would recommend to a friend

Expert rating

Rating 3.8 out of 5 stars with 7 reviews

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Ultimate Ears Losing Focus?

    Posted
    Xephyroth
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    I own quite a few different speakers from portable Bluetooth speakers to home speakers with integrated voice assistants. The UE Megablast tries to be the jack of all trades, but falls a bit short. UNBOXING: The unboxing experience is simple and pleasant. Without getting into too much detail of the packaging, you're greeted with a speaker, a high-quality flat microUSB cable, and an AC adapter. You can also purchase a charging dock separately which will allow you to drop the Megablast onto the dock for charging without fiddling with cables. Additionally, you can continue to use the Megablast while charging. SETUP: To setup the Megablast, I downloaded the Ultimate Ears app on my smartphone and opened it up. After ensuring Bluetooth was enabled on my smartphone, I turned on the Megablast. From there, you can pair using the app or your phone's pairing menu. After pairing over Bluetooth, the app will continue the setup process. The Wi-Fi connectivity setup process is simple, but only if your home network situation is typical. Ultimate Ears recommends having separate SSID's for each network (e.g. MyWiFi 2.4GHz, MyWiFi 5GHz) so that the Megablast doesn't get confused during setup. I found that following this recommendation led to a successful setup for the Wi-Fi connectivity. After selecting your network and entering the password, you're also given the opportunity to login to Amazon Alexa for the voice assistant functionality. The app will also install any firmware updates during this process. APP: Once the setup is complete, the app is very simple. You have the ability to turn off the microphone for Alexa to work, and you have the ability to see the battery status, Wi-Fi connection status, Bluetooth connection status and Alexa sign-in status. You also have the ability to switch Wi-Fi networks, switch Amazon accounts for Alexa integration, or unpair/forget the Megablast. Lastly, you can change the idle-time before shutdown, the speaker language, and toggle firmware auto-updates. MEGABLAST HARDWARE: The Megablast is pretty simple. It has a power button with an LED in it, a pairing button, and volume down/up buttons. And of course, the 360 degree sound people love so much paired with an IP67 water resistance rating for splashes and even a bit of submersion. However, it does not have a 3.5mm jack—a feature found on the smaller UE BOOM. AUDIO QUALITY: Like the BOOM speakers that preceded it, the Megablast has sparkly highs, clear mid-range, and punchy bass. However, the Megablast starts to fall short at the highest volumes, as compression kicks in to prevent clipping/distortion in the bass frequencies. This is due to the fact that the EQ really pushes the bass on the Megablast, but like any other Bluetooth speaker, it can only physically handle so much—so to prevent damage, it compresses the bass at a certain threshhold. When this happens, the bass sounds either anaemic or uncontrolled. I do want to stress that this happens to most portable Bluetooth speakers, and the Megablast far from the worst of them. Despite this, if you're listening to spacious, dynamic music, then the Megablast will sound fantastic at most volumes. I have gotten the chance to listen to progressive rock, metal, acoustic, swing jazz, big band jazz, EDM and more. Music with more dynamic instrumentation really shines on the Megablast. Music with a constantly hot master may start to lose its clarity when the Megablast is set to its highest volumes. But overall, an excellent listening experience. ALEXA INTEGRATION: I'm not a fan of Alexa, personally. I find that switching between Bluetooth and Alexa is not seamless. Once I call out "Alexa", the Megablast disconnects from Bluetooth, so I have to pair my phone again if I want to use it. Despite this, you can use Alexa with a limited number of unpopular streaming services. You can control Alexa's volume, but not your Bluetooth volume. You also can't ask for the battery status using Alexa. It helps to think of Alexa as a standalone assistant that knows nothing of its existent in the Megablast. When using Alexa, the "Megablast" is irrelevant. It only knows whatever Alexa knows and can only do whatever Alexa can do—except stream from Spotify for some reason. So the lesson here is that if you are using Alexa, don't expect Bluetooth connectivity to resume. Just stick to Alexa's Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn streaming over Wi-Fi. Oh, and just so we're clear, Alexa only works over Wi-Fi. CONCLUSION & FINAL THOUGHTS: So, is it worth the price? I'm not sure. I own portable Bluetooth speakers in the same price range, and the Megablast packs a better sound and more volume, but its Alexa integration is half-baked and its missing the integrated voice that tells the battery status when you hold both the volume up and down buttons at the same time. On top of that, you can't do party mode with multiple Megablasts, you can't do remote power on, and you can't change the EQ. These are all features of the smaller UE BOOM, so I'm rather confused as to why these features aren't available on the Megablast. If you're buying this speaker for the Alexa integration, forget it. But if you want a great Bluetooth speaker with a few missing features compared to its smaller siblings, this could be the one to rock your parties.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Audiophile's Voice-Controlled Personal Assistant

    Posted
    gadgetguy11
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    Ultimate Ears - MEGABLAST is a stunning portable speaker with Alexa built-in. I own several Voice-Controlled Personal Assistants, so I am very familiar with Alexa's capabilities & will compare UE MEGABLAST accordingly. LIKES: 1- Bass output is second to no other device with Alexa onboard. Nothing is even close. Put your hand near the side when it is rocking & feel the air from the woofers & passive radiators! Bass sounds like a quality 8" woofer! 2- High frequencies are crystal clear, noticeably more musical than the average Voice-Controlled Personal Assistant, which is an impressive accomplishment. 3- Waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes. 4- Long lasting built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery rocks out up to 16 hours between charges! 5- Built-in equalization emulates "Loudness On". Bass is always leading & high frequencies are above the midrange. The equalization has been finely tuned & is not adjustable. 6- Bluetooth Input permits sound from any Bluetooth source. This is exceptionally handy in areas with no Wi-Fi. 7- Very rugged case is perfect for portable use. 8- Syncs with other Alexa equipped devices; they all answer questions, play the news, announce sports, weather, route time to work & other traditional Alexa functions. 9- Automatic updates arrive via Wi-Fi to improve performance over time. 10- Uses the tried-and-true Alexa app. 11- Voice command most smart home devices. 12- 360 degree sound is much more obvious than in the average Voice-Controlled Personal Assistant, due to the multiple premium quality tweeters & the sound has a spread matrix stereo effect. It really sounds like there are 2 speakers in the room. In addition to the more forward bass & articulate highs, this spread stereo sound is stunning. 13- The charging base (optional & sold separately) makes charging as simple as sitting the speaker on a round disk. Highly recommended! 14- Auto off after a period of time when the music has stopped to save the battery. Or with the Charging Base, it converts to always on, always listening for "Alexa" command. 15- Plays extremely loud! 93dB rated output! 16- No audible distortion in the bass, even at high SPL's! 17- The light on the top shows status / battery / Alexa command following & many more items. 18- Very easy to set-up with both Ultimate Ears & Alexa Apps. 19- Works great with Amazon Prime Music - simply name a song, or ask to stream music by your favorite artist. 20- Expert, reliable control of HUE Lights & many Home Automation Devices. 21- Most beautiful packaging of any consumer productI have ever seen. 22- Standard 1/4"-20 tripod thread on the bottom makes for flexible placement. CONCERNS: 1- "Alexa Lite" best describes the reduced capability of the personal assistant. Having numerous Voice-Controlled Personal Assistant devices already, the differences jumped out: No Sirius XM, Spotify or Pandora Streaming; no "Amazon" wake-up name option (only Alexa); no voice confirmation when you call out "Alexa", though the light on top indicates Alexa has been queried, if you happen to look in that direction. 2- Equalization (bass / midrange / treble balance) is not user adjustable, though it comes factory set to produce amazing sound. 3- No 3.5mm audio input jack to hardwire sound from an external device to maintain clear audio. Bluetooth is a limited fidelity transmission, and this speaker is so good, that really shows. Streaming sound from Prime Music, for example, sounds stunning; streaming from your phone or tablet by Bluetooth lacks the dynamic range, bass punch & high frequency clarity and sounds just "O.K." 4- Pairing 2) MEGABLAST speakers for Right / Left stereo sound is not possible as of this test. However, this feature may appear via a future automatic Software update. CONCLUSION: If you are an audiophile, BUY MEGABLAST!! You will not believe your ears if you stream music from Amazon Prime or other high quality streaming sources. Avoid Bluetooth for audio purity reasons. Sound quality vs. cost make this device an absolute STEAL for audiophiles!! However, if you prioritize the maximum capability of the Voice-Controlled Personal Assistant over sound quality, then other, less costly devices may better meet your expectations. MEGABLAST far exceeded my expectations & earned my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Sound is MEGA, but BLAST the bugs!

    Posted
    Namdnas
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    I own and have used the Ultimate Ears Boom speaker that I've had for the past 5-6 years or so and it has been my favorite bluetooth speaker I've ever had. After hearing about this new Ulimate Ears MEGABLAST speaker, I was thrilled and couldn't wait to receive it in the mail. I knew this would be my new permanent replacment for my aging BOOM speaker, with the increasingly dwindling battery. But, a few bugs and inconsistencies keep it from exceeding my expectations. It'll still be my new daily-use speaker. First of all, let me explain why the original UE BOOM was my favorite speaker. I've got some hearing loss issues and my right ear has only about 15% hearing (it's really only good for picking up bass, lol). So, when I choose a new speaker or pair of headphones/earbuds, they have to be able to get loud enough for a comfortable level for me, but yet even louder when I want to "crank" it. I use all my bluetooth devices on my iPad Pro 10.5" and my new iPhone X. The BOOM speaker has never failed me. I watch Twitch.tv daily, usually for about 6 hours on average while I do my work. I've used my BOOM for many years like this and I've only kept the volume up between the 3-4 notch (this is maybe 1/3 the max volume on the device volume bar) for everything I listen to and never had an issue hearing. So, I was definitely excited to get this. I couldn't wait to unbox it, get it charged and synced to my devices! Let's break it down. Packaging: This was where I was most impressed. The packaging on the outside didn't look like anything fancy. But, it's when you break the seal and pull the slip-cover off the box... The inside box the speaker is housed in is made of a super thick and durable cardboard and I was totally not expecting the amazing artwork! It's so bright and colorful and I immediately thought - they've put a lot of love into this making and designing this speaker and box. Inside the box, the cylindrical speaker is nestled in perfectly curved black styrofoam and matches everthing else. It's very snug and secure. Along with the speaker, you also get the normal, minimal instructions (it's a bluetooth speaker, not rocket science), USB power cable and the larger-than-my-old-one power brick. The cable and brick are both white, perfectly contrasting with the black speaker. Design: This speaker looks nearly identical to my old one, aside from a few minor color differences and the obvious fact that it is MUCH bigger. The top of the speaker has the power button and the bluetooth sync button. On the front, non-mesh part of the speaker are the + and - buttons for the volume. Then, down at the very bottom...ON the bottom, lies the flip-up waterproofing rubber flap. You have to pull this up in order to get to the USB charge port and Power LED charge indicators. This flap was a little tighter to pull up than I would have liked (I thought I was going to rip it once...) and you definitely have to pull it back a bit with some force in order to plug the charge cable into it. The only other negative to this is given the fact that all this is on the bottom of the speaker, you have the lay it down on it's side while it is charging. Again, the same as my old one. But...you know, round things...well, they roll. Aside from this, I absolutely love the tall, cylinder shape of the speaker and the minimal amount of space it takes! App: Once I got the speaker fully charged, I was able to connect it via Bluetooth to my iPad Pro 10.5" (my primary Twitch.tv watching device) without fail. I downloaded the app designed for the BLAST range of speakers. It looks really nice and has all the normal options I'd expect. The app detected the speaker and after I entered my WiFi password, it even automatically updated the firmware. It then asked me to activate Alexa and log into my Amazon account, which I was able to do without any problems...then gave me a code for a few months free of Amazon Music. I use Spotify myself, but still - not a bad gesture. After the inital setup, the app displays the current battery level in a bar-style format (not a percentage), confimration of WiFi connection and Alexa on/off, as well as the link to my Amazon account. Other than that, it's pretty basic, but gives you the information you need. However, my major issue with the battery level on this speaker is that you can ONLY view it through the app. My old BOOM speaker displayed the battery at the top of my device, as well as in my Battery Widget. This speaker does neither. It just shows that "headphone" icon at the top of my device with no battery indicator and does not appear anywhere in my Batteries info in settings or the Widget. I'm hoping this is just a software bug and will be fixed in a later update, as it's quite annoying coming from my BOOM speaker that does show this. Then again, it could be intentional since you can just ask Alexa "what's my battery at?"... Bluetooth/Alexa/Sound: I'm tying these final three into one category because it's seems that they are all somehow related together and where my biggest concerns are. This is where the the bugs and inconsistencies hide, aside from my issue with the Battery indicator above. The bluetooth has EXCELLENT range, but it doesn't appear to be flawless, like I'm used to with other Ultimate Ear products. When it has a connection, it's great and solid. No cut-outs or any other weird sound artifacts. However, I've had a few instances where the bluetooth connection would just drop for no reason. This seemed a little inconsistent, with no rhyme or reason for it. Completely random. I have to manually go into settings and select the MEGABLAST speaker to connect it again. This is my first Alexa enabled device! So, I was definitly excited to give it a try. Initially, Alexa was a joy to use. I started with all the obvious stuff you would ask something like Alexa or Siri. "How's the weather today?" granted me exactly what I wanted to hear, plus more in a voice that I found rather pleasing compared to say, Siri. Alexa just seems much more natural and non-robotic. Then I go on with having her tell me a joke, rap, etc, etc. All works great. But...I discovered an issue with using Alexa while playing music or any audio already coming through the speaker. When the speaker is playing audio and you issue an Alexa command...when she's done...the bluetooth connection just.........DROPS. Every. Single. Time. I have to go into settings and reconnect. So, the only time I can use Alexa is when the speaker isn't being used. Which then, I've more than likely got it turned of. Very disheartening as I really wanted to implement Alexa into my music, smart thermostat, etc. I'm really hoping this is just a bug and can/will be fixed in a sooner-than-later firmware update. As for sound, I found a lot of inconsistencies there as well. When playing music or other audio, I noticed I had to turn this speaker up louder than my BOOM to get the same level of volume out of it. I have to use my MEGABLAST at about half volume to get it at the same sound level as 1/3 volume of my BOOM. Which is weird because...isn't this supposed to be the loudest speaker they offer? It appears this speaker does better at mid to higher level volumes than lower to mid level. I initially thought that the "max" volume of the speaker was independant of the volume I have on my device because I could say "Alexa, change the volume to 10" and the volume bar on my device would stay the same, but the speaker would be much louder. But then...when I raise or lower the volume a notch on the device, the speaker volume would change to match that. Another issue I noticed...the speaker outputs the audio that is being played...but none of my other device sounds. Unlike my boom, I don't can't hear the keyboard typing sound, any text or e-mail notification sounds, etc. I've even turned the "Sounds" volume on my device up to the max with no results. But the audio being played is normal. I cannot figure this out to save my life. I didn't get to test the bluetooth phonecall quality during use because my BRAND NEW iPhone X that I've had for less than 15 days decided to bite the dust on me (the touch screen quit working...hardware defect) and I'm currently awaiting a replacement from my carrier. Conclusion: So, there you have it. So far, I have a love/hate relationship with this speaker. The volume inconsistencies are killing me and Alexa is all but useless since my bluetooth connection drops every time I use her. I also really with there was a battery level displayed on the device like my BOOM has, but the only way to see it with the MEGABOOM is via the app. These are my big 3 issues with the speaker and why I'm giving it a 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing saving it from 3 stars is the amazing sound of the actual audio that is being played...as long as it's above half (5) on the volume level. Now, I did reach out to Logitech (the manufacturer of the Ultimate Ears brand) on Twitter earlier in the week. Several days have passed since then (which is why I waited a bit on my review) and I haven't heard anything back from them. I'll e-mail support about this I guess, when I get my phone back. But I really expected some sort of response or follow-up from them regarding this. Oh well. I should dock a star for this, but I won't.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Great Sound and Build Quality, but...

    Posted
    HarvickFan
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    The speaker is amazing. UE makes great products and the Megablast is no different. Quality all the way around. From the packaging to the build quality to the overall sound. A+ across all of those areas. The only thing that left me wanting more, was the Bass. From a speaker this size, I was sort of disappointed in the quality of the Bass. My unit came with the speaker and the table top charging dock. The packaging is incrdible, and makes sure your product is not going to be damaged in any way during delivery/shipping. To cable charge, you simply plug in the supplied USB cable into the bottom of the unit. To charge with the docking station, you simply screw in a charging station cap on the bottom and place directly on top of the charger. The initial charge took quite a long time, and was not fully charged from the factory. But once charged the battery life has been great. UE says a full charge can last 15+ hours, and if you download and connect to the UE App, you can always see how much charge you have left, so you're not stuck with a dead speaker at the wrong time. Setting up the speaker was super fast and simple. Normal bluetooth pairing was immediate to my Note 8. I downloaded the UE App as well and while it looks polished, it felt sort of glitchy. The app recognized the speaker immediately but had trouble running through the rest of the setup. I had to exit the app and start over twice before it let me finish the setup. Not a huge deal to be concerned with, as i'm sure UE will fix the app over time. It's also nice that the speaker can be connected via wi-fi and bluetooth. And you can set it to update itself via wi-fi automatically. Setting up Alexa was also a breeze. Simply go to the Alexa setup in the App and login with your Amazon Alexa account and that's it. Alexa is immediately available on your Megablast. We also have a few Amazon Echos in the home, and using the Megablast with Alexa felt the same as using the Echo device. Speech recognition was very good even from across the room. All the features of Alexa are right here in the Megablast, and portable, unlike a Echo/Echo Plus. I think we'll use the Megablast so much more, simply because we can move it around with us. Build quality is amazing, the speaker is huge and feels very sturdy and almost heavy in the hand. Very nice. The 360 degrees sound field is also great, and you get room filling sound and great volume levels. Sound quality is also very good, as you'd expect from UE. But, from a speaker of this size and build, I honestly expected more Bass. I have numerous bluetooth speakers, some bigger or smaller, some from UE and other brands. Compared to all my other speakers, the Megablast was just ok on Bass response. Don't get me wrong, the Bass is there, and for most it's probably fine. However when listening to bass heavy audio, even when EQ'd, the Bass simply gets compressed and tight, not boomy. i don't think it would be a reason to not get the Megablast, the overall sound of the speaker is amazing, but if you were thinking that a speaker this size would give you over the top Bass, you might be disappointed. Having IP67 weather sealing is nice so you don't have to be worried about getting it wet. A couple things I wish they would have done better; you cannot pair multiple Megablast speakers together in stereo, which for this price and category seems to be a glaring omission, I hope UE fixes that soon. I also wish that the speaker came with a 3.5mm connector, but it does not, wireless all the way, or nothing. When using Alexa, the only way you know Alexa has been triggered is if you're actually looking at the speaker and can see the LED light on top grow brighter, there is no audible tone that tells you Alexa is ready, like when using an Amazon Alexa device. All in all the UE Megablast is an amazing speaker with Amazing features, and integrating Alexa just kicks it up a notch! I'm very impressed with the Megablast overall.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Good, but Missing some Well Loved Features

    Posted
    lambda100
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    The UE Megablast is the newest arrival to the UE lineup to offer fantastically crisp and clear audio with strong bass response, with the new addition being the Amazon Alexa voice assistant. With a sleek cylindrical design, waterproofing that allows the speaker to be submersible, and omnidirectional speaker output, the UE Megablast aims to be the only speaker that you need in the home, at the pool, at the party, and everywhere in between. What’s In the Box? -A box with a lot of funky and groovy art (you’ll know what I mean when you slide off the tame looking cover) -UE Megablast speaker -Quick Start Guide -Micro USB cable -USB Charger Appearance and Build Quality: The all cylindrical design looks very similar to an oversize beer can with a rugged, rubberized exterior shell to handle all the scrapes, bruising, and drops that will occur over its lifetime. The speaker is covered in a hard, fabric-like grill to allow the audio to pass through the two 25mm tweeters, two 55mm drivers, and two 85mm x 50mm passive radiators, all the while keeping dust, moisture, and water from seeping into the interior. On the bottom of the speaker is a circular rubber cover protecting the micro usb port for charging. There is also a removable D-ring underneath the speaker. I assume this D-ring is for hanging the speaker. Up top is the power button and another much smaller button to enable Bluetooth pairing. The very oversized +/- buttons are located along the sides of the cylinder. The button labels for + and – are huge, you’d have to be blind not to notice them. And maybe it is just me, but they do have the visual appearance of resembling a religious cross. Features: +Rugged Design – Take the speaker anywhere indoors and outdoors, but of course don’t subject it to extreme heat or cold. +Omnidirectional sound +Up to 16 hrs battery life – more than enough for a full day of partying assuming you get 8 hrs of sleep to round out a 24 hr day. It will take up to 3 hrs to recharge a fully discharged battery. +IP67 rating – This means this speaker goes beyond simply being cowardly splash proof, but boldly insists on being dunked under water in approximately 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. I was too afraid to put this to the test, since I did not want to ruin a $300 speaker. I’ll take UE at their word. +Strong Bluetooth connection. I didn’t experience any Bluetooth stuttering or disconnections. In fact, UE boasts that the Bluetooth range is up to 150 feet. +Wifi music streaming from IHeartRadio, Amazon Prime Music, and TuneIn Radio through Amazon Alexa. Pandora and Deezer are purportedly to be included in the future. +Integrated Amazon Alexa voice assistant. This may or may not be important to you depending on whether or not you are already subscribed to one of the two dominant voice assistant ecosystems (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant) presently available in the market. Features that are Missing: Equally important to the features (aka “the selling points”) are the features that are missing in the UE Megablast which are offered by some of the competitors in the portable Bluetooth speaker market. -No NFC connection. -No 3.5mm audio jack. I am disappointed, but not surprised. Would have been great if UE included a 3.5mm jack since wired audio quality is still better than Bluetooth transmission audio quality. -You cannot connect two or more UE Megablasts together or to other speakers in the UE lineup via Bluetooth in a party mode to have multiple speakers playing the same music simultaneously. Not sure why UE took this feature off the table. Just imagine how loud your party could get if you could connect them together! Audio Quality: I was impressed by the audio output of the speakers. The omnidirectional (aka 360 degree) sound meant that there are no fading, audio dead spots as I moved about my room. The UE Megablast can get really loud to the point that your neighbors will be knocking on your door to turn it down. The mid-range representing vocals and speech is very crisp and clear. The highs are equally well represented. Bass kicks in strong without overpowering the high and midrange frequencies. This means that when you’re listening to music with strong bass, you can still clearly hear the vocals. And if you choose to watch a movie using the UE Megablast, you can clearly hear the bass response from action sequences, but wouldn’t have to adjust equalizers to hear dialogue. Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant: I’m not going to go too much into this. You are initially asked to connect to Amazon Alexa when you first set up the speaker through the Ultimate Ears app available through the Google Play Store or Apple App store. The microphone does a fine job of picking up audio across my room and I’m able to ask Alexa questions and give it commands. Alexa will only work if the speaker is connected through the wifi network. It will not work on a Bluetooth only connection. If you find yourself desiring some privacy, you have two options to turn off the microphone from listening to your conversation. First method is to open the Ultimate Ears app, tap on the microphone icon, and tap ‘off’ to disable the microphones. A tone will be emitted and a small red light will illuminate at the top of the speaker to indicate that the microphones have been turned off. The second method is to use the speaker controls. On the speaker, press the volume down ‘ – ‘ and the Bluetooth button simultaneously. You will hear a tone and see the red light at the top of the speaker. This indicates that the microphone has been turned off. To turn them back on, press the same buttons again. Finally, one thing to take note. UE did a poor job with the location for the micro usb charging port. The port is located at the bottom base of the speaker. That means when you are charging it, you will have to place the speaker on its side horizontally, which means it has a strong chance of rolling off your table. Or you can place the speaker upside down, with the power button on the bottom. The only other alternative is to purchase the charging dock which will allow you to charge the speaker in the upright position. Conclusion: Do I recommend the UE Megablast? Given its very good audio quality and sleek, rugged build quality, I totally believe it is a sound choice (pun intended) and should be on your short list. However, given that some of the features are noticeably missing which were found in the previous UE lineup (eg. Megaboom) at a lower price point, you will need to really ask yourself if the addition of the Alexa assistant is worth the tradeoff.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Great BT Speaker! Isn't Perfect However...

    Posted
    Justin
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    The new UE Megablast is a newcomer to the UE lineup. Now I have never owned a product in this lineup however I have seen an overall positive impression so I was excited to try it out for myself. This speaker promises omnidirectional sound output, waterproof ability, and the new Amazon Alexa capabilities. What’s In the Box? (The box has a REALLY neat design!) -UE Megablast speaker -Quick Start Guide -Micro USB cable -USB Charger Design: The cylindrical design is not new to me however this size is. It is fairly large in length and girth. The speakers are covered with a metal mesh where the two 25mm tweeters, two 55mm drivers, and two 85mm x 50mm passive radiators pass sound through. On the bottom of the speaker is a circular rubber cover protecting the micro usb port for charging. There is also a removable D-ring underneath the speaker which is also used for charging using the optional charging base. (Not included) Up top is the power button which is a straight line that illuminates. The oversized volume buttons were VERY hard for me to locate when I first used the device. Well the end up being RIGHT in front of you. I had a couple comments about the buttons resembling a religious cross. Features: - Rugged Design - Omnidirectional Sound (Fairly new to the market although not my first speaker) - Up to 16 hrs battery life - IP67 rating - STRONG Bluetooth Connection. I was able to go to any corner of my house and the speaker didnt hesitate a bit. Other speakers typically did cut in and out or stop altogether. - Wifi music streaming from IHeartRadio, Amazon Prime Music, and TuneIn Radio through Amazon Alexa. Pandora and Deezer are hopefully coming in the near future. - Integrated Amazon Alexa voice assistant Audio Quality: One thing I noticed as soon as this speaker started to play music was its overpowering volume level ability. This speaker was able to get LOUD! I wasnt expecting such an ability out of something this (relatively) small. Now this isnt the only speaker I have in this price range that can do this but it is the first to do it well. The mids and highs are very sharp. Very little distortion while turning the volume up. The bass however does become slightly distorted and cannot get the same depth as my Addon T3 speaker can. The Addon T3 won awards for sound quality in the past so it doesnt surprise me but it is something to note. The Megablast does get louder than the Addon T3 and is not directional so it has the overall win in my book but I love the classy design and sound quality of the Addon better. Problems: I did have very weird "Auto" connection problems with the UE. It would randomly connect to my phone while just sitting on the counter AFTER the speaker was turn off. I found this annoying but it seemed to go away after a couple days. Im also not a huge fan of the fact this came with Amazon Alexa capabilities because you need an Amazon account to participate with the feature but I have a Google Mini that fulfills those need overall. Another problem is the charging brick, its huge! It must be plugged in the TOP outlet for the bottom one to be usable at all. Its way to big... Overall: I think this speaker has very good sound quality and with the omnidirectional sound is a bonus. The waterproofing benefits can be a huge benefit if you plan to take your $300 speaker with you wherever you go but mine will likely stay at home with the occasional outing. A solid speaker I would definitely tell others to take a look at if your in the market.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Excellent sound quality, inconsistent microphone

    Posted
    DoctorHoo
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    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    Compared to Amazon’s Echo, this speaker offers better sound quality. The midrange is very crisp and clear and makes vocals really stand out. When I listened to some of my Diana Krall playlist, her vocals sounded very intimate like she was singing right in front of me. Setup was very easy, you just plug it in and download and install the Ultimate Ears App for your phone/tablet and the app searches for and connects to the speaker after which you can set it up. To set up the speaker to connect to your wifi network, the app did require me to type in my wifi password which can be a pain on a phone/tablet if you have a long password. I’ve seen other apps that have the ability to automatically set up the password without the user having to type it in (after all the phone/tablet already knows the password if it is on your wifi network) My speakers came with a charging dock that is a must have accessory. It normally costs $39.99. Just sit your speaker on the charging dock and it will start charging. You don’t have to fumble around to flip the rubber tab hiding the usb port to charge the speaker. To set up your speaker to use the charging dock, you unscrew the original black plug on the bottom of the speaker and replace it with a shiny metallic plug that makes contact with the charging pins on the dock. I do wonder if the speaker is still as waterproof with the shiny metallic plug since water would be able to touch the charging rings on the plug. After you set up the speaker, you can use the standard Alexa app to fine tune the Alexa part of the speaker. One thing I noticed is that you can’t change the wake up word for the MegaBlast to anything else (Amazon, Computer etc.). It will only respond to Alexa. Also, some services like Spotify aren’t available yet but that didn’t bother me since I mostly use Amazon Music. So, basically, it seems like the MegaBlast doesn’t currently support all the features of the Amazon Echo. Hopefully, future firmware upgrades will fix this. The top of the speaker is slightly concave with a light bar that lights up when it recognizes a voice command. Compared to the Echo and Echo Dot, I found myself having to repeat myself a lot more before the MegaBlast would respond to my voice commands. Because of this, I don’t think it’s microphones are as good as those in the Echo. To make matters worse, it’s sometimes hard to know if it recognizes the wake up word because it can be difficult to see the light at the top of the speaker if the speaker is located at or above eye level. I had no problems using it as a bluetooth speaker. Pairing with my phone/tablets was easy and I always had a strong connection with no drop-outs. In summary, the MegaBlast is a stellar portable bluetooth speaker that offers superior sound quality over most competing bluetooth speakers. As an Alexa smart speaker, it falls a little short of a real Amazon Echo with regards to command recognition and it currently doesn’t support all the features of a real Amazon Echo. Hopefully future firmware upgrades will rectify some of these shortcomings.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Early Firmware missing features

    Posted
    nhtechie
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    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    Megablast Setup: I encountered firmware update issues during setup - so I had to continue setup & go back to update (took a few times, then was finally successful). Usage / Buttons: You have to be dead center on the large buttons. At the top of the 'volume down' - it feels like you're hitting a button (feels springy), but you're not - you have to go lower and the volume will decrease. The 'volume up' will accept a lower press to raise the volume. Unlike my $99 Wonderboom, you can't pair more of these speakers that are ~3x the price for a better surround sound. Say whaaat? The sound is a typical UE sound - it's really clean & bassy. It's heavy, but it's grippy & portable - I dig it. It has its own independent sound control - so, raising / lowering volume doesn't change the phone's volume as some devices do (which is where you run into the volume being too low - or just a bit too loud). I've had this before & it's nice that the Megablast is not following that example. Charging the unit appears to make you put it on its side to get to the connector and there's no way it'll be able to stand once you hook up the USB cable. Enter the "POWER UP" charging dock - which gives you a replacement nut at the bottom allowing standing charging & use. It's an extra $40 or so, but is worth it, should you really use this a ton & don't want the aggravation. Bluetooth Usage: If you're streaming via bluetooth and ask Alexa a question, it kills the bluetooth connection & doesn't auto-reconnect to continue playing. There are Bluetooth reconnect issues too - I use a few BT devices, even a UE Wonderboom, so it's not my first rodeo. If I disconnect from those, I can reconnect without issue. With this Megablast, sometimes I have to cycle Bluetooth on my phone & then it works. And I'll hear some static during the reconnect too, which is odd. "Alexa" Features: Voice recognition is 4/5 times successful for acknowledging that it heard me. Via the UE App, you can toggle the 'microphone off' - so it's not always listening (small red light appears on the top at the bluetooth button). There is no tone to let you know it has heard the wake word (it should be an option at least), but the top light blinks. It can't tell how much battery remains: "I don't have a battery." As of Mid-November 2017, there was no Pandora integration yet - though it responds like it's getting my station - but voices an error. There must be an update coming soon (fingers crossed!). It doesn't work well with Amazon Prime Music. It says it's going to shuffle my collection, but it pauses for a long time and then only sometimes starts playing, then cuts out. Smart-ish Home Thoughts ... I could control my HUE lights via room names & the ever finicky Harmony Hub without issue, just as my Tap does - no issues seen here. So, the recommendation is a "yes" for the sound - you just need to be patient & hope that these 'smart' quirks get worked out soon.

    I would recommend this to a friend