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

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'.

8.2
Design
Portability
Volume
1529 in³ (25053 cm³)
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.

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.

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 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 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.

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 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.

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. 

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