UE’s Blast and Megablast join the Alexa smart speaker family

Both the Blast and Megablast are slightly larger than the Boom 2 and Megaboom versions, most notably in height and weight. With Alexa onboard, you may end up using them as home-based units more than on-the-go sound though. The Power Up is a wireless charging dock, so it’s incredibly easy to move them from room to room or grab for the road — switching over to Bluetooth, of course.

These new models are about half an inch taller than their counterparts, and the Megablast jumps up considerably in weight, gaining nearly a pound. That weight accommodates added microphones and a reworked driver/passive radiator setup, helping to pump out its stated volume boost.

The maximum battery life on both has dropped a bit compared to the Bluetooth-only Boom series, with up to 12 hours on the Blast and 16 for the Megablast, but I’m guessing these devices will mostly live in the home. Plus, depending on how loud you play music, those ratings are actually pretty accurate. Playing at full volume though always knocks the numbers down to a few hours in my experience — with the larger of the two showing significantly more stamina than you’d think.

On the Alexa interface side, people in the US, UK, Germany and Austria get hands-free access to music services including Amazon Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn, with Pandora and Deezer lined up for future inclusion. You also get access to other Alexa services such as news reports, weather, audiobooks, voice control of compatible IoT devices, general inquiries and more than 25,000 skills.

The speaker setup is controlled through a new UE app tailored specifically for the Blast and Megablast, helping to get you onto your WiFi network and link your Amazon account for those Alexa services.

Ultimate Ears’ Blast and Megablast are also on a fast track to getting smarter over time with regular feature updates. Since they’re WiFi-capable, this can happen automatically when on your network. Another benefit of combining Alexa with an Ultimate Ears product is that you get those services on a high-quality audio device in a portable package, which can be moved wirelessly throughout the home and double as your Bluetooth boombox when on the road.

Pre-orders start today at the Ultimate Ears website and participating retailers for the Blast ($230), Megablast ($300) and Power Up ($40) with items shipping soon and hitting the shelves by the end of October. Bundles including a Power Up will be available from T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon for the Blast ($260) and Megablast ($330). For US customers, the speakers are available in Graphite (Black), Blizzard (White), Merlot (Red) and Blue Steel (Blue). Customers buying before January 13th, 2018, will also get a free three-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit from https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/19/ultimate-ears-alexa-blast-megablast-speakers/