UE Megablast Review: The Best Sounding UE Speaker

UE Megablast Review: The Best Sounding UE Speaker

After weeks of testing, I determined UE Megablast sounds great at high volumes, has a clean bass, and it’s internet enabled, but it’s not as nicely designed as UE Megaboom 3.

Sound: A+

  • It has two 55mm active drivers. The difference of 5mm on both drivers compared to Megaboom 3, is presumably what provides the difference in sound quality.
  • It has the same omnidirectional sound as Megaboom 3. In typical listening situations (around half volume) the sound quality is close to identical (to my ears) between the two speakers.
  • UE lists the Megablast’s volume as three decibels louder. In my tests, it seemed like 85% volume on Megablast was the equivalent of Megaboom 3’s maxed out volume.
  • The bass is richer, deeper, and more controlled than Megaboom 3. Because of the brilliant sound at all volumes, Megablast is my favorite sounding portable speaker.
  • When you’re at home, Megablast will sound better if you use WiFi because the music doesn’t get compressed as it does with Bluetooth.

Design: D

  • It’s waterproof and dustproof (IP67 rating), and shockproof. It can be submerged in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. UE speakers are the most durable speakers I’ve ever tested.
  • It weighs 2.65 pounds, is 9.3 inches tall, and sits vertically. This makes it a half-pound heavier and slightly taller than Megaboom 3.
  • There are no buttons or gestures to use for playback controls. You can skip a song via Alexa, but that’s annoying and only works if you’re using WiFi, rather than Bluetooth. The best way to skip a song is with your phone’s display.
  • The micro USB charging port is located on the bottom of the speaker, making simultaneous listening and charging difficult. Buy the wireless charging dock for $40 to get around this.
  • There are two huge volume buttons on the side, and there’s an ugly rubber strip running down the middle.
  • It’s won’t float if you drop it in water.
  • It comes in four boring colors: Graphite, Bluesteel, Merlot, Blizzard.

Power: C

  • Ultimate Ears lists a 16-hour battery rating. Here’s what I got in real life tests:
  • 8 hours with 60% volume.
  • 4 hours with 85% volume.
  • The battery life decreases when Alexa is active and listening. It’ll go down further with heavy Alexa usage.
  • You can wirelessly charge with the base.

Software: A+

  • There are multiple microphones that are always listening for hands-free Alexa:
  • You can say “Alexa, play my Discover Weekly on Spotify” or any other Spotify voice command. This is fantastic.
  • You can say “Alexa, turn down the volume.”
  • You can say “Alexa, skip.”
  • You can control your smart home devices, just like native Amazon Echo devices.
  • You can disable Alexa’s mic by holding the Bluetooth button simultaneously with the volume decrease button.
  • Reasons why Alexa isn’t worth your time on a portable speaker:
  • The mics aren’t as good as Amazon’s devices, so it doesn’t hear your commands as well. It has no chance of hearing when the volume is above 50%.
  • Alexa only works when you’re home and connected to WiFi.
  • How often would you use Alexa and when is it useful? In my experience, the only time that I used Alexa was for the playback controls. But it’s easier to press a button like you can with Megaboom 3’s Magic Button.
  • Megablast can play music via Bluetooth or WiFi.
  • WiFi music playback is an upgrade from Bluetooth, which is important if you plan on using this speaker at home and have Spotify (with Spotify Connect).
  • The sound quality is better because it’s not compressed.
  • You don’t have to worry about pairing and unpair.
  • The music is streamed directly to Megablast, so your phone’s location relative to the speaker is irrelevant.
  • The music isn’t distorted or interrupted when someone calls you.
  • It only pairs with one other Megablast to create a stereo pair, while you can connect 150 Megaboom speakers. However, it’s not a significant issue because pairing multiple speakers via Bluetooth is never a smooth process. I avoid it if at all possible.
  • Megablast has the same list Bluetooth range, but I was able to get an extra 15-20 feet compared to Megaboom 3.
  • You can’t power it on with the app.
  • If you want an accurate battery life reading, you can hold the two volume buttons for two seconds, and a voice will read out the level.
  • It can be paired with eight devices and paired to two simultaneously.

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Which is best for you?

Get UE Megablast if you want the best sounding Ultimate Ears speaker. It sounds better than the UE Megaboom 3 at high volumes. The WiFi playback brings more versatility than Bluetooth and Alexa is a nice add-on too, but it has design flaws with a subpar battery.

Get UE Megaboom 3 if you appreciate brilliantly-designed products and want to listen at low and medium volumes. It has great colors, a longer battery life, and it’s lighter.