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JBL Boombox 2 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 12, 2021 at 08:55 am
JBL Boombox 2 Picture
7.0
Music
6.3
Videos/Movies
7.6
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
7.4
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Boombox 2 is a mid-sized speaker that's fairly suitable for most uses. Its mid and treble ranges are fairly well balanced, so it can clearly reproduce vocals and lead instruments. However, it lacks a bit of low bass, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Although it's fairly bulky, it's quite portable thanks to its carrying handle. Its battery also lasts almost 24 hours, and it has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It can get quite loud, but there are some compression artifacts present at max volume. Unfortunately, it doesn't have voice assistant capabilities.

Our Verdict

7.0 Music

The JBL Boombox 2 is decent for music. Although it lacks a bit of low-bass, its mid and treble ranges are well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly. It can also get quite loud, although there are some compression artifacts present at max volume. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, but it doesn't have an EQ to let you tweak its sound profile.

Pros
  • 24-hour battery life.
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Very portable.
  • Can play stereo content.
  • Can get quite loud.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Lacks a bit of low-bass.
  • Somewhat narrow soundstage.
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Doesn't have an EQ.
6.3 Videos/Movies

The JBL Boombox 2 is unremarkable for videos and movies. Its latency with iOS and Android devices is low, so it's suitable for watching videos. Unfortunately, it lacks some low-bass, so you might not feel the thump and deep rumble in action-packed movie scenes. However, it has a well-balanced mid-range that can clearly reproduce dialogue.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Can play stereo content.
  • Can get quite loud.
  • Low latency with Bluetooth.
Cons
  • Lacks a bit of low-bass.
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Doesn't have an EQ.
7.6 Podcasts

The JBL Boombox 2 is good for podcasts. It has a well-balanced mid-range that can clearly reproduce dialogue. This speaker can get quite loud, although there are some compression artifacts present at max volume. Its soundstage is also somewhat directional, so audio is perceived as a bit narrow. That said, it's very portable, so you can bring it with you from room to room.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Very portable.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Somewhat narrow soundstage.
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
2.8 Voice Assistant

The JBL Boombox 2 doesn't have voice assistant support.

7.4 Outdoors

The JBL Boombox 2 is decent for outdoor use. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Its battery can also last for almost 24 hours, which is very useful if you want to take it on longer excursions where you don't have access to an outlet. Although it can get quite loud, there are some compression artifacts present at max volume, and the soundstage can be perceived as narrow, so it doesn't feel very immersive.

Pros
  • 24-hour battery life.
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Very portable.
  • IPX7 rating for water resistance.
  • Can play stereo content.
  • Can get quite loud.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Lacks a bit of low-bass.
  • Somewhat narrow soundstage.
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • 7.0 Music
  • 6.3 Videos/Movies
  • 7.6 Podcasts
  • 2.8 Voice Assistant
  • 7.4 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 12, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Feb 09, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Boombox 2 is a mid-sized speaker meant to sit horizontally. It's mostly wrapped in a tight fabric, and it sits on a plastic base. Its large plastic handle has a grip pad on top for easy carrying. It has lights that indicate the battery level and whether it's connected to Bluetooth. You can also get it in two color variants, 'Black' or 'Camo'. For a portable speaker with a similar design, check out the Sony XG500.

8.2
Design
Portability
Volume
1,529 inยณ (25,053 cmยณ)
Weight
13.0 lbs (5.9 kg)
Power Source
AC & Battery
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL Boombox 2 is very portable. It's a bit bulky, but there's a top handle that lets you carry it with one hand. It also has a battery, so you can bring it outside without having to plug it into an outlet.

7.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL Boombox 2 has a good build quality. It has a solid feel, and most of the speaker is wrapped in a tight fabric. The speaker sits on a small plastic base, and its large plastic handle has a grip pad along the top to make it easier to carry. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. The buttons located on the top of the speaker are texturized, making them easier to find by touch.

5.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL Boombox 2 has sub-par controls. Although you can skip tracks by pressing the play/pause button twice, you can't go to the previous track, which may be disappointing for some users. However, the buttons are all located on top of the speaker's body and they're easy to press. In addition to the play/pause button, there are volume buttons, Bluetooth pairing button, and PartyBoost button, which lets you pair two speakers to make a stereo pair. There's also a light that indicates the Bluetooth signal and a light at the bottom of the speaker that indicates the battery life.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Boombox 2
  • Power adapter and power cable
  • User manual

Sound
7.2
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.20
Std. Err.
3.25 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
49.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.1 kHz

The JBL Boombox 2 has a decent frequency response accuracy. Its sound profile is fairly neutral, so it's well suited to playing most audio content. It has well-balanced mid and treble ranges, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly. However, it struggles a bit to produce low-bass, although there's a bit of extra boom in the high-bass. It also doesn't have an EQ to let you adjust its sound profile. If you're looking for a similarly-sized speaker with a graphic EQ and presets, check out the Sony SRS-RA5000. That said, it isn't as portable as the JBL Boombox 2, due to its wired design.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.2
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
5.25 dB
Stereo
Yes

The JBL Boombox 2 has a decent soundstage. It can play stereo content, which creates a more immersive listening experience. However, its soundstage may be perceived as somewhat narrow and directional. The treble range varies more than the bass depending on where you're standing, so it may sound uneven.

7.5
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
96.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.01 dB

The JBL Boombox 2 has good dynamics. It can get pretty loud, which makes it suitable for playing in large rooms or outdoors. However, there are a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume.

Active Features
8.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
23.9 hrs
Charge Time
3.9 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
AC

The JBL Boombox 2 has an excellent battery performance. It lasts almost 24 hours off a single charge, so you don't need to charge it every day. However, battery life can vary according to usage, so user experience may vary. This speaker also saves power by automatically turning off after around 20 minutes of no use. However, it takes almost 4 hours to charge from an empty battery, which may require some extra planning before use.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

This speaker doesn't support voice assistant technology. Consider the JBL Xtreme 2 if you're looking for a speaker with voice assistant support.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Portable
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Portable app is okay. You can use the Party Mode feature to pair your speaker with another JBL Boombox speaker to amplify the sound across large rooms. There's also a stereo pair mode, which lets you link two JBL Boombox speakers to create a more immersive stereo sound. Unfortunately, the app doesn't include an EQ to help you adjust the speaker's sound profile.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

The JBL Boombox 2 has several wired inputs. There's a 3.5mm AUX port for connecting your phone directly to the speaker. It also has a micro-USB port for servicing the speaker and a USB-A port that lets you charge other devices.

8.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Bluetooth iOS Latency
146 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
121 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL Boombox 2 has impressive Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair two devices to it at the same time, which is useful if you want to frequently switch your audio source between your phone and your laptop. Thanks to its low latency with iOS and Android devices, it's well suited to watching videos. However, some apps compensate differently for latency, so user experience may vary. It also has an excellent range, so it can stay connected even if your device is far away.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This speaker doesn't support Wi-Fi connectivity.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL Boombox 2 comes in 'Black' and 'Camo' color variants. The 'Camo' variant has a green handle, and the fabric around the speaker's body has a camouflage pattern. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect both variants to perform similarly in tests.

If you come across a version not listed here, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Boombox 2 is a mid-sized speaker that's well suited to playing music. It has a fairly well-balanced sound profile, although it lacks a bit of low-bass. It has an exceptionally long battery life, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. While it can get quite loud, there are some compression artifacts present at max volume. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Thanks to its carrying handle on top, It's very portable, although it's somewhat heavy.

See also our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers for bass.

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 3. The Boombox has a more balanced sound profile, and its battery lasts longer. The underemphasized treble range of the Xtreme can make audio sound a bit dull and veiled. However, it's is a lot smaller and lighter, and also takes less time to charge.

Sony XG500

You may prefer either the JBL Boombox 2 or the Sony XG500, depending on your preferences. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile and has slightly fewer compression artifacts present at max volume. It also has somewhat better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. That said, the Sony is more customizable with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It also comes with customizable RGB lights and features a mic/guitar input.

JBL PartyBox 300

The JBL PartyBox 300 and the JBL Boombox 2 are similar speakers with a few different features. The Boombox has a more open soundstage, and it's more portable thanks to its smaller size. It's also rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. However, the PartyBox can get louder and it has much less compression at max volume.

JBL Xtreme 2

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 2. The Boombox has a more balanced sound profile with a more extended low-bass. It can also get louder than the Xtreme, and its treble range sounds less dull and veiled. Although both speakers have an exceptionally long battery life, the Boombox can last almost 24 hours on a single charge. However, only the Xtreme 2 supports voice assistant.

JBL PartyBox 310

The JBL PartyBox 310 is a better speaker for music than the JBL Boombox 2. The PartyBox 310 can reproduce more bass, it can get much louder, and it offers inputs for mic and guitars. However, the Boombox 2 is good if you're looking for something more portable and it's rated IPX7 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.

JBL PartyBox 100

The JBL PartyBox 100 is a better speaker than the JBL Boombox 2. While both speakers have fairly neutral sound profiles, the PartyBox gets louder with less compression at max volume. However, the Boombox has a longer battery life as well as an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is a better speaker than the JBL Boombox 2 overall. The Ultimate Ears is more customizable, thanks to the graphic EQ available in its companion app. It can also get louder than the JBL, with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. That said, the JBL is better-built, with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't test for this.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better overall speaker than the JBL Charge 5. The Boombox 2 can produce a deeper bass, and can get louder than the Charge 5. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, the Charge 5 is smaller, and more portable than the Boombox 2. It's also better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. 

JBL PartyBox On-The-Go

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go. The Boombox 2 has a more neutral sound profile, and it can get slightly louder with less compression present at max volume. While the On-The-Go is rated IPX4 for water resistance, the Boombox 2 has an IPX7 rating. It also lasts close to 24 hours on a single charge, while the On-The-Go only lasts around 4.5 hours. However, the On-The-Go has Mic-in and Guitar-in ports, which are useful for musicians.

Sony SRS-XB43

The JBL Boombox 2 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43 overall. The JBL can produce deeper bass than the Sony and gets louder with slightly fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It also has an exceptionally long battery life, lasting almost 24 hours from a single charge, though this can vary depending on your usage. The Sony is more customizable, with a graphic EQ you can use to adjust its sound to better suit your preferences. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good.

Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6. The JBL has a better soundstage performance, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It also gets louder, and it has longer battery life.

JBL FLIP 5

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Boombox has a more balanced sound profile, reproducing a more extended low-bass. It can get louder than the FLIP, and its battery lasts much longer. That being said, the FLIP has better directivity thanks to its 360-design. 

Sony XB90

The JBL Boombox 2 and the Sony XB90 have different strengths. The JBL is smaller and more portable than the Sony. It also has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, and is better-built, with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't test for this. However, the Sony is a large party speaker with multiple party features like customizable RGB lights and a microphone input. It has a more customizable sound profile thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured on its companion app.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the Anker Soundcore Motion+ overall. It offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than that of the Anker. It can get somewhat louder with slightly less compression at max volume. It also offers a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage, and your experience may vary. That said, the Anker's companion app features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The JBL Boombox 2 is a slightly better speaker than the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3. The JBL can produce much deeper bass than the Ultimate Ears. It can also get louder and can last up to almost 24 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage, and your experience may differ. That said, the Ultimate Ears has fantastic directivity, so your audio sounds clear from most angles. This small speaker is also more customizable, thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured on its companion app.

Sony XP700

The Sony XP700 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Boombox 2 overall, though you may prefer one over the other depending on your preferences and listening habits. The Sony is a large party speaker with customizable RGB lights and it can get somewhat louder than the JBL. Its sound profile is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured on its companion app. That said, the JBL is smaller, more portable, and offers a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. This well-built speaker also offers a longer battery life of almost 24 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage.

Alpine Corporation QLP542SLR-GR

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the Alpine Corporation QLP542SLR-GR. The JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a deeper low-bass than that of the Alpine. It can also get louder, and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. That said, some users may prefer the Alpine's outdoor-friendly, rock-like design and its built-in solar panel for charging.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker for most uses than the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2. The JBL gets louder, has a longer battery life, and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It also has a more extended low-bass. That said, the Bang & Olufsen offers an incredible voice assistant performance. It also comes with some EQ presets and its 'Beosonic' sound customization feature to help you adjust its sound more to your liking.

Sony SRS-RA5000

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-RA5000 overall. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile and can get louder than the Sony. While it's slightly larger than the Sony, it's battery-powered and has a built-in carrying handle making it more portable. It's also better built with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't test for this. The Sony is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured on its companion app. It also supports Sony's '360 Reality Audio' virtual surround format, though we don't test for this.

Klipsch The Three II

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the Klipsch The Three II overall. The JBL is battery-powered and has a built-in carrying handle making it more portable. It has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than that of the Klipsch. It's also better-built, with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. That said, the Klipsch can get louder than the JBL.

SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3)

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) or the JBL Boombox 2. The JBL is smaller and is much more portable than the SOUNDBOKS, making it more convenient when you're on the move. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has less compression at max volume. That said, the SOUNDBOKS is more customizable than the JBL and is one of the loudest speakers we've tested so far. This party speaker can also last an outstanding 43.8 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage.

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