After testing these portable speakers for weeks, I’ve determined that the Megaboom 3 is the best portable speaker. Comparing the UE Megablast vs UE Megaboom 3 was tough since they are similar in many respects. However, Megaboom 3 was clearly the best with design and battery life, plus its sound quality was on par with Megablast. Now, Megablast does sound better at higher volumes, but it has design flaws that dragged it down.
I’ll compare these two based on sound, design, power, and software to show you which was best and why.
This is tough because Megaboom 3 and Megablast are nearly identical here, but Megablast inches ahead just slightly. Let’s look into the drivers and sound quality to see why.
Megaboom 3 comes with two 50mm active drivers with omnidirectional sound. That means that sound is consistent regardless of what angle you’re at. The speaker is clear and sharp, and it has a strong bass you can really feel. It sounds great until you reach 75% volume. The bass becomes overwhelming, but you should have no problem filling a room with music under 75% volume.
The Megablast packs 55mm active drivers. That 5mm difference on both drivers is probably what improves the sound. It’s also omnidirectional and sounds nearly the same as Megaboom 3 at 50% volume or less. UE states that Megablast’s volume goes three decibels louder than Megaboom 3. In my tests, Megablast’s 85% volume was about the same as Megaboom 3’s 100% volume, so it can definitely go louder.
Not only that, but the bass is much richer and deeper. It’s also more controlled, giving Megablast the edge here. As a side note, I would recommend using WiFi instead of Bluetooth whenever possible. Bluetooth compresses music and it doesn’t sound as good.
It’s a close call, but the win goes to Megablast for bigger action drivers, rich bass, and louder overall volume.
Sound winner: Megablast
When it comes to design. Megablast is dead in the water (I’ll explain later) and Megaboom 3 is the clear winner here. No matter what angle you look at it, Megaboom 3 is better in every possible way.
Megaboom 3 weighs 2.04lbs and is 8.9 inches tall. The design is minimalist with two-tone mesh and comes in six colors: Lagoon Blue, Nightblack, Sunset Red, Ultraviolet Purple, and Urban Magenta. UE promises more colors will come soon. You’ll find two large volume buttons on the front along with the “Magic Button.” Instead of gestures, which aren’t always accurate, you tap this button once to pause, twice to skip a song, or hold for two seconds to start an Apple Music playlist.
How does Megablast compare? It weighs 2.65lbs and is 9.3 inches tall, making it half a pound heavier. What about buttons? There’s volume buttons, but no buttons or gestures for playback controls. You’ll use your phone as the controller, or you can use Alexa but it’s annoying. Charging is also a pain. The micro USB port is under the speaker, so listening and charging simultaneously is difficult. The wireless charging port gets around this.
Megablast doesn’t float in the water. You’ll notice an ugly rubber strip running down the center of the speaker, and it comes in four boring colors: Graphite, Bluesteel, Merlot, and Blizzard.
There’s really no comparison here. Megaboom 3 does everything right while Megablast has numerous problems and looks boring.
Design winner: Megaboom 3
This section is about battery life and both are pretty good. While Megaboom 3 is the winner here, Megablast isn’t that far behind.
Ultimate Ears promises a 20-hour battery life. Maybe that’s true at the lowest volume, but my real life tests revealed something much different. I got 10 hours at 60% volume and 5 hours at 85% volume. You can also wirelessly charge with the base. Unless you have this cranked all the way up (and as I said before, anything over 75% doesn’t sound as good), you’ll have plenty of time before needing to charge the battery.
What about Megablast? Ultimate Ears promises a 16-hour battery life, but once again, my real life tests revealed something different. You can expect 8 hours at 60% volume and 4 hours at 85% volume. These are both less than Megaboom 3, but not by much. You can also wirelessly charge with the base.
However, one thing to keep in mind is the Alexa support with Megablast. If Alexa is active and listening, then the battery life is significantly reduced. The more you use Alexa, the more it chews into the battery. If voice commands are your thing, then expect the battery drain very quickly.
Both are good, but the Megaboom 3’s battery is clearly better. However, both give you many hours of music and can be charged simultaneously with a wireless charging base.
Power winner: Megaboom 3
Just like with sound quality, Megaboom 3 and Megablast are nearly neck and neck. Megaboom 3 has some features that are better, but overall I think Megablast inches ahead with its features. Read on and see if you agree.
The Boom app is great with both speakers. On the Megaboom 3’s side, it can turn the speaker on, show you remaining battery life, alter the sound with four equalizer options, pair others speakers, and add Apple Music playlists. Speaking of pairing you can pair up to 150 UE speakers via Party Up. It works pretty well, but the music might cut occasionally.
UE lists the Bluetooth range as 150 feet, but I got nothing near that. The Block Party feature allows two people to control the music with their phone, which is great when you have a large party. There’s no Alexa support, but the Magic Button makes it simple to control. Simply hold the button for two seconds and your preset Apple Music playlist will start without ever taking out your phone.
Megablast counters with full Alexa support. There are several microphones listening for commands like “Alexa, play my playlist on Spotify” or “Alexa, turn up the volume.” It functions much like an Amazon Echo device and allows you to control home devices. You can disable Alexa by holding both the Bluetooth and volume down buttons.
However, there are problems with Alexa here. The mics aren’t as sensitive as with Amazon devices. Not only will you often be forced to repeat commands, but the mics won’t hear you when the volume is over 50%. Alexa only works if you’re connected to WiFi at home. I only found myself using Alexa for playback controls, that’s about it.
Megablast allows you to connect audio over WiFi or Bluetooth. WiFi playback is better because it allows you to use Spotify, and the sound quality is better since it isn’t compressed. You also won’t have to go through the pairing processing, and the music won’t be distorted if someone calls.
The Bluetooth range is also listed as 150 feet, but I got an extra 15-20 feet than with Megaboom 3. Pairing with other speakers is a little tougher. You can only pair one other Megablast, but 150 other Megabooms. However, since pairing over Bluetooth is never simple, I rarely do it. The app is similar, but you can’t power on the speaker with the app.
I think the Megablast is somewhat better as it has Alexa support (though it’s imperfect), and the WiFi playback is much appreciated. However, Megaboom 3 has many of the same features and is very simple to use.
Software winner: Megablast
This was a tough call in many ways. As you can see, Megablast wins some big categories like sound and software, but Megaboom 3 is always right on its heels. However, the big game changer here was design. Megaboom 3’s superior design pushed it far ahead of Megablast. It looks better, charges easier, and I love the Magic Button. Both are good, but I give the win to Megaboom 3.