With summer fast approaching (hopefully!) there is only one place to head, and that is outdoors! Every party, BBQ and picnic needs good music, and the Ultimate Ears Blast is the ultimate speaker for the job. With a powerful sound, a WiFi connection, Alexa Integration, 12 hour battery life and the ability to withstand rain and splashing, this ticks all the boxes!
- Bluetooth speaker
- WiFi enabled
- Amazon Alexa enabled
- Far Field voice recognition
- 360° totally immersive sound
- 12-hour battery life
- OTA updates mean it will get smarter
- Wireless charging through dock (sold separately)
- Tripod port
In the box
- Ultimate Ears Blast Speaker
- USB Charger
- Micro USB Cable
- Removable D-Ring
Look and Feel
The Ultimate Ears Blast offers a good solid feel. It may not be a rugged speaker in the true sense, but it definitely gives you that feel. Round and cylindrical, with a minimal but functional design, it delivers its main purpose without being too noisy.
The top features a power button and an LED, while the front has volume buttons. All buttons are big and have a nice feel to them.
On the side are grills with the speakers embedded in them.
The bottom hides the USB charging port and tripod mounting socket.
While you can use this as a vanilla Bluetooth speaker, the best way to use this is via the Ultimate Ears app. The app allows you to configure Amazon Alexa, set it to privacy mode (i.e. turn microphone off) as well as manage firmware updates.
To enable Amazon Alexa, you also need to install the Amazon Alexa app on your phone. This allows you to enable Alexa (if not already enabled) for your account, and link it to the services you may want to use, such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, etc.
Sadly the speaker does not like to play Spotify through Alexa, but you can always play it via Bluetooth.
So, is this the speaker for your party? Yes, it is. The sound is loud, with a certain warmth to it. While not many small speakers work great outdoors, this has just enough oomph to give you a good atmosphere.
The sound itself is pretty smooth. I found it to be a bit bass heavy.
Take it anywhere
The beauty of this device is that you can take it anywhere. Pool party? Check. Desert? Check. Shower? Check. With its IP67 protection, it can deal with all sorts of harsh environments as well as a fair bit of water.
The 12-hour battery life also means that you don’t have to worry much about needing to charge it all the time.
Speaking of charging, that is one aspect of this device which is a bit awkward. To charge the device, you need to plug in a micro USB cable in its bottom. This means that the device has to be laid down on its side. This means that you will lose some of the 360 degrees immersive sound that is offered while the device is being charged.
There is an alternative, i.e. the wireless charging dock, but that is an extra £34.99.
It does turn off pretty quickly when not in use, so it means that the battery life is as long as you physically possible.
One of the best features of the device is the Amazon Alexa integration. Unlike other Alexa devices which are permanently plugged in, this one allows you to take it wherever you have WiFi. If not plugged in, the device goes to sleep, as does Alexa. This means that I had no freaky experiences with Alexa waking me up by laughing at 2am at night! The app also allows you to mute the microphone for your privacy if needed.
If you don’t know much about Alexa, it is a smart assistant from Amazon, which will answer questions, play rhymes, add items to your shopping basket, as well as let you control smart devices in your home. It isn’t unlike Google Home or Apple’s Siri, though there are pros and cons to each.
While Alexa works great, Spotify was one service I couldn’t use it on this speaker. Still possible via Bluetooth but that requires a secondary device.
As mentioned already, the app lets you mute the microphone if needed, so you can ensure that Alexa is not listening to you.
From the app, follow the following instructions:
- Open the Ultimate Ears app.
- On the homepage, Tap the microphone icon.
- Tap “OFF” to disable the microphones. You will hear a tone indicating the microphones have been muted and a small red light will appear on the top of the speaker.
- Tap “ON” to re-enable the microphones.
However, there is also a manual way to do so.
- On the speaker, press the Volume down “–” and Bluetooth button (small button next to the Power button) simultaneously.
- You will hear a tone indicating that privacy mode has been enabled and a red light will appear on top of the speaker.
- Press the same buttons again simultaneously to disable privacy mode.
More information on the Ultimate Ears Blast can be found on their website.
It retails for around £199, but is currently going for only £129 on Amazon.
You may argue that at £199 this is a tad on the expensive side. However, at the new price on Amazon, this is an absolute bargain.
Personal story: Since getting this speaker, this has been the only speaker that has been used in the house.