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JBL GO 3 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Jan 03, 2023 at 04:25 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 18, 2023 at 04:21 pm
JBL GO 3 Picture
5.5
Music
5.3
Videos/Movies
7.1
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
6.3
Outdoors

The JBL GO 3 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that's designed to bring your favorite songs with you on the go. It's one of the manufacturer's smaller offerings, with a built-in hook so you can attach it to your bag or backpack, as well as an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. This simple speaker doesn't offer access to any of JBL's companion apps, and you can't customize its sound, but it's still a solid Bluetooth device for your next outdoor adventure.

Our Verdict

5.5 Music

The JBL GO 3 is middling for music. It's designed to help you bring your favorite tunes with you on the go, with a small and compact build that means you don't get a lot of thump in the low-bass. Still, it's suitable for lots of other genres, as voices and lead instruments reproduce with clarity and accuracy. It's loud enough to keep you entertained on your next hike. However, it can't fill larger rooms with sound. There aren't any customization options for its sound, either.

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

The JBL GO 3 isn't designed for use with videos or movies. Since it's an outdoor speaker, it has a small and compact design that fails to bring the deep rumble in the bass during action-packed scenes. There's some latency, too, especially with iOS devices, so audio can appear out of sync with the video you see. It's fine if you want to catch up on a quick video while scrolling your phone, but it isn't meant to be added to a home theater system.

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. With its balanced mids, voices are reproduced with great clarity and accuracy, so dialogue is easy to follow in your favorite shows. Its lightweight design makes it easy to bring with you, too, so you can move your show from room to room as you listen. It's better for smaller rooms since it doesn't get loud enough to fill more open areas with sound.

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. This speaker has a really small and lightweight design that's ideal for taking your music with you on the go, and you can clip it to your bag using its built-in hook. It's sturdy and solid, too, with an IP67 rating to protect it against exposure to dust and water. It doesn't get very loud, but if you just want to clip it to your bag on your next outdoor hike, it's a solid pick.

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. Updated Apr 18, 2023: Added the Go 3 Eco series to the Variants box.
  2. Updated Jan 03, 2023: Updated the review text for clarity and consistency. No changes to test results.
  3. Updated Dec 20, 2022: Changed Track Next/Previous from No to Forward Only (Physical).
  4. Updated Jan 04, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  5. Updated Jan 18, 2021: After re-evaluating our subjective scoring, we updated the Ease of Use score for this speaker's controls to 'Great'.
  6. Updated Jan 11, 2021: Review published.
  7. Updated Jan 05, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This speaker 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.

Also, you can find the Go 3 Eco series in 'Blue', 'Green', and 'White'. These versions are made of recycled materials.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions, and we'll 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, meaning it's dust-tight and can immerse in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. However, like many speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce low-bass. Also, it doesn't support voice assistants. That said, its latency with iOS and Android devices is low enough to be suitable for watching videos and movies.

Check out our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best portable Bluetooth speakers, and the best JBL speakers.

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.

Sony SRS-XB13

The Sony SRS-XB13 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3 overall. The Sony can produce deeper bass than the JBL and has better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. It also has a longer battery life, though this depends on your usage, and your experience may vary. Additionally, it has less compression present at max volume, resulting in a cleaner sound. That said, the JBL is slightly smaller than the Sony, making it a bit more portable. It can also get slightly louder than the Sony.

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, the JBL has an IP67 rating 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.

JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 5 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Flip 5 can produce a more extended low-bass than the GO 3 and can get louder. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, lasting a little over 8 hours in our tests, though this can vary depending on your usage habits, and your experience may differ. That said, the GO 3 is smaller and more portable. It's also better-built and has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volume levels.

Anker Soundcore 2

The JBL GO 3 and the Anker Soundcore 2 are very similarly-performing speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The JBL is better built, and while it doesn't get as loud as the Anker, it has less compression at max volume. The Anker, meanwhile, supports voice assistants from your phone, and it has longer battery life.

JBL Flip 4

The JBL Flip 4 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Flip 4 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box that can produce a more extended low-bass than that of the GO 3. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and supports voice assistants via your smartphone. That said, the GO 3 is smaller, making it more portable. It's also better-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, so it's fully dust-tight and submersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

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.

Anker Soundcore 3

The Anker Soundcore 3 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Anker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and comes with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to customize its sound to your liking. It also has a longer battery life, though this can depend on your usage habits, so your experience may vary. That said, the JBL is smaller and more portable. It’s also 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.

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.

Sony SRS-XB01

The JBL GO 3 and the Sony SRS-XB01 are very similar speakers, meaning you may prefer one over the other depending on your listening habits. The JBL is better built, and it has a better soundstage. However, the Sony supports voice assistants, and it has longer battery life.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Ultimate Ears can produce a more extended low-bass and can get louder. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, resulting in a more immersive soundstage overall. Its battery life outlasts that of the JBL by around 17 hours. It's also better built, and the manufacturer advertises it to float in water. That said, the JBL is smaller, making it more portable.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Anker has a better-balanced sound profile and can produce a more extended low-bass than the JBL. You can customize its sound to your liking, thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured in its companion app. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. That said, the JBL is smaller and comes with a small, built-in carrying strap, making it more portable. It's also 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.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2

The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Anker has a more balanced sound profile, and its graphic EQ and presets offer more sound customization options. Its soundstage is better, its battery life is longer, and it supports voice assistants. However, the JBL is better built.

Sony SRS-XB12

The Sony SRS-XB12 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Sony has a slightly better-balanced sound profile and a wider soundstage. It also has longer-lasting continuous battery life, and can it can utilize your smartphone's voice assistant. However, the JBL is better built, and some users may prefer its smaller design.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. Only the Bang & Olufsen has voice assistant support, and it gets slightly louder. Although both lack low-bass, the Bang & Olufsen has a more extended bass, so you feel more of the deep, rumbling bass in genres like EDM and hip-hop. Also, the Bang & Olufsen has better directivity, resulting in a more open soundstage. However, the JBL has less Bluetooth latency with Android devices, so it's more suitable for watching videos over this connection.

OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA

The OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA and the JBL GO 3 have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. The OontZ can play stereo content, and it can get louder. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, and it supports voice assistants. Its companion app allows you to customize its sound to your liking via the bass and treble sliders too. However, the JBL has a more neutral sound profile, feels better-built, and has lower latency on iOS and Android, although some apps and devices compensate for this differently.

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.

JBL JR POP

The JBL JR POP and the JBL GO 3 are similar speakers, and depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The GO 3 is better built, and it has a more neutral sound profile. However, the JR POP is smaller and designed for kids, and it has a better soundstage performance.

iFox iF012

The JBL GO 3 and the iFox iF012 are both small, well-built speakers that perform fairly similarly. The JBL offers a more neutral sound profile suitable for listening to many different types of audio content. It also has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices, making it better suited for watching videos and movies. The iFox is designed to be used in the shower and comes with a removable suction cup to secure it somewhere in your shower. It can get slightly louder than the JBL with less compression present at max volume. It also has a longer battery life of just under eight hours, though this can vary depending on your usage.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

This small and compact speaker fits easily in your hand. There's a built-in hook on the side, meaning 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 inยณ (266 cmยณ)
Weight
0.4 lbs (0.2 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL GO 3 is incredibly portable. You can easily carry it in one hand, and you can use its built-in carrying strap to attach it to your bag or suspend it from a hook.

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

Its build quality is impressive. Just like the JBL Clip 4, its 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, so it's certified to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

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

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 entering pairing mode. Also, a small light flashes when the battery is low.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL GO 3 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 GO3 is suitable for listening to most types of audio content. Thanks to its even frequency response, especially in the mids, dialogue in podcasts is clear and easy to follow, and instruments are reproduced with clarity and fidelity. That said, given the small, compact size of this speaker, it's not a surprise that it can't reproduce much bass, so you don't feel the rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop.

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

This speaker's soundstage performance 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 or the JBL JR POP. 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

Its dynamics performance isn't bad. Like most speakers its size, it doesn't get very loud. That said, there aren't a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio sounds mostly clean when the speaker is pushed to its louder volume levels.

Active Features
6.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
5.0 hrs
Charge Time
2.0 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

This speaker 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 differ. Also, the speaker shuts off automatically after about 20 minutes without audio, which helps conserve battery life. If you want a portable speaker with longer battery life, check out the Sony SRS-XB01 instead.

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

This speaker doesn't have voice assistant support. If you want a speaker that supports voice assistants from your smartphone, check out the Anker Soundcore 2 or the OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA.

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

If you're looking for a portable speaker with an app that offers a graphic EQ so you can customize its sound profile, check out the Anker Soundcore Flare 2.

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

This speaker comes with a USB-C port for charging, but that's it.

8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
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 incredible range, so you don't need to keep your paired device 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, meaning your experience may vary. However, unlike the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2, you can only pair it to one device at a time. It can make it difficult to quickly switch between audio sources.

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