JBL Xtreme 3 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jan 19, 2021 at 09:19 am
JBL Xtreme 3 Picture
6.4
Music
5.9
Videos/Movies
7.2
Podcasts
2.6
Voice Assistant
7.4
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a medium-sized portable speaker with built-in hooks so that you can attach it to a carrying strap. It has over 12 hours of continuous playback time. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, although we don't currently test for this, which makes it well-suited for outdoor use. That said, it has a warm sound profile, and it lacks low-bass. It also doesn't have an EQ to help tweak its sound to your liking. It doesn't have any voice assistant capabilities, either, and there are compression artifacts at max volume.

Our Verdict

6.4 Music

The JBL Xtreme 3 isn't bad for music. It has a warm sound profile with a neutral mid-range, so vocals are fairly clear and accurate. However, it struggles to reproduce low-bass and its treble is underemphasized, so the upper harmonics of voices and instruments sound veiled. It lacks an EQ to help customize its sound, and while it can get fairly loud, there are compression artifacts present at max volume.

Pros
  • Well-built and portable.
  • Stereo soundstage.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
5.9 Videos/Movies

The JBL Xtreme 3 is sub-par for videos and movies. When placed horizontally, it lacks a thumpy low-bass which can affect sound effects in movies. Its soundstage is narrow and there are compression artifacts at max volume. On the upside, its audio latency on iOS and Android isn't bad when streaming video via Bluetooth. However, some apps compensate for latency differently.

Pros
  • Well-built and portable.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't support Apple AirPlay, Chromecast, or Wi-Fi.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
7.2 Podcasts

The JBL Xtreme 3 is satisfactory for podcasts. It has a fairly neutral mid-range, although vocal-centric content can sound veiled or dull due to the recessed treble range. It also doesn't have an EQ, so you can't tweak its sound. It doesn't support multi-room either, so you can't play podcasts in different rooms in your home. That said, it has a portable design and can be paired with up to two devices at a time.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
  • Well-built and portable.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
2.6 Voice Assistant

The JBL Xtreme 3 doesn't have voice assistant support.

7.4 Outdoors

The JBL Xtreme 3 is decent for outdoor use. It has a great build quality and is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. It's also very portable, has a long-lasting battery life, and it can get pretty loud. However, there are compression artifacts at max volume, and it lacks low-bass. It also doesn't have an EQ for tweaking its sound.

Pros
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
  • Well-built and portable.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • 6.4 Music
  • 5.9 Videos/Movies
  • 7.2 Podcasts
  • 2.6 Voice Assistant
  • 7.4 Outdoors

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a medium-sized cylindrical speaker that can be placed vertically or horizontally. It has two built-in low-profile hooks on its top side so you can attach its carrying strap. The carrying strap also has a built-in bottle opener, so you can enjoy drinks while you're listening to audio. It comes in three colors so you can find a look that suits your style.

8.9
Design
Portability
Volume
250 in³ (4093 cm³)
Weight
4.2 lbs (1.9 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker is amazingly portable. You can carry it with one hand, and it has hooks integrated into its design so you can attach a carrying strap to it. Since it's battery-powered, you can also use it outside.

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 JBL Xtreme 3's build quality is great. Although we don't currently test for it, it has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, which makes it a suitable choice for outdoor use. It has a tight netting wrapped over its speakers, which makes it feel sturdy, and there's also a rubber base on its sides to keep it from slipping if you have it placed vertically. There are also built-in hooks so you can attach its carrying strap. The strap feels sturdy, and it has a built-in bottle opener.

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

The JBL Xtreme 3 has sub-par controls. While the buttons are easy to press, some features are missing. There are simple music management features like volume control and a play/pause button. You can also press the play button twice to skip to the next track, but unfortunately, you won't be able to go to a previous track. There are no call-related buttons. On the upside, there's a chime when you've reached max volume. The power and Bluetooth buttons light up as well, and there's a small, vertical indicator for battery life under the JBL logo. This speaker has a dedicated 'PartyBoost' button so that you can connect with multiple PartyBoost compatible speakers.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Xtreme 3 speaker
  • Carrying strap
  • AC adapter with USB-C connection cable
  • User Manual

Sound
6.4
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.09
Std. Err.
4.67 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
55.0 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
13.9 kHz

The JBL Xtreme 3 has acceptable frequency response accuracy. When placed horizontally, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. That said, it has a warm sound that still delivers a good amount of boom. The treble range is a little underemphasized, though, so the upper harmonics of vocals and instruments can sound dull or veiled. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an EQ to help tweak its sound. For a speaker with a more balanced sound profile, check out the JBL Boombox 2 or the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.2
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
5.21 dB
Stereo
Yes

This speaker has a decent soundstage. Although it has separate speakers for its left and right channels, its soundstage is narrow and small. There's also overemphasis in the treble range, which may make the soundstage seem uneven.

6.4
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
91.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.87 dB

The JBL Xtreme 3 has a passable dynamics performance. It can get fairly loud, which is suitable for large or crowded rooms, but there are a lot of compression artifacts at max volume.

Active Features
9.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
12.7 hrs
Charge Time
2.1 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C

The JBL Xtreme 3 has an outstanding battery performance. It's advertised to last around 15 hours off a single charge, but we measured over 12 hours. Luckily, it turns off after roughly 20 minutes when you're not listening to an audio file to conserve battery life. That said, battery life can vary according to usage, so your experience may differ.

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 offer voice assistant support. For a similar speaker that has voice assistant capabilities, consider the JBL Xtreme 2.

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

JBL Connect is an alright app. It's compatible with both iOS and Android. You can use it to link two speakers to create a stereo pair or connect it with multiple speakers to play the same audio across a large space. However, it lacks an EQ to help customize its sound to your liking.

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

The JBL Xtreme 3 has a USB-A and a USB-C port, so you can use the speaker as a power bank to charge other devices. The USB-C port also acts as a charging port. Also, there's an AUX port, so you can use a wired connection between this speaker and your smartphone. However, this cable isn't included in the box.

8.2
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Bluetooth iOS Latency
134 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
122 ms
Bluetooth Range
190.3 ft (58.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL Xtreme 3 has a great Bluetooth performance. It can be paired with up to two devices at a time, and it has a wide range. Its latency on iOS and Android is alright, and it can be a suitable choice for watching videos. However, some apps and devices compensate for latency differently, so your 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 3 comes in three color variants: 'Black', 'Blue', and 'Camo'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see its label here. We expect all the color variants to perform similarly to our model.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a medium-sized portable speaker. It has hooks built-in so you can attach its carrying strap to it, which makes it easier to take with you on-the-go. Just like the JBL PartyBox 100, you can use the speaker as a power bank if your smartphone or other device needs to be recharged. However, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, and it doesn't have any sound customization features to help tweak its sound.

JBL Xtreme 2

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 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Xtreme is a better-built speaker that can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. Its sound profile is also more balanced, with some extra warmth in the lower end. The Xtreme can also get louder than the Charge, though both have quite a bit of compression at max volume.

JBL Boombox 2

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 3. The Boombox has a more balanced sound profile, and its battery lasts longer. The underemphasized treble range of the Xtreme can make audio sound a bit dull and veiled. However, it's is a lot smaller and lighter, and also takes less time to charge.

Sony SRS-XB43

The JBL Xtreme 3 and the Sony SRS-XB43 are similar speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The JBL is better-built and has a better soundstage performance. However, the Sony has longer battery life, and it supports voice assistants. Also, the Sony's graphic EQ allows for greater sound customization.

JBL PartyBox 100

The JBL PartyBox 100 is a better speaker for most uses than the JBL Xtreme 3. The PartyBox 100 has a better-balanced sound profile, a larger soundstage, and can get much louder with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. However, the Xtreme 3 is more portable and feels better-built. It's also compatible with the JBL Connect app, and it has lower Bluetooth latency on Android and iOS.

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is a better speaker than the JBL Xtreme 3. The Sonos has a better-balanced sound profile, has built-in voice assistant support for Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can tweak its sound using the bass/treble adjustment sliders on its companion app. It also supports Wi-Fi, and you can pair it with up to two devices at a time. However, the JBL has lower Bluetooth latency on iOS and Android.

Marshall Emberton

The Marshall Emberton is a better speaker for most uses than the JBL Xtreme 3. The Marshall has a better-balanced sound profile, a wider soundstage, and has lower latency on iOS and Android. However, the JBL has a better build quality, a longer continuous battery life, and it can get louder. It also has a companion app.

Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6

The JBL Xtreme 3 and the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6 are similarly-performing speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Harman/Kardon has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. However, the JBL is better-built, with longer battery life and better soundstage performance.

Sony SRS-XB33

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a slightly better speaker for most uses than the Sony SRS-XB33. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile and a more immersive soundstage. It can also get louder than the Sony, although there are more compression artifacts at max volume, and its battery life is outstanding. However, the Sony is better-built, and its companion app offers a graphic EQ so that you can tweak its sound to your liking. You can connect your smartphone's voice assistant to the Sony, and its Bluetooth latency on Android and iOS is much lower.

Sonos One Gen 2

The JBL Xtreme 3 and the Sonos One Gen 2 are speakers with different strengths and depending on your preferences, you may prefer one over the other. The JBL is more suitable for outdoor use since it's battery-powered, supports Bluetooth, and has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, although we don't currently test for it. It can also get louder and with fewer compression artifacts. However, the Sonos is better for voice assistants as it has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. It also can be connected with Sonos soundbars as surround speakers.

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