JBL PartyBox On-The-Go Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 25, 2021 at 10:32 am
JBL PartyBox On-The-Go Picture
6.6
Music
5.8
Videos/Movies
7.0
Podcasts
2.5
Voice Assistant
6.6
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is a fairly large Bluetooth speaker. It has a similar design to the JBL PartyBox 100, but it's smaller and more easily portable. It has an eye-catching RGB light on the front, as well as Guitar-in and Mic-in ports for musicians. It has a warm sound profile overall, though the extra boom in the bass range may be slightly overwhelming for some listeners. Although it's rated IPX4 for water resistance, its battery only lasts around 4.5 hours on a single charge. Thankfully, it can get quite loud, and there's a Bass Boost feature that may please fans of bass-heavy music genres.

Our Verdict

6.6 Music

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is okay for music. It has a warm sound profile when the Bass Boost setting is enabled, and the extra boom in the high-bass range may please fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. The mid-range is fairly well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced accurately, but the higher frequencies of these same instruments may sound dark and veiled due to the underemphasized treble range. While it can get loud, there's quite a bit of compression present at max volume. Its directivity is poor, so the soundstage is perceived as narrow, though it can play stereo content, which feels more immersive. Unfortunately, it struggles to produce a thumpy low-bass and it lacks an EQ for adjusting its sound profile, but its Bass Boost feature may help with bass production.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Guitar-in and Mic-in ports for musicians.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Narrow soundstage.
5.8 Videos/Movies

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is disappointing for videos and movies. It has high Bluetooth latency with both iOS and Android devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently. Its sound profile is fairly warm overall, but it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you may not feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed movie scenes. The mid-range is well-balanced, so dialogue is reproduced clearly, but the treble range is underemphasized, so sibilants like S and T sounds may be perceived as dull. It has poor directivity, so audio doesn't sound clear from all angles. Thankfully, it can play stereo content, which feels more immersive.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Narrow soundstage.
7.0 Podcasts

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is satisfactory for podcasts. It supports multi-device pairing, which is useful if you like switching your audio source frequently. It can also get quite loud, though there's some compression present at max volume. Its mid-range is fairly well-balanced, so dialogue is reproduced clearly. However, due to its underemphasized treble range, sibilants like S and T sounds may be perceived as dull or veiled. Also, its soundstage feels narrow, so your audio may not sound clear from all angles. Though it's large and quite heavy, you can transport it fairly easily using the built-in handles or by attaching a shoulder strap to the built-in hooks.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Narrow soundstage.
2.5 Voice Assistant

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go doesn't have voice assistant support.

6.6 Outdoors

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is adequate for outdoor use. It has a solid build and comes with an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Although it's fairly bulky and heavy, you can carry it using its built-in handles or by attaching a shoulder strap to the built-in hooks. You can also connect two devices at a time, which is useful. Unfortunately, its battery only lasts around 4.5 hours, and it has poor directivity, so audio doesn't sound clear from all angles. While it can get loud, there's quite a bit of compression present at max volume.

Pros
  • Solid build.
  • Built-in handles and hooks for a shoulder strap.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Narrow soundstage.
  • Short battery life.
  • 6.6 Music
  • 5.8 Videos/Movies
  • 7.0 Podcasts
  • 2.5 Voice Assistant
  • 6.6 Outdoors

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights Yes

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is a fairly large speaker that's meant to sit horizontally. It's mostly made of plastic, and there's a metal grille on the front. There's one circular RGB light in the middle, and you can adjust its pattern using a button. There are two small built-in hooks on either side of the speaker that let you attach a shoulder strap. On top, there's a small groove that you can use to hold a tablet or mobile device.

7.9
Design
Portability
Volume
1620 in³ (26544 cm³)
Weight
16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
Power Source
AC & Battery
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is very portable. Although it's quite large and heavy, there are built-in hooks that let you attach a shoulder strap, making it easier to transport. There are also small handles on each side, letting you carry it with one hand. Since it has a battery, you don't need to plug it into a power source to make it work.

7.0
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
Water-resistant (IPx4)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go has a decent build quality. Like the JBL PartyBox 100, it's made mostly of plastic with a metal grille on the front to protect the drivers. When placed horizontally, it sits on four small rubber pads. It comes with handles on each side, as well as hooks for attaching a shoulder strap. There are also seal covers for the power cable, Mic-in, and Guitar-in ports. The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go comes with an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this.

6.9
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
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL On-The-Go has adequate controls. The controls are located on the side, and all the buttons are easy to press. There are buttons for adjusting the volume, turning the speaker on/off, and pairing a Bluetooth device. There's also a play/pause button that you can press twice to skip forward a track and three times to skip to the previous track, though you can't skip tracks when using it in Aux mode. You can press both volume buttons together to mute. It also has a Bass Boost button and a button for changing the pattern of the RGB light. Although there are dials for adjusting echo, treble, and bass, these only adjust the microphone levels, not the audio you're listening to. Above the power button, there's a light that indicates the battery life. While the RGB light glows when adjusting the volume and the speaker chimes when you reach max volume, there's no indicator when you reach minimum volume.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL PartyBox On-The-Go
  • Power cable
  • Microphone
  • 2x AA batteries
  • Microphone bag
  • Quick Start Guide

Sound
7.0
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-1.15
Std. Err.
3.76 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
49.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.2 kHz

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go has a decent frequency response accuracy. When set to 'Bass Boost 1', it has a fairly warm sound profile, and the extra boom in the high-bass range may please fans of bass-heavy music genres like EDM and hip-hop. The mid-range is fairly well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present, but the higher frequencies of these instruments might sound dull due to the underemphasized treble range. Unfortunately, it lacks some low-bass, and it doesn't have an EQ to let you adjust its sound profile to your liking.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.1
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
7.24 dB
Stereo
Yes

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go has a mediocre soundstage. It can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono, which results in a more immersive listening experience. However, its directivity is poor, so its soundstage may be perceived as narrow and directional.

6.7
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
94.1 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.92 dB

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go has a reasonable dynamics performance. It can get quite loud, making it suitable for use in large, crowded rooms. However, there's quite a bit of compression present at max volume, so your audio may not sound clean and pure.

Active Features
5.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
4.5 hrs
Charge Time
2.6 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
AC

The JBL On-The-Go has a sub-par battery performance. The manufacturer advertises that it lasts for six hours on a single charge, but in our tests, it lasted just 4.5 hours, which may not be enough for long listening sessions. However, battery life may vary depending on usage, so your results may differ. Fortunately, it has a power-saving feature that automatically shuts the speaker off after 20 minutes without audio input.

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

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go doesn't have a companion app. However, you can use True Wireless Stereo to connect two party speakers over Bluetooth to create a stereo pair. To activate this feature, you press the Bluetooth button for five seconds.

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

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go has several wired inputs. There's a 3.5mm AUX port that lets you plug your phone directly into the speaker. It also has a USB-A port that lets you use it as a charging port for other devices. It has a Guitar-in 1/4" port and a Mic-in 1/4" port, which both have knobs for adjusting the gain.

7.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
267 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
187 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go has good Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair up to two devices at a time, which is useful if you like to switch your audio source frequently. Unfortunately, its Bluetooth latency is high with both iOS and Android devices, so it may not be suitable for watching videos. That said, 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

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go comes in one color variant, 'Black'. You can see the label for the model we tested here.

If you come across a variant not listed here, let us know in the discussions and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is a large Bluetooth speaker that has an eye-catching RGB light. It has a similar design to the JBL PartyBox 100, but it's smaller and more portable. It has a solid build and an IPX4 rating for water resistance, like the JBL PartyBox 310. Similar to other JBL PartyBox speakers, it comes with a microphone as well as Mic-in and Guitar-in ports for musicians. Like the JBL PartyBox 300, it can get quite loud, but its battery only lasts 4.5 hours. It has a warm sound profile overall, though it struggles to produce low-bass. The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go doesn't have voice assistant support.

If you want to see more options, check out the best Bluetooth speakers for bass, the best JBL speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers.

JBL PartyBox 100

The JBL PartyBox 100 is a better speaker than the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go. The PartyBox 100 has a more balanced sound profile and a wider soundstage. It can also get louder with less compression present at max volume. Its battery lasts around ten hours on a single charge, while the On-The-Go only lasts 4.5 hours. However, some users may prefer the smaller, more portable design of the On-The-Go, and it even has an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this.

JBL Boombox 2

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go. The Boombox 2 has a more neutral sound profile, and it can get slightly louder with less compression present at max volume. While the On-The-Go is rated IPX4 for water resistance, the Boombox 2 has an IPX7 rating. It also lasts close to 24 hours on a single charge, while the On-The-Go only lasts around 4.5 hours. However, the On-The-Go has Mic-in and Guitar-in ports, which are useful for musicians.

JBL Xtreme 2

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go. The Xtreme 2 is smaller and more portable, and it supports the voice assistant from your paired smartphone. Its battery lasts over fourteen hours on a single charge, while the On-The-Go only lasts 4.5 hours. The Xtreme 2 is also compatible with the JBL Portable app, which lets you pair multiple speakers to amplify your audio or create a stereo pair. However, the On-The-Go has a more extended low-bass and it gets slightly louder.

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go. The Xtreme 3 is a better-built speaker that's more suitable for outdoor use, thanks to its smaller size and IP67 rating for water resistance. Its battery also lasts close to thirteen hours, while the On-The-Go only lasts 4.5 hours on a single charge. However, the On-The-Go has a more extended low-bass and gets slightly louder, so you may prefer it for use at parties or in large rooms.

JBL PartyBox 310

The JBL PartyBox 310 is a better speaker than the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go. The PartyBox 310 has a better-balanced sound profile and can produce a more extended bass. Also, it gets louder without as much compression present at max volume. Its battery also lasts around seventeen hours, while the On-The-Go only lasts 4.5 hours on a single charge. However, the On-The-Go is much smaller and more portable, which some users may prefer.

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