JBL Boombox 3 Review

by wanderingted

and The Greatest Song Team

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Overview: JBL Boombox 3 Review

JBL Boombox 3

OUR RATING:

3.5

(out of 5)

Specs

  • Dimensions: 482 X 257 X 200mm
  • Frequency Range – 40 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Weight: 6.7 kg (14.7 lbs)
  • 2 tweeters, 2 midrange drivers, 1 subwoofer
  • Inputs: 3.5mm TRS, USB-A, AC
  • Bluetooth 5.3, SBC Codec
  • JBL Portable App (IOS/Android)

Pros

  • IP67 rated – can be submerged under water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes without damage
  • Loud!
  • Decent battery life (24 hours)

Cons

  • Sound is okay
  • Heavy

Bottom Line:

An IP67-rated (seriously durable) speaker with excellent volume output. At the current price point, however, competitors like the Sony SRS-XG500 or the Bang & Olufsen A1 offer better value.

jbl boombox 3

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Introducing the JBL Boombox 3

Bluetooth speakers, like headphones, have become specialized. Some are meant to replace indoor wired hifi speakers, some are for travel, and some, like the JBL Boombox 3, are for beach parties.

We tested the JBL Boombox 3 and compared it to other durable, battery-powered Bluetooth speakers. Does it hold up to the competition?

See here for all of our speaker, headphone, and other audio gear reviews.

Who is the JBL Boombox 3 for?

The JBL Boombox 3 is for anyone in search of a durable portable bluetooth speaker ideal for outdoor parties or worksites. Rated IP67, it is dustproof and waterproof.

JBL Boombox 3 front view

Who is the JBL Boombox 3 NOT for?

This speaker is not ideal if you’re looking for serious hifi sound. Using only the SBC Bluetooth Codec, with a frequency response of 40 Hz -20kHz, and battery powered, this machine is not built to compete with indoor Bluetooth speakers like the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series.

Alternatives to the JBL Boombox 3

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ (Series II)

Our favorite sound from a portable Bluetooth speaker, IP55-rated.

Bose Soundlink Revolve Series ii

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Bang & Olufsen A1

Excellent sound for an IP67-rated Speaker. A Serious Competitor.

Bang and Olufsen A1

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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

Another great option from B&O – great price, good sound, IP67-rated

Bang and Olufsen Beosound

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Sony SRS-XG500

A serious competitor. Good volume output, decent sound and IP66-rated.

Sony SRS XG500 1

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JBL Xtreme 3

A bit more affordable version of the Boombox 3. Also IP67-rated.

JBL Xtreme 3

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Build

The JBL Boombox 3 is a solid metal and rubber cylinder with silicone grips and water/dustproof fabric. It comes in black or camouflage.

The speakers include two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and one subwoofer. The ends vibrate in a satisfying way with your music like the cone of a speaker driver. 

JBL Boombox 3 outside
With its IP67 rating, the JBL Boombox 3 almost likes rainy days.

If portability is a priority, you should be aware that the build of the JBL Boombox 3 is on the heavy side. Weighing in at 6.7 kg (14.7 lbs), it is one of the heaviest Bluetooth speakers on the market.  

The Boombox 3 uses Bluetooth 5.3 and supports the SBC codec only.  

We tested the Boombox 3 with Android and IOS. It connected seamlessly without any dropout issues. 

According to JBL, the Boombox 3 can connect to up to two devices at the same time. In our tests, this only worked some of the time. We hope they iron out the wrinkles in the next firmware update.

The back rubber flap seals tightly, concealing the inputs and outputs which include the AC, USB-A, and 3.5mm TRS ports.  

JBL Boombox 3 inputs outputs
The Inputs and Outputs of the JBL Boombox 3. Sealed (top), Open (bottom)

Waterproof and Dustproof

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the JBL Boombox 3 is how incredibly durable it is. It has an IP rating of IP67.  

Achieving such a rating is no small achievement. This means it is dust-tight and can be completely submerged underwater up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes without damage!

Of course, you will need to make sure that the rear rubber flap on the inputs and outputs is sealed tight before testing out this rating.  

The rating also means that you can hose it down if it’s looking a bit mucky.  

What is an IP Rating?

Terms like ‘waterproof’ or ‘dustproof’ can mean a lot of things. To clarify what a manufacturer means when they use such terms, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) created the IP code or Ingress protection code. 

IP ratings typically have IP followed by two numbers. The first number indicates the level of protection against solids, ranging from larger solids (like fingers) to smaller solids (like dust ). The solid range is from 0-6, 0 being no protection, and 6 being dust-tight. 

The second number indicates the level of protection against liquids, ranging from drops of water to full immersion and high-pressure water jets. The liquid range is 0-9.

An ‘X’ indicates that there is insufficient data for that category. For example, IPX7 means the device is not dustproof, but it is level 7 waterproof.

(Level 7 means the device can be submerged in water up to 1 meter deep. Levels 8 and 9 go further, with protection under deeper waters or against high pressure water jets)

Sound

The JBL Boombox 3 is built for work sites and outdoor parties.  

Designed for durability and simply pumping out the volume, this Bluetooth speaker is not for audiophiles. The mids are veiled, the treble zings and the bass lacks the very bottom from 10-40 Hz.

An upgrade from the Boombox 2 is the additional subwoofer. With a frequency range of 40 Hz – 20 kHz, however, the felt frequencies of the sub-bass from 10-40 Hz are absent with the Boombox 3.  

But all of this is beside the point. You’re not expecting lightning-fast transient response or transparent acoustic glory from a portable speaker that you can dunk in a lake.

But the Boombox 3 does its job in terms of sound: it is loud, and it provides good enough sound for any party. 

To give you enough volume, it has impressive power from its battery source. Plugged in, the JBL Boombox 3 will give you 80 watts for the subwoofer channel, 40 watts for the midrange channel, and 10 watts for each tweeter. Using the battery, the speaker has 60 watts for the subwoofer channel, 30 watts for the midrange channel, and 8 watts for each tweeter channel.

If you’re looking for a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker and sound is your priority, we recommend the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ (Series II).

Battery Life

The battery of the JBL Boombox 3 has an average life of 24 hours from full to empty. It takes 6.5 hours to charge from empty to full.

The other JBL Bluetooth speakers give a bit less: the JBL Charge 5 gives you 20 hours, with a 4-hour charge to full and the JBL Extreme 3 gives you 15 hours, with a 2.5-hour charge to full.

In the chart below, you can see how the JBL Boombox measures up to its competitors in terms of battery life.

Battery Life of Portable Bluetooth Speakers Compared

Battery Life Portable Bluetooth Speakers Comparison Table
Average battery life of Portable Bluetooth Speakers as stated by the manufacturer

JBL Boombox 3 App

The JBL Portable App allows you to update the firmware of your boombox, adjust EQ, and check the remaining battery life. We tested it out on Android and IOS and everything worked as it should.

The three-band EQ is sufficient for your needs with this machine. Given that you’re not dealing with the intricate sounds of hi-fi, especially outdoors, three bands will do.

With the PartyBoost Mode, you can link to other JBL speakers or create a stereo speaker set-up, with separate left and right channels for each speaker.

How is the JBL Boombox 3 different from the JBL Boombox 2?

As you might imagine, the JBL Boombox 3 is the follow-up to the JBL Boombox 2. For about $100 USD cheaper (depending on current sale pricing), you can get the Boombox 2, a similar, durable speaker.

The main difference is the added subwoofer which gives the Boombox 3 notably more bass response. The Boombox 2 has a frequency response of 50 Hz – 20 kHz and the Boombox 3 has a 40 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response range.

They are both about the same size with the Boombox 3 being about 2.5 lbs heavier.  

Another major upgrade with the Boombox 3 is that it is absolutely dust-tight, making it ideal for worksites and DIY projects. The Boombox 2 offered no dustproof rating whatsoever.  

Verdict: Is the JBL Boombox 3 Worth it?

JBL Boombox 3

jbl boombox 3

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The JBL Boombox offers more raw volume than most of its competitors and it is as durable as any speaker out there. The overall sound quality it delivers is sufficient for outdoor use.

At its current price point, however, it is difficult to recommend over its competitors. The JBL Xtreme 3 offers better value for a similar product.

For those who just want a budget-friendly, super-portable device, the IP67-rated JBL Flip 6 is definitely worth considering. (See here for our comparison of the JBL FLip 5 and Flip 6)

Bang & Olufsen offer IP67-rated devices with better sound (at a lower volume) in the Beosound A1 or the Beosound Explore. And the Sony SRS-XG500 offers similar volume output at a lower price.

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