With the new Blast series, UE has added Amazon Alexa capabilities, but in return, lost some of the little features that made the Boom series such a high recommendation.
Hey everyone, welcome back. Thank you for being a member of JimsReviewRoom and thank you to those who have stumbled across my work. I finished reviewing the UE Blast, check that out if you haven’t, but today, I’m showing you the bigger version, this is the UE Megablast.
As always being transparent with my work, UE sent over this review unit, our assessment was not altered in any way. Please read the whole review for both pros and cons. The Megablast retails for $299 dollars. They come in four colors, the one that I have here is Merlot.
Starting with the physical features, the Megablast at first glance looks very similar to the Megaboom, but there’s sharper lines, a cleaner look, and if anything, it’s slightly bigger. Although there’s some additional weight, compared to other $250 to $300 Bluetooth speakers, the Megablast still weighs less than the Xtreme or the Sony XB40.
When someone asks me to recommend a durable Bluetooth speaker, I do highly recommend the UE products. The fabric is stain proof, dustproof, waterproof, mud proof, essentially, it’s lifeproof with my testing. First up, it’s drop resistant claimed by UE. Dropping this several times, the Megablast is still going. It has an IP67 rating with the 7 meaning this can be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes and up to 1 meter of depth. In my initial testing, the speaker did float, but after being in the fountain for a minute or so, it slowly sank to the bottom.
Taking a closer look and getting back into the studio, the buttons are tactile and simple enough. We don’t have any buttons to pause or play music, and with the previous Megaboom speaker, holding Plus and Minus gave me battery life remaining, we don’t get that here. Having a battery level indicator by a few LED lights would have helped tremendously in my opinion. Last, NFC or Near Field Communication is also lacking.
AMAZON ALEXA CAPABILITIES
On the flip side, there are voice controls which is the next big thing and with the Megablast, there’s Amazon Alexa built-in. With your voice, you can tell it to skip songs, you can ask for it to play different genre’s of music, you can control the volume as well. The only limitations that pertain specifically to music playback – the voice actions only work with whatever is connected to through wifi or through your Amazon account. If you have your own music player or local music stored on your phone, playing it through Bluetooth and using voice will not work. Definitely, take that into consideration.
Testing microphone quality, there are three far-field mics built into the unit. I did stand over 40 feet away and was able to use voice commands at moderate speaking volume when the music was not playing any audio. But if I have music going, even at moderate volumes, it somewhat drowns out my voice… I had to speak a little louder – sometimes it doesn’t pick up my voice at all. As for phone calls, oddly and identical to the Blast, it’s not able to take phone calls… I can’t use the Megablast as a speakerphone at the time of review.
PORTS AND DOCKING PAD
Now looking at the bottom of this speaker, you have this shiny black-metal D-ring. UE does sell a charging dock that swaps this thing out. The extra accessory is well worth it in my opinion since you simply drop the speaker right on top of the pad, and grab the speaker when you need to go.
If you’re staying a bit traditional, UE offers USB 2.0 with again, this small opening that I can’t fit my other USB cords in. You have to use theirs! Although USB 2.0 is still abundant these days, because the opening is so tight, make sure you don’t lose their cord.
Testing battery life, UE is claiming up to 16 hours… I’ll place my comparison on the screen for you. I left it at 50 percent volume from full to dead and it died at 13 hours and 26 minutes. It’s very close to the JBL Xtreme, but comparing to newer speakers, 13 or even 16 hours is on the lower end. Even the Megaboom was up to 20 hours.
BLUETOOTH SIGNAL STRENGTH
As for Bluetooth signal strength, I confirmed the Megablast has class-leading performance. I was able to achieve 148 linear feet with a clear line of site on my S8+. With three walls in between me, I was able to achieve 80 linear feet before the audio started to crackle.
One last item before I jump into the audio test, at the time of this review, we currently don’t have Double up… You can’t pair this speaker with another or several other UE speakers and have them all play in Sync. I’m certain they’ll have a firmware update on that soon, but it’s more of a matter of when. Also with the app, it’s quite limiting at the moment. There’s no equalizer or sound profiles, but you do get the battery level indicator here and, through the app, this is where you set up Wifi, change the Auto-Shutoff timer and input your Amazon account information. That’s about it.
Alright everyone, to the moment you’ve all been waiting for: my audio review. The Megablast sounds much better than the smaller blast speaker. If you can afford this model, hands down get this one. The Megablast fills up large rooms and because it pushes 360 audio out, there are no dead spots. This is perfect for entertaining to ensure everyone gets the music experience.
After testing Bluetooth speakers for the last several years, UE is not really bass focused compared to the JBL Xtreme or the Sony XB40. With the Megablast, it’s punchy but isn’t heavy and resonating, nor does it sound bass boosted. I don’t want to say it’s tame, but I know some may want something more. Because how neutral the bass sounds, it’s clear and clean with a distortion-free performance, even at maximum volume. Some may prefer that… bass is another one of those big characteristics about the speaker that you will need to take into consideration.
Going into the mids, the Megablast provides a slightly more forward experience which I do enjoy very much. Vocal performance to instruments sounds very distinct and genres of rock, classical, and pop performed very well. If you compare it to the smaller Blast speaker, the sound is clearer and more accurate than the Blast. There wasn’t any audio separation or true left and right audio channels, which most Bluetooth speakers don’t have, but again, the biggest benefit is the 360 audio output. The Bose Revolve+ and other similar cylinder speakers don’t have spatial sound stages either.
Regarding the very high frequencies, I was afraid since UE was going for more forward audio with less bass, that the speaker would emphasize the top end a little too much. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Tones are detailed, they didn’t have any raspiness, the Megablast didn’t sound Tinny and I didn’t feel my ears ringing. If anything, they did very well here and that’s with me testing both medium and maximum volume.
The Megablast is a great speaker if you’re looking for something super rugged, offers 360 audio sound and intend on using the Amazon Lex features. Keep in mind, there’s not much bass compared to many of the other mainstream competitors out there, and the voice commands don’t work on everything locally, but it works for nearly everything that’s on Wifi. Alright folks, in the comment section below, let me know what you think of the MegaBlast. Let me know if you want a comparison, if so, who should I compare it to. Again, I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom, you guys take care and I’ll see you on the next one.
[table id=2 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,m,r,x”/] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.