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JBL Boombox 3 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Oct 21, 2022 at 01:30 pm
JBL Boombox 3 Picture
7.5
Music
6.5
Videos/Movies
7.4
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
8.1
Outdoors
Battery Powered
Yes
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No

The JBL Boombox 3 is the next generation of the JBL Boombox 2. This large and mighty Bluetooth speaker sports a similar design to its predecessor, with a built-in carrying handle to help easily bring the party with you to your next gathering. It's well-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance which certifies it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, making it a great choice for your next pool party.

Our Verdict

7.5 Music

The JBL Boombox 3 is good for music. It has a fairly balanced sound profile suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. Its balanced mid-range ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clean and present in the mix, though higher-pitched voices and sibilants like S and T sound a bit harsh at times. There's also a bit of warmth in the bass range that adds extra boom to the mix. You can customize its sound profile to your liking thanks to the graphic EQ featured in its companion app. It also gets pretty loud with little compression at max volume, so you can blast your favorite music without affecting your audio quality.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ.
  • Gets loud with little compression at max volume.
Cons
  • Narrow and directional soundstage.
6.5 Videos/Movies

The JBL Boombox 3 is alright for watching videos and movies. Its balanced midrange ensures dialogue and voices sound clear, and there's a bit of warmth in the bass range that adds some extra boom to the mix. That said, it doesn't reproduce the deep thump and rumble typically felt in action-packed scenes like explosions, for example. You can customize its sound profile to your liking thanks to the graphic EQ in its companion app. It also has low Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices, so there aren't syncing issues between the audio you hear and the visuals you see. Some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary.

Pros
  • Low Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android.
Cons
  • Narrow and directional soundstage.
7.4 Podcasts

The JBL Boombox 3 is decent for podcasts. Its balanced mid-range ensures voices and dialogue reproduce clearly and accurately in the mix, though higher-pitched sounds like S and T sound slightly harsh at times. Using the graphic EQ in its companion app, you can tweak and customize its sound to your liking. Its portable design makes it easy to move your podcasts with you from room to room, and it gets loud enough that you can clearly hear your audio from across a large room. You can also connect up to two devices simultaneously, making it easier to switch between audio sources frequently.

Pros
  • Gets loud with little compression at max volume.
Cons
  • Narrow and directional soundstage.
2.8 Voice Assistant

The JBL Boombox 3 doesn't support voice assistants.

8.1 Outdoors

The JBL Boombox 3 is great for outdoor use. This portable, battery-powered speaker is very well-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance that certifies it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It even floats, so you don't need to worry about accidentally knocking it into a pool of water. That said, you can't listen to music while it floats without holding it upright since its drivers face downwards into the water. On the other hand, it has an incredible battery life of almost 30 hours on a single charge. It also gets pretty loud with little compression present at max volume, so your audio quality sounds clean and clear when you blast the speaker.

Pros
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
  • Gets loud with little compression at max volume.
  • Long-lasting battery life.
  • Portable design.
Cons
  • Narrow and directional soundstage.
  • 7.5 Music
  • 6.5 Videos/Movies
  • 7.4 Podcasts
  • 2.8 Voice Assistant
  • 8.1 Outdoors
  1. Updated Oct 21, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Oct 18, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL Boombox 3 comes in two color variants: Black and Squad. This review represents the test results for the Black variant; you can see its label here.

If you come across any other variants of this speaker, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update the review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Boombox 3 is the next generation of the JBL Boombox 2 and is a great speaker. It has a more balanced sound profile suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content and can produce noticeably deeper bass than its predecessor. Audio quality sounds noticeably more refined overall, and it has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner and clearer-sounding audio quality when you blast your favorite songs. It's very well-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It comes with a PartyBoost button, meaning you can connect it to other PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers like the JBL Xtreme 3, the JBL Charge 5, and the JBL Boombox 2. You can't connect it to older JBL speakers with a JBL Connect+ function like the JBL Charge 4 or the JBL Xtreme 2, and you can't connect it with speakers from JBL's PartyBox lineup like the JBL PartyBox Encore Essential either.

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

JBL Boombox 2

The JBL Boombox 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Boombox 2. The Boombox 3 produces a noticeably deeper bass than its predecessor and offers a more balanced sound profile overall. While it doesn't get as loud, it has significantly less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner and clearer-sounding audio when you max out the volume. It also has a longer-lasting battery life of almost 30 hours from a single charge, and it's better built.

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Boombox 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 3. It has a more balanced sound profile that produces a more extended low-bass. While it gets as loud as the Xtreme 3, it has significantly less compression at max volume, so audio quality sounds cleaner and clearer when you blast your favorite songs. It also has a much longer-lasting battery life of almost 30 hours from a single charge. That said, the Xtreme 3 is smaller and more portable. Its removable carrying strap even comes with a bottle opener built-in to enjoy drinks with friends.

Sony SRS-XG500

The JBL Boombox 3 is a better speaker for music than the Sony SRS-XG500. The JBL has a more balanced sound profile that can produce a deeper bass than the Sony. While it doesn't get as loud as the Sony, it has much less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner-sounding audio quality at louder volume levels. It also has a longer-lasting battery life of almost 30 hours from a single charge, almost four hours more than the Sony, and it's better built. That said, the Sony comes with party-related features like a mic/guitar input, and it's compatible with Sony's Fiestable app, which lets you access extra party features of the speaker, like sound effects.

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

The JBL Boombox 3 and the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM are similar speakers with different strengths. The Boombox 3 can produce deeper bass than the HYPERBOOM, and it offers five extra hours of battery life, lasting up to almost 30 hours in total. It's better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. That said, the HYPERBOOM is a bit smaller in size and can get louder than the Boombox 3 with less compression present at max volume, so audio quality sounds cleaner and clearer when you blast the speaker. It also offers a slightly wider-sounding soundstage. If you prefer a better-built speaker that can produce deeper bass, go for the JBL. If you tend to blast your music and want audio quality to sound cleaner at max volume, go for the Ultimate Ears instead.

JBL PartyBox Encore Essential

The JBL Boombox 3 is a better speaker than the JBL PartyBox Encore Essential, though they have different strengths. The Boombox 3 is much better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, making it better suited for use outdoors. It's immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, and it even floats, while the PartyBox can only withstand some splashes with an IPX4 rating. It also has a significantly longer-lasting battery life of almost 30 hours, so the speaker is less likely to die on you in the middle of the party. The PartyBox, on the other hand, gets a bit louder and offers a more balanced sound profile overall that can produce deeper bass than the Boombox 3. It comes with a mic input as well as party-related features like DJ sound effects, light show effects, and karaoke effects.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Boombox 3 has a similar overall design to its predecessor, the JBL Boombox 2, with some small differences. It comes with a built-in handle that has a more solid grip than that of the Boombox 2, is made of aluminum. Its body is mostly wrapped in tight fabric. Like newer JBL speakers, it sports a large JBL logo on its front. Underneath its logo, there's a small LED light that acts as a battery life indicator. You can find the speaker in black and in a camouflage pattern.

8.1
Design
Portability
Volume
1,465 inยณ (24,000 cmยณ)
Weight
15.1 lbs (6.9 kg)
Power Source
AC & Battery
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL Boombox 3 is very portable. While it's on the larger and heavier side, this battery-powred Bluetooth speaker comes with a built-in handle to help you easily transport it in one hand to your next gathering.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Yes

It has excellent build quality. Like the JBL Boombox 2, it has a solid, sturdy feel and is wrapped tightly in fabric. Its rubberized plastic casing is less glossy, making it less prone to attracting fingerprints. Its rubber feet also feel sturdier than those on the Boombox 2. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It even floats in water, so you don't need to worry about accidentally knocking it into the pool at your next pool party. That said, its drivers tend to face downwards into the water as it floats, so you can't float the speaker around to listen to music while you swim without holding it upright.

6.6
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
Forward Only (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL Boombox 3's controls are straightforward to use. Its power and Bluetooth buttons are backlit, and its other controls are raised, texturized, and differentiated enough that you don't press the wrong one accidentally in the dark. You can double-press the play button to skip tracks, though you can't use its physical controls to backtrack. The speaker also emits an audible chime when you reach its maximum volume level. There's a party mode button JBL calls PartyBoost that you can use to connect it to other PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers like the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Xtreme 3. Its Bluetooth button flashes blue when the speaker is in pairing mode and solidifies once it's connected. There's a battery indicator light on its front underneath the JBL logo.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Boombox 3
  • Power Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety Instruction and Warranty Card

Sound
7.5
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.48
Std. Err.
2.64 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
46.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.3 kHz

The JBL Boombox 3's frequency response accuracy is good. Out-of-the-box, it has a balanced overall sound profile with a bit of extra warmth in the high-bass range, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of music genres. Its balanced mid-range ensures vocals and lead instruments reproduce clearly and accurately in the mix. The overemphasis in the high treble range adds a bit of sparkle to the mix, though it causes higher-pitched voices and sibilants like S and T to sound slightly harsh at times. Overall, its sound profile sounded noticeably fuller and more refined than the older JBL Boombox 2, and its slightly more extended low-bass was noticeable too. If you like having extra control over your speaker's sound, you can customize its sound profile thanks to the graphic EQ featured in its companion app.

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

Its soundstage performance is decent and similar to that of the JBL Boombox 2. Since it can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, instruments and sound effects in your audio are localized to a pinpoint location in the soundstage. For example, if a song normally has the guitar on the left and the drums on the right, you can hear the guitar playing from the left side of the speaker and the drums playing from the right. It results in a more immersive-sounding soundstage.

On the other hand, its directivity is unremarkable. Since it mainly projects audio only from one direction, audio doesn't stretch out very far around the speaker and can sound a bit different depending on the angle you're listening from, like when you're standing behind the speaker. As a result, its soundstage is perceived as somewhat narrow, though this isn't incredibly noticeable.

8.1
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
91.9 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.66 dB

This speaker has a very good dynamics performance. It gets loud enough to fill large spaces with sound, with significantly less compression present at max volume than the JBL Boombox 2, resulting in cleaner and clearer audio quality when you blast your favorite tunes.

Note: The sound tests above were conducted with the speaker operating on battery power.

Active Features
8.3
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
29.7 hrs
Charge Time
4.6 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
AC
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Boombox 3 has a great battery performance. While it's advertised to last around 24 hours from a 6.5-hour charge, it outstandingly lasted up to almost 30 hours from a charge of 4.6-hours. That said, battery performance can vary depending on your usage habits, chosen settings, and volume levels, so your experience may vary. There's also a battery life indicator light on its front underneath the JBL logo and a power-saving feature that shuts the speaker off following 20 minutes of inactivity.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
7.9
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Portable
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Graphic
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Portable app is great. There's a graphic EQ to customize its sound profile to your liking. You can use it to connect it to other PartyBoost-compatible speakers like the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Flip 6 to create a stereo pair, and you can select which speakers you want to act as the left and right channels. That said, there's no Multi-Room feature to let you listen to different audio in different rooms of your home simultaneously.

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

Aside from its charging port, there's an AUX input you can use to wire your devices to the speaker. There's also a USB-A out port to use the speaker as a portable charger to charge devices like your phone or earbuds.

8.2
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
5.3
Bluetooth iOS Latency
143 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
141 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL Boombox 3 has great Bluetooth connectivity. It has an outstanding range, so your devices remain connected to the speaker, even from far away. You can pair two devices to the speaker simultaneously, which is great when you need to frequently and easily switch between audio sources. It also has somewhat low latency with iOS and Android devices, so there aren't any syncing issues between the audio and visuals when you use the speaker to watch videos and movies. Some apps compensate for latency differently, and your real-world experience may differ.

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

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