Ultimate Ears unveil Alexa-powered BLAST and MEGABLAST smart speakers

Ultimate Ears have announced their first set of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smart speakers, the BLAST and MEGABLAST, will be coming to Australia next month.

While rival JBL have thrown their lot in with Google's Assistant, UE are opting with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. When connected to a Wi-Fi network or mobile hotspot, users are able to access the full capabilities of Alexa and can pause, play and request music using their voice.

"With MEGABLAST and BLAST, we wanted to take the mobile music experience to the next level with this new range, adding Wi-Fi and far-field voice recognition with Amazon Alexa," says Charlotte Johs, General Manager of Ultimate Ears.

At launch, UE say voice controls will be supported for listening to on Amazon Music Unlimited, Deezer and iHeartRadio. UE say support for Spotify is due to come later via a software update.

UE claim that the MEGABLAST is their loudest speaker yet, offering up a 40% increase on their previous MEGABOOM speaker.

Like UE's other portable speaker products, both the BLAST and MEGABLAST come IP67 rated against water and dust damage.

"We turned it all the way up with MEGABLAST; we believe it is the best sounding portable smart speaker available today, and with its sleek, waterproof design, it will look at home with any interior, or wherever you take your music, from kitchen to backyard, beach to mountain," Johs says.

When an internet connection is unavailable, the UE BLAST and MEGABLAST will function as regular Bluetooth speakers. The BLAST has a battery life of 12 hours while the MEGABLAST promises up 18 hours of usage per charge.

The company also announced a new POWER UP charging dock that allows for a more streamlined charging experience and also allows music to be played while being charged.

The UE MEGABLAST and UE BLAST portable smart speakers will be available in Graphite (White), Blue Steel, Merlot (Red), Mojito (Green), Lemonade (Yellow) and Blizzard (White) from May 8.

In Australia, the UE BLAST will retail for $279 while the UE MEGABLAST is priced at $379.

Both will be available through JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and via the Ultimate Ears website.

The UE POWER UP Charger will retail separately for $49.99.