JBL Xtreme 2 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 15, 2021 at 07:58 am
JBL Xtreme 2 Picture
6.5
Music
6.2
Videos/Movies
7.3
Podcasts
5.2
Voice Assistant
7.3
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
Yes
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that's fairly good for most uses, thanks to its portable build and well-balanced mid-range that can clearly produce vocals and lead instruments. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. There's also a bottle opener built into its carrying strap, so you can enjoy drinks while listening to your audio. Unfortunately, it lacks some low-bass and doesn't have a graphic EQ for tweaking its sound. However, it's suitable for use in large or crowded rooms since it can get quite loud, although there is some compression at max volume.

Our Verdict

6.5 Music

The JBL Xtreme 2 is alright for music. It has a well-balanced mid-range, so it can clearly reproduce vocals and lead instruments, although higher frequencies can sound dull because of its underemphasized treble range. It also lacks some low-bass, so you won't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM. Also, it doesn't have a graphic EQ, so you can't adjust its sound profile. Although it can get quite loud, there's some compression at max volume.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Well-balanced mid-range.
  • Can get fairly loud.
  • Very long battery life.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Doesn't have a graphic EQ.
  • Lacks some low-bass.
6.2 Videos/Movies

The JBL Xtreme 2 is acceptable for videos and movies. It can reproduce dialogue clearly thanks to its well-balanced mid-range, although higher frequencies can sound dull or veiled. Its soundstage is somewhat narrow, which results in a less immersive sound. It also lacks some low-bass, so you won't feel the deep rumble in action-packed movie scenes. Thankfully, its latency with iOS and Android devices is very low, making it suitable for watching videos. However, some apps compensate differently for this, so user experience may vary.

Pros
  • Well-balanced mid-range.
  • Can get fairly loud.
  • Low latency with iOS and Android devices.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Lacks some low-bass.
7.3 Podcasts

The JBL Xtreme 2 is satisfactory for podcasts. Thanks to its well-balanced mid-range, it can clearly reproduce dialogue, although higher frequencies may sound dull or veiled because of its underemphasized treble range. It's also quite portable, thanks to its lightweight build and carrying strap. Although it can get fairly loud, there are some compression artifacts present at max volume. Its soundstage is also somewhat narrow, so the speaker doesn't sound very immersive.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Well-balanced mid-range.
  • Very long battery life.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
5.2 Voice Assistant

The JBL Xtreme 2 has disappointing voice assistant capabilities. It relies on your smartphone's voice assistant since it doesn't have one built-in. Although it can hear you quite well from a distance, it may have trouble understanding you if you're in a noisy environment.

Pros
  • Voice assistant can understand you from a distance.
Cons
  • No built-in voice assistant.
  • Voice assistant has trouble understanding you in a noisy environment.
7.3 Outdoors

The JBL Xtreme 2 is decent for outdoor use. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. Thanks to its lightweight build and carrying strap, it's easy to take with you on-the-go. It also has an exceptionally long battery life, lasting almost fifteen hours on a single charge. While it can get quite loud, there's some compression present at max volume.

Pros
  • IPX7 rating for water resistance.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Can get fairly loud.
  • Very long battery life.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Doesn't have a graphic EQ.
  • Lacks some low-bass.
  • 6.5 Music
  • 6.2 Videos/Movies
  • 7.3 Podcasts
  • 5.2 Voice Assistant
  • 7.3 Outdoors

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a medium-sized cylindrical speaker that's meant to sit horizontally. Each side of the speaker has a bass radiator, which helps produce a resonant bass sound. There are two low-profile hooks on top of the speaker for attaching the carrying strap. The carrying strap also has a built-in bottle opener, so you can enjoy drinks while listening to your audio content. It also comes in five colors, so you can find the look that best suits your taste.

9.2
Design
Portability
Volume
272 in³ (4463 cm³)
Weight
5.1 lbs (2.3 kg)
Power Source
AC & Battery
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL Xtreme 2 is remarkably portable. It's lightweight, and it uses a battery, so you can use it outdoors. You can also carry it with one hand thanks to the carrying strap that you can attach to it.

7.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL Xtreme 2 has a good build quality. Most of the speaker is covered with a tight fabric that makes it feel sturdy. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. There are also two built-in hooks on top of the speaker that let you attach its carrying strap. The strap includes a built-in bottle opener, so you can enjoy drinks while you listen to your audio. The plastic sides of the speaker can attract fingerprints, although they're easy to wipe off.

6.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL Xtreme 2 has adequate controls. The buttons are easy to press and most are texturized, so you can feel them by touch. The triangular play/pause button can be pressed twice to skip tracks, or it can be reconfigured into a 'Voice Assistant' button, but you need the app to change it back and forth. On top of the speaker, there are also buttons for adjusting the volume, a Bluetooth pairing button, and a Connect+ button, which lets you link up to 100 compatible speakers. The power button has a light that turns solid blue when a device is connected over Bluetooth. There are also lights at the bottom of the speaker that indicate the battery life. For a speaker that lets you mute the microphone, consider the Beats Pill+.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Xtreme 2 speaker
  • Carrying strap
  • Power cord and power adapter
  • User manual

Sound
6.6
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.28
Std. Err.
4.09 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
57.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
16.0 kHz

The JBL Xtreme 2 has reasonable frequency response accuracy. It has a balanced mid-range, so it can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly. The treble range is a bit underemphasized, so higher frequencies may sound dull or veiled. It struggles to produce low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an EQ to let you adjust its sound profile. If you're looking for a speaker with a better-balanced sound profile, check out the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.0
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
5.56 dB
Stereo
Yes

The JBL Xtreme 2 has a decent soundstage. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, but its soundstage is slightly directional, so it doesn't sound very immersive. There's also an overemphasis in the treble range, which can make the soundstage seem uneven. For a speaker that can also play stereo content but has a more even soundstage, consider the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3.

6.8
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
90.2 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.90 dB

The JBL Xtreme 2 has okay dynamics. It can get fairly loud, which makes it suitable for use in large or crowded rooms. However, there are some compression artifacts present at max volume. If you want a speaker that can get even louder and don't mind a larger model, check out the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go.

Active Features
9.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
14.6 hrs
Charge Time
2.7 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
AC

The JBL Xtreme 2 has a remarkable battery performance. It can last almost fifteen hours off of a single charge, and it takes just under three hours to charge from an empty battery. That said, battery performance can vary based on usage, so your experience may differ. It also saves battery by shutting off automatically when there's no audio input.

4.3
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Excellent
Ambient Noise Performance
Poor

The JBL Xtreme 2 has a poor voice assistant performance. It doesn't have a built-in voice assistant, so it relies on the voice assistant from your smartphone. Although you can reconfigure the speaker's play/pause button into a voice assistant button, you need to connect to the JBL Portable app and switch on 'Voice Assistant' mode to do this. Fortunately, the speaker can understand you even if you're far away, although it may have trouble hearing you in a noisy environment. For a speaker with built-in voice assistants, consider the Bose Portable Smart Speaker.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Portable
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Xtreme 2's companion app, JBL Portable, is okay. It lets you link it to other speakers to form a stereo pair, and its Party Mode feature lets you pair multiple speakers to create a more amplified sound. However, unlike the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST, it doesn't have a graphic EQ to help you customize the speaker's sound to your liking. Also, there's no Multi-Room feature to pair multiple speakers throughout your house.

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

The JBL Xtreme 2 has a 3.5mm AUX port that you can use to connect your smartphone to play audio. It also has a USB-A port, which lets you use the speaker as a power bank to charge other devices. There's also a micro-USB port for servicing the speaker.

9.4
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
31 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
25 ms
Bluetooth Range
272.3 ft (83.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL Xtreme 2 has an outstanding Bluetooth performance. You can pair two devices at once, which makes it easy to switch your audio source between your phone and your laptop. It has an outstanding range, so it can still receive audio input even if you're far away. Its latency with iOS and Android devices is also very low, which makes it suitable for watching videos. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so user 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 Xtreme 2 comes in five color variants: 'Black', 'Blue', 'Red', 'Green', and 'Camouflage', so you have many options for finding a look that fits your style. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see its label here. We expect all five variants to perform similarly.

If you come across a variant not listed here, please let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a medium-sized speaker that's decent for most uses. It has a fairly well-balanced sound profile, so it can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly. It also has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It's very portable, thanks to the carrying strap that you can attach to the small hooks on top of the speaker. However, it lacks some low-bass, and the underemphasized treble range can make higher frequencies sound somewhat dull and veiled.

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

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 3. They have very similar builds, but the Xtreme 2 has a slightly more balanced sound profile and a longer battery life. Also, only the Xtreme 2 has voice assistant capabilities. Although the two speakers can get similarly loud, the Xtreme 2 has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume.

JBL Charge 4

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. Unlike the Charge, the Xtreme can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and it can get somewhat louder. Also, only the Xtreme has voice assistant features, even though it may have trouble hearing you in a noisy room. Although both speakers lack low-bass, the Xtreme has a more balanced sound profile.

JBL Boombox 2

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 2. The Boombox has a more balanced sound profile with a more extended low-bass. It can also get louder than the Xtreme, and its treble range sounds less dull and veiled. Although both speakers have an exceptionally long battery life, the Boombox can last almost 24 hours on a single charge. However, only the Xtreme 2 supports voice assistant.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 2. The Ultimate Ears has a wider and more spacious soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design. It also has an EQ in its companion app, unlike the JBL. Only the Ultimate Ears has a rating for dust resistance, and the manufacturer even claims that it's drop-proof from a height of three feet. However, only the JBL has voice assistant support, though it uses the voice assistant from your paired smartphone.

Sony SRS-XB43

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB43. The JBL has a better soundstage performance, resulting in a more immersive sound. It can also understand you more easily when using your smartphone's voice assistant. However, the Sony has a graphic EQ that lets you customize its sound profile.

JBL FLIP 5

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Xtreme has a more neutral sound profile with a lower bass extension. Its battery lasts longer, and it has voice assistant compatibility. However, the FLIP is a smaller speaker, which can be useful for carrying it with you on-the-go.

Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6

The JBL Xtreme 2 and the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6 have similar overall performances, and depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Harman/Kardon has a more neutral, balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. However, the JBL has a better soundstage performance, longer battery life, and it supports voice assistants from your smartphone, unlike the Harman/Kardon.

Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST

The Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 2. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, and it comes with built-in support for Alexa voice assistant over Wi-Fi. It has a better soundstage performance, and it also has a graphic EQ and presets for greater sound customization. However, the JBL has longer battery life.

JBL PartyBox On-The-Go

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 Pulse 4

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Pulse 4. The Xtreme has a more balanced sound profile and a more extended bass. Unlike the Pulse, it's compatible with your smartphone's voice assistant. It can also get louder, and its battery lasts longer. However, the Pulse is smaller and lighter, and it has a unique transparent exterior, along with customizable RGB lights.

Beats Pill+

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the Beats Pill+. The JBL has voice assistant support, although it relies on your smartphone's voice assistant. It's also a better-built speaker with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Thanks to its better-balanced sound profile, vocals and lead instruments are reproduced more clearly. However, the Beats has a punchier high-bass, which may please some fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 2. The Bose has better voice assistant support since it has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, while the JBL relies on the voice assistant from your paired smartphone. Although it's a bit boomy, the Bose has a better-balanced sound profile, and its soundstage is perceived as more open and spacious thanks to its 360-degree design. It's also more customizable since the Bose Music app has bass and treble adjustments. However, the JBL can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono, and it can get louder.

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