Megaboom 3 vs Megablast: Some Differences are Subtle, Some Obvious

Stuck in a decision between the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 and its smart-speaker close cousin, the Megablast? We’ve done a thorough analysis of both speakers, including how they sound and the small differences in features that might make one better than the other.

We’ve got a full side-by-side comparison below, followed by a meta-analysis of critical reactions to their performance.

But to cut to the chase, here’s our take in a nutshell. We’re not big fans of smart speakers, but if you’re going to get one, the Ultimate Ears Megablast is the best-sounding waterproof speaker that runs Amazon’s Alexa.

That said, Alexa is more tightly integrated and just works better on Amazon’s own line of smart displays and smart speakers. (We’d especially recommend the Echo Show as it’s much less frustrating to be able to see what you’re doing on a display.)

Getting back to the two Logitech Ultimate Ears speakers we’re considering here, they are very similar in terms of features, but the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 sounds slightly better than the Megablast, is more portable, and allows you to pair two units simultaneously while you’re out anywhere, away from wifi. It’s our favorite among the larger, louder, waterproof speakers. We think that for most people it’s the better choice of the two, but you can decide for yourself below.

Update History of This Article

This article was originally published on October 6, 2018. Updated on March 11 with info on the Blast and Megablast firmware and app updates that allow pairing of multiple units.

Side-by-Side Comparison: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 vs Megablast

What Critics Say: The Megablast Is Great, but the Megaboom 3 Is Just Slightly…

Better, we think! Here’s why we’d go with the Megaboom 3 (and possibly get a separate Amazon-branded smart speaker for the home).

Both Speakers Sound Great

If you’re wondering which sounds better, that would be the Megaboom 3, but just barely. The Megaboom 3 has bigger, punchier bass, and more solid, even performance across the rest of its range. Critics comparing the two speakers directly preferred the Megaboom 3, and this speaker has so far gotten rave reviews from audiophiles and tech sites across the board.

The original Megaboom was a stellar performer, and we found the update to the Megaboom 3 (there was no Megaboom 2) managed to make the bass performance even deeper and stronger, with minor improvements as well to its evenness, clarity, and 360-degree performance (you can place it in the middle of a gathering and it will sound great from any side).

The Megablast also sounds great, however, and they have very similar sound profiles. Critical reaction to the speaker was resoundingly positive in terms of its power to go quite loud and sound great doing so, while giving great beauty in the details.

The Megablast’s Alexa Is Smart, but We’d Get an Amazon Speaker/Display Instead

The main difference between the two speakers is smarts; the Megaboom 3 is not a “smart speaker” that you can talk to.

The Megablast runs Amazon’s Alexa, and as long as it is connected to wifi you can ask it for recipes, do your shopping, play music, and control smart home devices.

That said, some users and critics complain of lag in Alexa’s response on the Megablast, and it doesn’t do some of Alexa’s features like calling. Also, it doesn’t light up to show that it’s listening. This is why, if you want a smart speaker, we’d recommend instead going with Amazon’s own Alexa devices instead of the Megablast:

  • Echo is the standard-sized model.
  • The Echo Plus is a larger unit with better sound that is more directly comparable to the Megablast, though not as durable nor waterproof.

The Megaboom 3 Has Some Minor Features that the Megablast Lacks

Since both of these Ultimate Ears speakers are extremely similar in size (the Megablast is just slightly larger and heavier) and both have quite good 360-delivery sound, go loud, and have strong bass performance, it’s important to note a few differences in features.

  • The Megaboom 3 can be paired with a second unit for stereo via Bluetooth. It can also be paired with any number of other Ultimate Ears Booms, Boom 2s, Boom 3s, or Megabooms (original). All of this happens via the dedicated Android and Apple apps, and this is a fantastic way to create a fuller soundstage and bigger party on the go. (Update: As of March 2019, it is now also possible to pair two Megablast speakers for stereo, or up to eight speakers in party mode. But note that this is only possible if you are on wifi, so this is not a “party-on-the-go speaker set. Also note that Blasts and Megablasts cannot be paired with any other Ultimate Ears speakers.)
  • While the Megablast is the “smart” speaker with Alexa integration as detailed above (including voice control of the music), note that these features only work when the speaker is connected to wifi. The Megaboom 3 has a one-button-does everything system; press the “magic button” on top once to play or pause, twice to skip tracks, and long press to select playlists (though this playlist function works only in Deezer or Apple Music).
  • The Megaboom 3 floats (though we don’t recommend doing this for long or listening to music this way). The Megablast does not. Both  speakers are fully water and dustproof and can handle being submerged for up to 30 minutes. They are also very well protected and should survive drops and abuse.
  • Both can be charged via a charging dock that is sold separately (very nice, a bit overpriced).
  • Both have appealing, bright, shiny fabric coverings and are available in various colors. The Megaboom 3’s fabric is two-toned and shimmers depending on how the light hits it.
  • The Megablast has a D-hook which can be useful for hanging it, for example with a standard carabiner. Or you can unscrew that and reveal a threaded tripod mount, which is a cool way to mount it on a claw-grip tripod. The Megaboom 3 instead has a fabric loop that  you can use with a carabiner to hang the speaker.

Neither speaker has a speakerphone function, but most people just make calls on their phones’ speakerphone function anyhow. These speakers also both do away with the 3.5 mm input, which is too bad as that can still be a nice way to connect older devices.

Ultimate Ears Megablast vs. Megaboom 3 Wrap-Up: What’s Right For You, and What Are the Best Prices?

If you want a speaker that can rock an outdoor party or go with you on the road and survive quite a bit of abuse, either of these will serve you well. Just recall that the Megablast’s smart features don’t work once you’re away from wifi.

We think the Megaboom 3 sounds just slightly better and we prefer the ability to pair multiple units on the go, when you’re far from wifi.

We also think that the Megablast is not an ideal smart speaker and for home use thanks to its lag and fiddliness, would instead go for one of the Amazon Alexa units described above.

Pricing tends to vary so we can’t really predict which will be cheaper but the prices in the boxes below are updated daily. It’s also very much worth clicking through to Amazon and then on the different color options, as some of them are heavily discounted at times.

Ultimate Ears Megablast
The most rugged and best-sounding speaker with Amazon Alexa, but there can be some lag with smart feature response. Can now pair up to eight, but only when you’re near wifi.
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
Just slightly better in terms of bass performance and overall evenness; can pair two of them for stereo