JBL JR POP Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 01, 2021 at 07:52 am
JBL JR POP Picture
5.2
Music
5.0
Videos/Movies
7.3
Podcasts
3.0
Voice Assistant
6.6
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL JR POP is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a kid-friendly design that comes in lots of different color variants. It's very small, and kids can use the non-detachable strap to hang it from their bag or backpack while on-the-go. It also has brightly colored lights that they can turn on to play with their music. However, like many small speakers, it doesn't get very loud. Also, its sound profile is boomy and a bit dark, and there aren't any sound customization features to help them adjust its sound.

Our Verdict

5.2 Music

The JBL JR POP speaker is inadequate for music. This speaker has a boomy sound profile with an underemphasized treble that makes upper harmonics sound dark and dull. It struggles to reproduce low-bass, so listeners don't feel the thump in bass-heavy genres like EDM. There aren't any sound customization features, and it doesn't get very loud. On the upside, it has a wide and spacious soundstage.

Pros
  • Good soundstage performance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No sound customization features.
5.0 Videos/Movies

The JBL JR POP speaker is disappointing for videos and movies. This speaker lacks low-bass, so it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. Its boomy sound profile also sounds quite dark, so the upper harmonics of dialogue may be veiled. It doesn't get very loud, either. On the upside, its latency with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth is low enough to be suitable for watching videos. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so the listener's real-world experience can vary.

Pros
  • Low latency with iOS and Android devices.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • No sound customization features.
7.3 Podcasts

The JBL JR POP speaker is decent for podcasts. It can reproduce vocals and lead instruments fairly clearly, though sibilants like S and T sounds can be veiled or dull. Also, it doesn't get very loud. However, its portable design makes it easy to bring the speaker along from one room to another.

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

The JBL JR POP speaker doesn't have voice assistant support.

6.6 Outdoors

The JBL JR POP speaker is alright for outdoor use. It's very small and lightweight, so it's easy to bring on-the-go, and kids don't have to plug it into an outlet to use it. Also, it has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. That said, this speaker doesn't get very loud, and its battery life of over five hours may not be ideal for long days at the park.

Pros
  • Portable design.
  • IPX7 rating for water resistance.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • 5.2 Music
  • 5.0 Videos/Movies
  • 7.3 Podcasts
  • 3.0 Voice Assistant
  • 6.6 Outdoors
  1. Updated Feb 01, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jan 26, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights Yes

The JBL JR POP is a very small speaker that's designed for listeners to bring with them on-the-go. It comes with a non-removable strap so kids can attach it to their bag or backpack. There are also RGB lights that they can use when listening to music. This speaker comes in several different colors, and it also comes with stickers, so kids can decorate it to their liking.

9.5
Design
Portability
Volume
10 in³ (171 cm³)
Weight
0.2 lbs (0.1 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker is incredibly portable. It's very small, lightweight, and listeners can easily carry it in one hand. Also, since it's battery-powered, kids can use it without having to plug it into an outlet.

7.1
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL JR POP has a decent build quality. There's thick plastic covering the speaker, and overall, the materials feel solid but not very premium. The strap is thick and shouldn't rip easily. It's rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don't test for this.

4.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Good
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
No
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The controls are poor. On the side of the speaker, there are buttons that let the listener power the speaker on/off, turn the lights on/off, activate Bluetooth pairing, and adjust the volume. When the listener reaches max volume, a small chime plays, and there's a pop sound when they hit the light button. However, the buttons aren't very easy to press, and listeners have to apply a bit of force to register a command. They also aren't textured, so users don't know which button they're pressing unless they look at them.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL JR POP speaker
  • Stickers
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Sound
4.4
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-2.05
Std. Err.
3.63 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
179.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
13.9 kHz

The JBL JR POP has poor frequency response accuracy. It really struggles to reproduce low-bass, so listeners don't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM. However, its overall sound profile is a bit boomy, and higher-frequency noises like cymbals are dark and dull due to the underemphasized treble.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.6
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
0.73 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

This speaker's soundstage performance is good. Its soundstage is perceived as wide and spacious. However, it has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive.

6.3
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
74.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
0.27 dB

The JBL JR POP has passable dynamics. It doesn't get very loud, so it isn't really suitable for use in large rooms. However, there isn't a lot of compression at max volume, so audio reproduction is clear and pure.

Active Features
6.7
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
5.6 hrs
Charge Time
1.7 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
Micro-USB

The JBL JR POP has an adequate battery performance. It lasts for over five hours off of a single charge, which may not last through long days on-the-go. However, its power-saving feature turns it off after fifteen minutes without audio, which can help conserve battery life. Also, battery life can vary depending on usage, so the listener's real-world experience may vary.

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 assistants.

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 JR POP can't be used wired. It has a micro-USB port, but that's just to charge the speaker.

8.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
134 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
70 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL JR POP has amazing Bluetooth connectivity. It has an outstanding range, so it plays audio even if the connected device isn't very close to the speaker. Listeners can also pair it with up to two devices at the same time, which makes it easy to switch their audio source between a phone and a laptop. Also, its latency with iOS and Android devices is low enough to be suitable for watching videos. Some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary.

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 JR POP speaker comes in several different color variants, including 'Red', 'Teal', 'Pink', 'Purple', 'Green', and 'Blue'. We tested the 'Red' variant, and you can see the label 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 JR POP speaker is a very small portable Bluetooth speaker with a non-detachable strap so kids can hook it on their backpack. It's designed for kids, and it comes with bright lights and stickers so they can customize its appearance to their liking. However, like many small speakers, it doesn't get very loud and it struggles to reproduce low-bass. Also, its sound profile is boomy and dark, and there aren't any sound customization options. See also our recommendations for the best cheap speakers and the best Bluetooth speakers.

JBL Clip 4

The JBL JR POP and the JBL Clip 4 are similar speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Clip 4 is better-built, and it has a more neutral sound profile. However, the JR POP is smaller and has a kid-friendly design. While it doesn't get as loud as the Clip 4, it has less compression when you play it at max volume.

JBL GO 3

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.

OontZ Angle 3

The OontZ Angle 3 and the JBL JR POP are small speakers that perform similarly, so you may prefer one over the other. The JBL is smaller, designed for kids, and also has a better soundstage performance. However, the OontZ gets louder, and it has longer battery life.

Sony SRS-XB01

The Sony SRS-XB01 and the JBL JR POP are both small, portable speakers with similar overall performances, so you may prefer one over the other. The Sony has longer battery life and it supports voice assistants, unlike the JBL. Both speakers struggle to reproduce low-bass, but the Sony has a better-balanced sound profile. However, the JBL has a better soundstage performance and is designed for kids.

Discussions