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When I first reviewed the UE Megablast a few months ago I didn’t like it at all. It had a whole bunch of missing features, it relied way too much on voice commands, and it just didn’t sound good. The megablast had way too much bass and no mids. But I decided to give the Megablast a second chance. And even though it still has its problems… it actually sounds really good now. So good in fact that I feel its actually up there with the JBL Xtreme 2 with a form factor smaller than the Sony XB41.
When the Megablast was first released in the fall of 2017 it was retailing for $250, but now the Megablast can be had for $200, or less. The Sony XB41 was released at the beginning of 2018 and retails for $250. And the JBL Xtreme 2 is the newest and most expensive speaker here retailing for $300. If you want to pick either of these speakers up I’ll have links in the description below and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. I suggest you check them out cause you never know when these speaker will go on sale you so you'll might get lucky. And also check out the new merch shelf down below. And if you want to learn more about either of these speakers then watch their full reviews.
First lets go over the things I hate about the UE Megablast. I hate that the megablast relies so heavily on ALEXA voice commands to play or pause your music and to skip a track. The voice commands are cool but they only work if the Megablast is connect to wifi and if you’re streaming your music from a supported streaming service. But if you’re streaming your music over bluetooth cause you use Apple Music or google play music like I do, then the only way you can control your music playback is from your phone. The only thing you can do directly from the megablast is adjust your volume. And this is incredibly annoying cause sometimes its just more convenient to have a physical button to play or pause your music or to skip a track directly on your speaker. I feel that all speakers, even smart speakers need to have these three basic inputs.
Another thing I hate about the megablast is the recessed micro USB port on the bottom of the speaker. Since this micro USB port is so indented it limits the amount of micro USB cables you can use to charge this speaker to effectively just its included cable. And I think this is a sneaky way of UE and Logitech trying to get you to buy their $40 power up charging cradle, cause I also hate the fact that you have to stand the megablast upside down when you’re going to charge it… I just think its sloppy. Where as with the XB41 you can also charge it with a micro USB cable, but the port is much easier to reach. But the Xtreme 2 is the odd one out here cause it can only be charged via its AC port.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system lets compare these speakers. Both the UE Megablast and Sony XB41 are super rugged and durable. They both have fabric outer shells that do a very good job of standing up to bumps and scrapes and they are both IP67 rated which means they’re both water and dust proof. The JBL Xtreme 2 is also pretty durable thanks to its fabric out shell, but it only has an IPX7 rating. Which means its only water proof. I think that the reason its not dust proof is cause of the exposed passive radiators on each side. But as long as you don’t get dirt in them or push them in, you'll be fine.
But now lets talk about speaker set ups cause thats what impressed me the most about the megablast this time around. Even though the Sony XB41 is larger than the Megablast, it has the least amount of hardware going for it. The Sony XB41 has dual frontward firing 58 millimeter diameter transducers and dual passive radiators in the center that fire out the front and out the back of the speaker. Now if we look at the Megablast you'll see it has slightly smaller 55 millimeter diameter transducers and dual passive radiators like the XB41. But it also has additional 25 millimeter diameter tweeters. Now, even though UE advertises the Megablast as a 360 degree speaker, its really just shooting sound out the sides which is an important detail to take note of for later in the video. And then theres the JBL Xtreme 2 which is also a front ward firing speaker. It has dual 70 millimeter diameter transducers, Dual 20 millimeter diameter tweeters and exposed passive radiators on each side. Now before we jump into the sound test just know the XB41 is in Extra Bass mode, the Megablast is using its “The Standard” EQ setting, and the Xtreme 2 has the newest firmware update which improved its audio quality.
I personally think that the megablast sounds almost as good as the Xtreme 2. But I feel the megablast is only worth using indoors. UE advertises the Megablast as a 360 degree speaker, buts its actually just shooting music out the sides. So unless there are walls that the music can bounce off of, theres a huge dead zone on the front and on the back of the speaker. We’re going to do another 30 second sound test, but this time the speakers are outdoors and they are all playing at max volume.
As you can see, the Megablast has a pretty significant dead zone on the front and back of the speaker. And for that reason I would only recommend it if you plan on using it strictly indoors. But I actually feel the megablast sounds almost as good as the Xtreme 2. Its sounds very clear, which is something I cant say about the XB41, and it gets almost as loud as both the XB41 and Xtreme 2. But if I had to rank these speakers in audio quality it would go Xtreme 2 in first place, followed closely by the Megablast, and in dead last is the XB41. Even though you can mess around with the EQ settings on the XB41 to improve its audio quality, the lack of dedicated tweeters on the XB41 just gives this speaker a harder time separating the mids from the highs.
Now, even though the Megablast has a decent battery life, is very rugged and sounds almost as good as the Xtreme 2 in a much smaller package… its still missing basic features like being able to pair it up to another speaker. Where as with both the Sony and JBL speakers you can pair them up to 100 other speakers, and obviously no one really needs that. But the problem with Sony’s wireless party chain is that it either fails to connect sometimes or if you do manage to pair a few speakers up youll get an echo that can only be fixed by turning the speakers off and pairing them back up again.
Like I’ve said in the past, JBL connect plus is the easiest way to pair multiple speakers together. You just press one button on each speaker and the speakers will figure out the rest by themselves. If you plan on regularly pairing multiple speakers together I highly advise you invest into JBL’s eco system.
So, like I said at the beginning of this video… when I first reviewed the UE megablast I didn’t like it all. And it still has its issues. But you can say I’m very impressed when it comes to sound quality. If you’re just looking for a single speaker to use in your bed room or office and if you’re willing to look over the megablast’s glaring flaws then I think it is worth considering at its $200 price point. Personally when ever I’m going to use a speaker in my room I’ve been drawn to vertical speakers like the Pulse 3 cause it takes up so little space on my desk. And whenever I wanted to listen to music at a higher volume I would grab the XB41 cause it also takes up very little space when you stand it up. Cause even though the Xtreme 2 sounds very good, just like its bigger brother the JBL Boombox, the Xtreme 2 lives in the studio just cause I don’t have room for it in my bedroom. But remember, the Megablast is only worth using indoors… if you need a speaker that can perform well both indoors and out doors then you’re better off going with the XB41 or Xtreme 2. Go with the XB41 if you only want a single speaker and if you want to save money and go with the Xtreme 2 if you want the best audio quality and or if you plan on pairing multiple speakers together.