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JBL Boombox 3 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Aug 24, 2023 at 02:19 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Aug 24, 2023 at 02:19 pm
JBL Boombox 3 Picture
7.5
Music
6.5
Videos/Movies
7.4
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
8.1
Outdoors

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 so you can bring the party to your next gathering. It's well-built, has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and floats in water, so it's a great option for the outdoors. It gets loud enough for big spaces, and you can customize its warm default sound profile with a 3-band EQ in its companion app.

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 genres. Vocals and lead instruments sound clean and present in the mix. The sound is light on rumble and punch, but some extra high-bass adds warmth. However, sibilants like cymbals sound a bit harsh. If you prefer a different sound, its companion app includes a graphic EQ for sound customization. It also gets 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. It's more meant for sharing music at parties than setting up near your TV. Still, if you end up using it to watch a video on your phone, the dialogue sounds clear. The speaker's companion app also includes a graphic EQ for sound customization. The speaker has low Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices, so your audio and video will stay in sync, although latency can depend on what app and device you're using.

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

The JBL Boombox 3 is decent for podcasts. It has a fairly balanced sound that makes voices clear and understandable. Some elements, like S and T sounds, can be a little harsh, but you can customize the sound with a graphic EQ in its companion app. Its portable design makes it easy to move with you from room to room, and it gets loud enough that you can clearly hear your audio from across a large room. It supports multi-device pairing, so you can easily switch between listening on your phone and computer.

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 and rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, so it can handle a party on the beach or by the pool. It even floats, so it's okay if it gets knocked into the water. It has a long 30-hour battery life and gets pretty loud with little compression present at max volume, so it can fill a big space with clear-sounding audio. The soundstage is narrow, so it won't project sound equally in all directions.

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 Aug 24, 2023: Made minor edits to the text to bring it up to date.
  2. Updated Aug 16, 2023: Added mention of the JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi in the Variants box.
  3. Updated Jul 04, 2023: Following user feedback, we retested the speaker's Dynamics performance to confirm that it doesn't get as loud as the JBL Boombox 2.
  4. Updated Oct 21, 2022: Review published.
  5. Updated Oct 18, 2022: Early access published.
  6. Updated Oct 05, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  7. Updated Oct 03, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  8. Updated Sep 22, 2022: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

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.

You can also get a version of this speaker with Wi-Fi support called the JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi.

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

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Boombox 3 is the next generation of the JBL Boombox 2. Its solid build, IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and carrying handle make it a great choice for outdoor parties. It also gets pretty loud, with less compression at max volume than the Boombox 2, so it can fill a big area with clear-sounding audio. It offers a better battery performance compared to the 2, as well as better bass reproduction and a more balanced sound profile overall.

This speaker supports JBL's 'PartyBoost' feature, so you can connect it with other compatible JBL speakers like the JBL Xtreme 3, the JBL Charge 5, and the JBL Boombox 2. However, you can't connect it to older JBL speakers with a JBL Connect+ function like the JBL Charge 4 or the JBL Xtreme 2 or with speakers from JBL's PartyBox lineup like the JBL PartyBox Encore Essential.

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

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.

Tribit StormBox Blast

The JBL Boombox 3 is a better speaker than the Tribit StormBox Blast. They're both very portable Bluetooth speakers with lots of customization features. However, the JBL's low-frequency extension is better, which is great for bass lovers. It also has less compression when you push it to max volume, and its materials feel a bit more solid. It doesn't have RGB lights like the Tribit, though.

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.

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus

The JBL Boombox 3 is better than the Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus. The JBL is a larger and better-built speaker that's able to reproduce a more extended low-bass, so you feel a touch more thump and rumble in the mix. It has less compression when you push it to max volume, too. It doesn't support voice assistants through a paired smartphone like the Anker.

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 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.

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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. Its built-in handle is now made of aluminum, unlike the Boombox 2's plastic handle. The grip has also been improved. Like other newer JBL speakers, it sports a large JBL logo on its front. Beneath it, a small LED light acts as a battery life indicator. The speaker comes in 'Black' or 'Squad', which is 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-powered 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 and differentiated enough that you won't accidentally press the wrong one in the dark. Its Bluetooth button flashes blue when the speaker is in pairing mode and solidifies once connected. There's a battery indicator light on its front underneath the JBL logo.

  • Play button: Play/pause audio. Double press to skip to the next track.
  • +/- button: Adjust volume up or down.
  • PartyBoost button:Connect with other PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers like the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Xtreme 3 and listen to the same music on multiple speakers.

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 extended low-bass was also noticeable. 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

It has a decent soundstage, similar to the JBL Boombox 2. Since it can play stereo content, you can hear a separation between the left and right channels when listening to music recorded in stereo.

On the other hand, the directivity isn't very good. Because of its design, it mainly projects audio from one side. Compared to speakers with a 360-degree design, audio won't sound the same from every angle around the speaker.

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

It has a great dynamics. It gets loud enough to fill big spaces with sound, so it's suitable for outdoor parties or large rooms. There's 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. There's a slight increase of about 2 dB SPL when connected via AC.

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

It has an impressive battery performance. It lasts nearly 30 hours on a single charge, exceeding the advertised battery life of 24 hours. There's also a power-saving feature that shuts it off after 20 minutes of inactivity and a battery life indicator light under the JBL logo on the front of the speaker. However, it takes about 4.6 hours to fully charge, so you have to think ahead if you need the maximum battery life.

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 simultaneously listen to different audio in different rooms of your home.

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

Aside from its charging port, there's an AUX input 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

It has great Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair two devices to the speakers simultaneously, which is great if you want to quickly and easily switch between your phone and computer. It has an outstanding range, so you don't need to worry about staying close to the speaker. Its latency with iOS and Android devices is low enough that you won't notice audio syncing issues if you use it to watch videos on your phone. However, remember that 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

This speaker doesn't support Wi-Fi. However, you can get a variant that does, the JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi.