JBL GO 3 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 11, 2021 at 07:12 am
JBL GO 3 Picture
5.5
Music
5.3
Videos/Movies
7.1
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
6.3
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL GO 3 is a portable, budget-friendly speaker. It's well-built, and it has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. You can even use the attached strap to hang it off your backpack when you're on-the-go. While its sound profile is quite balanced, it lacks a lot of low-bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music. Also, it doesn't support voice assistant technology.

Our Verdict

5.5 Music

The JBL GO 3 is middling for music. Its balanced mid and treble ranges allow for clear and accurate reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. However, it lacks low-bass, which is disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. Unfortunately, you can't customize its sound profile, and it doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • Bluetooth-compatible.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
5.3 Videos/Movies

The JBL GO 3 is disappointing for videos and movies. Its balanced mid-range helps it reproduce voices and dialogue clearly, but it lacks low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. It also doesn't get very loud, and its soundstage isn't very wide. However, its latency with iOS and Android devices is low, which is good.

Pros
  • Low Android and iOS latency.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
7.1 Podcasts

The JBL GO 3 is decent for podcasts. Its balanced mid-range can reproduce voices clearly. However, it doesn't get very loud, and you can't pair it with other speakers to make your audio cover a large area. On the upside, its portable design makes it easy to bring the speaker on-the-go.

Pros
  • Portable design.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
2.8 Voice Assistant

The JBL GO 3 doesn't support voice assistant technology.

6.3 Outdoors

The JBL GO 3 is acceptable for outdoor use. Since it can be powered by a battery, you don't need to plug it into an outlet to use it. Also, it's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and its sound profile lacks a lot of low-bass.

Pros
  • Portable design.
  • IP67 rating.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • 5.5 Music
  • 5.3 Videos/Movies
  • 7.1 Podcasts
  • 2.8 Voice Assistant
  • 6.3 Outdoors
  1. Update 1/18/2021: After re-evaluating our subjective scoring, we updated the Ease of Use score for this speaker's controls to 'Great'.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL GO 3 is a small speaker that fits easily in your hand. There's a built-in hook on the side, so you can hang it from your bag or backpack. There's a large JBL logo on the front, and you can choose from lots of different color variants based on your preferences.

9.5
Design
Portability
Volume
16 in³ (266 cm³)
Weight
0.4 lbs (0.2 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL GO 3 is outstandingly portable. It's small, lightweight, and you can carry it with one hand. Also, you don't need to plug it into an outlet to get it to work, which makes it easy to bring with you outdoors.

8.3
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The build quality is impressive. The materials feel solid, and there's a tight netting that wraps around most of the speaker and its carrying strap. The sides and the rear have a rubber finish. It also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this.

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

Update 01/18/2020: After reviewing our subjective testing scores, we determined that the Ease of Use for this speaker's controls should be changed to Great. We often re-evaluate our subjective scoring to provide greater consistency and accuracy across our reviews.

The controls are sub-par. You can turn the speaker on/off, pair it with a Bluetooth device, play/pause your music, and adjust the volume. If you press the Play button twice, it skips ahead to the next track, but you can't skip back to the previous track. The buttons are easy to press, and there's audible feedback when you reach max volume and when you enter pairing mode. Also, a small light flashes when the battery is low.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL GO3 speaker
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Sound
5.4
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.31
Std. Err.
2.42 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
138.5 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
16.5 kHz

The JBL GO 3 has middling frequency response accuracy. When sitting horizontally on its rubber base, the speaker struggles to reproduce low-bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. However, its balanced mid and treble ranges help reproduce voices in podcasts and audiobooks clearly and accurately.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.0
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
3.78 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The soundstage is mediocre. Its directivity is decent, but the soundstage isn't perceived to be as large as some of the other speakers we've tested, like the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2. Also, it has to downmix stereo content into mono, which doesn't sound as immersive.

6.3
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
79.6 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.36 dB

This speaker has passable dynamics. It doesn't get very loud, so it may not be ideal to use at parties. There isn't a lot of compression at max volume, resulting in a clean and clear sound.

Active Features
6.3
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
5.0 hrs
Charge Time
2.0 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C

The JBL GO 3 has an acceptable battery performance. It only lasts five hours off a single charge, which may not last through long days outside. However, battery life can vary according to usage, so your experience may vary. Also, the speaker shuts off automatically after about 20 minutes without audio, which helps conserve battery life.

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

This speaker doesn't have voice assistant support.

0
Active Features
App
App Name
No App
iOS
No
Android
No
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
No
Multi-Room
No

This speaker doesn't have a companion app.

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

The JBL GO 3 can't be used wired. It just has a USB-C port for charging.

7.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Bluetooth iOS Latency
109 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
65 ms
Bluetooth Range
226.4 ft (69.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

This speaker has very good Bluetooth connectivity. It has an incredible range, so you don't need to keep your phone or tablet very close to the speaker to play your audio. Also, it has low audio latency on iOS and Android, so it's suitable for watching videos, though some apps compensate for latency so your experience may vary. Unlike the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2, you can't pair it with more than one device at a time, which can be disappointing for some listeners.

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 isn't Wi-Fi compatible.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL GO 3 comes in lots of different color variants, including 'Red', 'Black', 'Blue', "Teal', 'White', 'Yellow', 'Squad' (Camo), 'Green', 'Orange', 'Pink', 'Grey', and 'Blue/Pink'. We tested the 'Red' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect the other color variants to perform similarly.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL GO 3 is a budget-friendly speaker with a portable design. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. Like many small speakers, it struggles to reproduce low-bass. Also, it doesn't support voice assistants. However, its latency with iOS and Android devices is low enough to be suitable for watching videos and movies.

JBL Clip 4

The JBL Clip 4 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL GO 3. While both speakers have a great build quality and are very portable, the Clip 4 can reproduce slightly more bass and has a wider soundstage. It also has lower audio latency on iOS and Android, although some apps compensate for this differently. However, the GO 3 can reach max volume with fewer compression artifacts.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Ultimate Ears can get louder, has a better soundstage, and has longer battery life. While both speakers struggle to reproduce low-bass, the Ultimate Ears has a more extended low-bass. That said, the JBL has lower latency with Android and iOS devices.

Bose SoundLink Micro

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Bose has a better soundstage and longer battery life. It also supports voice assistants, though its performance is sub-par. However, while we don't currently test for it, the JBL has an IP6X rating for dust resistance.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

The Bose SoundLink Revolve is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Bose is better-built with longer battery life, and it supports voice assistants. Also, it has a more balanced sound profile and a better soundstage. However, the JBL has a lower latency with Android and iOS devices.

OontZ Angle 3

The JBL GO 3 is a better speaker than the OontZ Angle 3. The JBL is better-built, and it has lower latency with iOS and Android devices. While both speakers struggle to reproduce low-bass, the JBL has a better-balanced sound profile. However, the OontZ gets louder, and it has longer battery life.

+ Show more

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post

Create Deal