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SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Jul 14, 2021 at 09:23 am
SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) Picture
6.9
Music
6.1
Videos/Movies
6.8
Podcasts
2.7
Voice Assistant
6.3
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) is a large party speaker that can get outstandingly loud. With its default settings enabled, it has a V-shaped sound profile that can produce a pretty deep bass, which may please fans of bass-heavy music. There's also a graphic EQ and presets available in its companion app, meaning you can tweak its sound to your liking. While its body is only available in 'Black', the SOUNDBOKS 3 comes with an Allen key you can use to swap out its grille for other colors and designs. Unfortunately, there's a lot of compression at max volume, especially in the bass and treble ranges, so your audio may not sound as clean and clear during louder listening sessions.

Our Verdict

6.9 Music

The SOUNDBOKS 3 is alright for music. With its default settings enabled, it has a V-shaped sound profile that produces quite a deep bass, so you can feel the thump and rumble in bass-heavy music. The overemphasis in the mid and high bass can give the speaker a boomy quality, though this can muddy vocals and lead instruments. Its treble range is also slightly overemphasized, which may sometimes make those same vocals and instruments sound honky and harsh. Fortunately, there's a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Can produce low-bass.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • A lot of compression at max volume.
  • Poor soundstage performance.
6.1 Videos/Movies

The SOUNDBOKS 3 is passable for videos and movies. This speaker can get exceptionally loud and produces the thump and rumble in low-bass, which may please fans of action-packed movies. That said, it has middling directivity resulting in a narrow-sounding soundstage. It also downmixes stereo content to mono to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. Additionally, there's a lot of compression present at max volume, especially in the bass and treble ranges, so your audio may not sound as clean and clear during louder listening sessions.

Pros
  • Gets incredibly loud.
  • Can produce low-bass.
Cons
  • A lot of compression at max volume.
  • Poor soundstage performance.
6.8 Podcasts

The SOUNDBOKS 3 is okay for podcasts and can get outstandingly loud. While it has a pretty balanced mid-range, its boomy bass can muddy voices and dialogue. These same voices may also sound honky and harsh due to the overemphasis in the treble range. That said, there's a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It also isn't very portable due to its large size and heavy weight. Additionally, it doesn't have great directivity, so your audio may not sound very clear from all angles.

Pros
  • Gets incredibly loud.
  • Long battery life.
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • A lot of compression at max volume.
  • Isn't very portable.
  • Poor soundstage performance.
2.7 Voice Assistant

The SOUNDBOKS 3 doesn't support voice assistants.

6.3 Outdoors

The SOUNDBOKS 3 isn't bad for outdoor use. It's battery-powered, so you can take it outdoors with you without needing to look for a power outlet. While it doesn't have an IP rating and isn't water-resistant, the manufacturer claims the speaker's electrical parts are coated to comply with an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance and is designed to withstand some spills. That said, we don't currently test for this. It can also get incredibly loud, making it suitable for listening to music at large outdoor parties. However, there are many compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean during louder listening sessions.

Pros
  • Gets incredibly loud.
  • Long battery life.
  • Can produce low-bass.
Cons
  • A lot of compression at max volume.
  • Isn't very portable.
  • Poor soundstage performance.
  • 6.9 Music
  • 6.1 Videos/Movies
  • 6.8 Podcasts
  • 2.7 Voice Assistant
  • 6.3 Outdoors
  1. Updated Jul 22, 2021: We updated our review to provide more information regarding the speaker's maximum volume level.
  2. Updated Jul 14, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jul 08, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The SOUNDBOKS 3 is a large, rectangular party speaker with silicone rubber balls protecting its corners to absorb impact and reduce potential strain on the speaker's body. It has built-in handles on its sides you can use to carry it. While its body only comes in one color variant, 'Black', the manufacturer sells 'Black', 'White', 'Orange', 'Blue', and 'Artist Edition' grilles you can purchase if you want to change the color of your speaker's grille. Also, there's a hole built into the bottom of the speaker, which you can use to mount it to a pole or tripod, though these must be purchased separately.

5.4
Design
Portability
Volume
6,001 inÂł (98,337 cmÂł)
Weight
36.6 lbs (16.6 kg)
Power Source
AC & Battery
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The SOUNDBOKS 3 isn't very portable. Although it comes with built-in handles that you can use to carry the speaker with one hand, it may still feel too heavy for some users. It's also battery-powered, so you can take it outdoors with you without needing to plug it into an outlet. That said, it also comes with an AC power cord you can use to operate the speaker while its removable battery is charging.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
No
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The SOUNDBOKS 3's build quality isn't bad. The manufacturer claims it's made of Poplar plywood and coated with plastic. Its protective grille is made of powder-coated steel, and you can switch it out for different colors using the included Allen key. There are silicone balls on each of the speaker's corners to absorb any impact and reduce strain on the speaker's body. That said, it isn't rated for impact resistance, and we don't currently test for this. The manufacturer also claims its internal electrical components and parts are coated to comply with an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, so it should withstand some spills. That said, it doesn't have an IP rating since dust and water can still enter the product through some holes like its bass reflex port. We also don't currently 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 SOUNDBOKS 3 has a limited selection of controls. They're relatively easy to use and feel clicky when pressed. It has a power button and a volume knob with lights around it to indicate your volume level on a scale from zero to 11 that subtly clicks as you turn it. There's also SOLO/HOST/JOIN button you can use to change the speaker's connection. You can set the speaker to SOLO when you want to use it on its own. The HOST setting allows the speaker to control up to four separate Gen. 3 speakers wirelessly. If you want your SOUNDBOKS 3 to connect to another host speaker, you can use the JOIN function and the BOND button located on its rear.

If you want to connect the SOUNDBOKS 3 to even more speakers, you can connect host speakers via their AUX ports. This will enable your host speaker to connect to the speakers that are connected to other hosts.

Design
In The Box

  • SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) speaker
  • SOUNDBOKS charger
  • BETTERYBOKS battery
  • Power Cable (US)
  • Power Cable (Europe)
  • AC Power
  • Allen key (For front grille)
  • Welcome pamphlet
  • Warranty information for SOUNDBOKS speaker
  • Warranty information for BATTERYBOKS battery
  • Warranty information for charger
  • 3x SOUNDBOKS stickers

Sound
7.8
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.15
Std. Err.
4.66 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
28.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.9 kHz

The SOUNDBOKS 3's frequency response accuracy is very good. It has a V-shaped sound profile that can produce pretty deep bass, so you can feel the thump and rumble in the low-bass, which may please fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop and EDM. The overemphasis in the mid and high bass range gives it a boomy quality, though this may muddy the vocals and instruments in your audio. Also, the overemphasis in the treble range can make those same vocals and instruments sound honky and harsh at times. That said, its SOUNDBOKS companion app comes with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to adjust the speaker's sound to your liking.

Note: Our sound tests were conducted with the speaker placed vertically, its default 'POWER' EQ preset enabled, and its 'Solo' and 'Mono' settings turned on.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
4.6
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
6.43 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The SOUNDBOKS 3 has a poor soundstage performance. It has disappointing directivity, so you may perceive its soundstage as directional and narrow-sounding. It also has to downmix stereo content to mono, which doesn't sound as immersive. That said, you can pair it to compatible speakers to create a stereo pair and select the channel each speaker plays using the SOUNDBOKS app. However, while the app allows you to choose between the left, mono, and right channels, we could only make the speaker play the left and right channels successfully in our tests. If you're looking for a party speaker with a better soundstage performance, check out the Sony XB90.

6.5
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
110.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
6.95 dB

Update 07/22/2021: We retested this speaker to see if it could reach the advertised max volume of 126dB. While there have been no changes to our initial test results, we've updated the text to provide extra information regarding this.

The SOUNDBOKS 3 has fair dynamics. This speaker can get incredibly loud, making it well-suited for large parties. That said, there are a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume, especially in the bass and higher treble ranges, so your audio may not sound as clean and clear at louder volume settings.

Note: The manufacturer advertises that the speaker can reach a max volume level of up to 126dB. That said, with our test phone and the SOUNDBOKS playing at max volume, the speaker would only reach 110dB in our tests. We also ran the speaker at max volume for over 15 minutes to see if its volume level would automatically adjust to 126dB, and have also tested it from different distances, though the max volume reached remained 110dB. We're currently unsure what source, audio, or method the manufacturer used to get it to reach the advertised max volume level. We'll update our review if our test results change.

Active Features
7.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
43.8 hrs
Charge Time
2.2 hrs
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
AC

The SOUNDBOKS 3 has a decent battery performance. Its removable, rechargeable battery lasts an incredible 43.8 hours from a single charge, though battery performance can depend on your usage habits, and your real-world experience may differ. You can also power the speaker using its AC power and charge the battery simultaneously.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Assistant
Ambient Noise Performance
No Assistant
7.9
Active Features
App
App Name
SOUNDBOKS
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Graphic + Presets
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The SOUNDBOKS 3's companion app is great. It comes with a graphic EQ and 'BASS+', 'POWER', and 'INDOOR' presets, so you can adjust its sound to your liking. You can also use the app to connect it to another compatible speaker to create a stereo pair or to up to four other speakers when you want your audio to fill a large space without increasing the volume.

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

Aside from its power port, the SOUNDBOKS 3 has an AUX input, and output which you can use to wire your devices to the speaker. There are two XLR ports you can use to connect an external microphone, guitar, DJ mixer, or other instruments.

7.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Bluetooth iOS Latency
94 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
111 ms
Bluetooth Range
223.1 ft (68.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

The SOUNDBOKS 3 has good Bluetooth connectivity. It has decently low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching movies and videos, though some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary. Unfortunately, you can only pair the SOUNDBOKS 3 to one device at a time, which can be inconvenient if you need to switch between audio sources.

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 SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3)'s body only comes in one color variant, 'Black'. You can find the labels for the model we tested here and here. That said, the manufacturer currently sells 'Black', 'Orange', 'White', 'Blue', and some 'Artist Edition' protective grilles you can choose from when you purchase your speaker or when you want to change the color of its grille. We expect these variants to perform similarly to the one we tested.

If you come across other variants of this speaker, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) is one of the loudest speakers we've tested so far. It can also produce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass, which may please some fans of bass-heavy music. That said, there are many compression artifacts present at max volume that can affect the clarity of your audio at louder volumes, especially in the bass and treble ranges. Much like other party speakers we've tested, you can connect an external microphone, guitar, or other instruments to the SOUNDBOKS 3. You can even connect it to your DJ mixer. Also, its battery is removable, rechargeable, and can last over 43 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage.

Check out our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers for bass, and the best waterproof speakers.

JBL PartyBox 310

The JBL PartyBox 310 is a better speaker than the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) overall. The JBL is more portable, has a better-balanced sound profile, and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It also has fewer compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volume settings. The SOUNDBOKS can produce deeper bass, can get louder, and is more customizable than the JBL.

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

You may prefer either the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM or the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) depending on your listening habits. The Ultimate Ears is smaller and more portable than the SOUNDBOKS. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and offers a wider-sounding soundstage. It also has significantly less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. That said, the SOUNDBOKS is a large party speaker that can get much louder. It can also produce a more extended low-bass, so you can feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music.

JBL PartyBox 100

The JBL PartyBox 100 is a somewhat better speaker than the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) overall, though they have different strengths. The JBL can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has a wider-sounding soundstage than the SOUNDBOKS. It also has significantly less compression present at max volume. That said, the SOUNDBOKS can get much louder than the JBL and is more customizable, thanks to the graphic EQ and presets available on its companion app.

JBL PartyBox 300

The JBL PartyBox 300 and the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) are similar speakers, though they have different strengths. The JBL has significantly fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio during louder listening sessions. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. However, the SOUNDBOKS can get louder and can produce a deeper low-bass than the JBL. It also comes with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

JBL Boombox 2

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) or the JBL Boombox 2. The JBL is smaller and is much more portable than the SOUNDBOKS, making it more convenient when you're on the move. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has less compression at max volume. That said, the SOUNDBOKS is more customizable than the JBL and is one of the loudest speakers we've tested so far. This party speaker can also last an outstanding 43.8 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage.

Sony XP700

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3) or the Sony XP700. The SOUNDBOKS can produce much deeper bass than the Sony and can get significantly louder. It can also last over 43 hours from a single charge, though this depends on your usage. That said, the Sony can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. It has significantly fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volume settings. It also has RGB light, which you can customize in its companion app.

Sony XB72

The Sony XB72 is a slightly better speaker than the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3), though they have different strengths. The Sony offers a more immersive soundstage and has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. That said, the SOUNDBOKS can get much louder and is more portable than the Sony. It also has an incredible battery life, though this can depend on your usage. 

Sony XB90

Depending on your preferences, you may prefer either The Sony XB90 or the SOUNDBOKS (Gen. 3). The SOUNDBOKS can get much louder and can produce deeper bass than the Sony. It also has an outstanding battery life and can last over 43 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage. The Sony has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It also has customizable RGB lights and is compatible with the Fiestable app, which allows you to control extra party features of this speaker.

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