Smart Speakers are officially everywhere. So much so that it’s come to the point where if you’re a speaker manufacturer that hasn’t integrated some kind of voice assistant into your latest device you look woefully behind the times.
Following on from the Sonos' move into the space with the Sonos One, Ultimate Ears has announced its own range of colorful smart speakers called Blast and MegaBlast.
The Blast and MegaBlast offer something a little different to your standard home-focused smart speaker.
Bold and bright
First of all, where most smart speakers have been designed to blend innocuously into your home with limited color palettes, the Ultimate Ears range gives you the option of adding a pop of color. The standard white and black options are there, but you also have the choice of blue, red, yellow and green in rich jewel tones.
The range of color options makes sense, though, because with the Blast and MegaBlast speakers, Ultimate Ears doesn’t want to establish itself in your living room and move nowhere else. Both of these smart speakers are completely portable, wireless, and Bluetooth connected.
You can, of course, set up a designated place in your home for the speaker where it charges on the newly announced Power Up charging dock. But if you decide you want to take Alexa to a party or out to the pool or even just into the kitchen you simply have to grab the speaker and go.
With the MegaBlast speaker you can expect to get around 16 hours of use before having to recharge, while the slightly more compact Blast speaker offers 12 hours of battery life. Both speakers have a connectivity range of 330 feet on Wi-Fi and a Bluetooth range of 150 feet.
Sound with range
With Bluetooth connectivity you can connect to your smartphone and listen to your preferred music streaming service. If you want to make use of Alexa, however, you’ll have to make sure you have some kind of Wi-Fi or mobile hotspot connection.
When you are connected to Wi-Fi you’ll be able to make full use of Alexa’s abilities including hands-free music controls, smart home device controls and access to food ordering.
Ultimate Ears is known for making sturdy, waterproof and colorful Bluetooth speakers that offer excellent sound quality and portability and it appears the company has aimed to bring all of these features into its Alexa-equipped devices.
Both speakers are IP67 rated, meaning they’re completely waterproof, dustproof and able to be immersed in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
It appears the company is also continuing its speaker-first approach as the MegaBlast has a a maximum sound pressure level of 93 dBC, making it the company’s loudest ever speaker and 40 per cent louder than the Ultimate Ears Megaboom.
Both speakers are expected to be released in late October at suggested retail prices of £199.99/$229.99 for the Blast, £269.99/$299.99 for the MegaBlast and £34.99/$39.99 for the sold-separately Power Up charging station. Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed.
There will be a free companion app available on release to download from Google Play and the Apple App store which will offer a range of features Ultimate Ears has said will grow over time.
It’s also worth noting that pre-orders are available now from the Ultimate Ears site and that any purchase made before January 23 2018 will come with a three-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited for new subscribers.