Amazon has a lot of Echo devices now, with each seemingly designed with a specific room in mind. For your kitchen there is the screen equipped Show, for your bedroom there will soon be the Spot and for your living room there are the new multi-room enabled standard Echo speakers.
But what about when you want to use an Alexa enabled speaker in the shower, outside, in the shed, in the car or just about anywhere else that you might want to have all the benefits of Alexa to hand? From Amazon this seems to be a gap in their line-up and so another company has been the first to release a waterproof & portable Alexa equipped speaker. That company is called Ultimate Ears.
If you have been in the market for a portable/waterproof speaker in the last couple of years, then you will already have heard of the company and their extremely well received UE Boom 2 speaker, which The Verge awarded joint equal as the “best bluetooth speaker to buy right now”. We purchased one of these last year and can agree that the sound is far better than an Echo or Google Home, the battery life is well over 10 hours and that it can indeed take a dip or a decent drop and keep on booming…ahem.
Ultimate Ears has added microphones, WiFi chips and Alexa functionality to the two speakers above the Boom, called the UE Blast and the larger/louder again UE Mega Blast respectively, Both speakers retain the ability to connect over Bluetooth, decent drop resistance and are waterproof in up to a meter of water for half an hour.
To ensure that you can use the Blast or Mega Blast like an ordinary Alexa speaker, UE has also released a wireless charging base called the Power Up. Using this you can just pop the speaker onto it which will charge the battery fully while also allowing you to use this like an ordinary always-on Echo speaker.
This portability and toughness does not come cheap though, the UE Blast will set you back £199.99 and the UE Mega Blast with its louder sound, is a save-your-pennies £269.99. Keep in mind that the power-up charger is an additional £35 which you really do want to budget for. Some good news for Irish buyers, is that like the Sonos One, Amazon UK will ship it straight to your address in Ireland (both speakers are available now), saving you the need to go messing with a shipping forwarding company like Parcel Wizard which you have to do when buying an Echo speaker.