JBL Go 3 Eco Review Versus Original Go 3 Bluetooth Speaker

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

 JBL's new Go 3 Eco bluetooth speaker is a palm size, pocketable hifi system! It has a quirky design that resembles a bar soap so, you can comfortably grab it and hook it anywhere like a bike handlebar or shower.

The JBL Go 3 Eco is an upgrade of the original Go 3 speaker. It has the same squarish contour and curved top with a flat bottom and sides. There is a thick lanyard cord built-in on the side with a thin rubber finger sleeve for added grip. 
Next to the lanyard cord, there is a dual purpose USB-C port for charging and audio. On the opposite side, there is a status led, GO3 branding (rubberized) and two physical buttons with a hard press (non-clicky) actuation. On top of the speaker, you find 3 more physical buttons imprinted with a raised plastic symbol, making them easy to locate. The top buttons are also non-clicky with a hard press actuation to prevent accidental presses. On the front of the Go 3 Eco speaker, there is a large JBL branding made also of rubber.

The Go 3 Eco speaker shell is covered in coarse braid fabric and rubberized side panels and features a large "vibration pad" on the backside. The vibration pad is made of thick PU leather (non-grippy) and, it's a feature designed for the beach that allows the Go 3 Eco speaker to vibrate sand around. This feature also works on a table top, making the speaker skid on a desk (see video). The vibration effect only works at 100% volume and with bass tracks. The vibration effect can't be disabled but you can stop it by putting the speaker upright on the anti-slip rubber strip.
 The JBL Go 3 Eco speaker is equipped with a full range driver (4W RMS output), bluetooth 5.1 chip and a 750mAh rechargeable battery, which takes 2.5 hours to charge and can deliver around 5 hours of playtime at 50% volume. If you listen to non-bass audio, you can increase battery life a lot more. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack but the USB-C charging port is dual purpose for both charging and wired audio. The only drawback with this design is that you can't charge the JBL GO3 in wired mode.
Dimensions are 8.5cm long x 7.5cm wide x 4cm thick. The lanyard cord is 3.5cm long. Total weight is 205 grams. Connecting the JBL Go 3 Eco speaker is just as easy as pairing bluetooth earbuds. The bluetooth status led doesn't flash but stays lit up when playing audio. 
The "Eco" part refers to the eco-friendly recycled materials the new Eco 3 Eco is made of, and the sustainable paper packaging. Compared to the original Eco 3, they're both virtually the same speaker. Same weight, dimensions, battery life, sound, hardware and specs, except for the eco-friendly materials and wired mode which is only supported by the Go 3 Eco. 

The sound is the same - balanced sound with tight punchy bass and boosted highs with a clear vocal/instrument midrange - similar to the new JBL Clip 4 Eco. The volume level is really amazing. The the JBL Go 3 Eco easily punches above its weight class, although it doesn't support JBL PartyBoost mode.
Potential deal breakers 
  • Non-detachable lanyard cord
  • Exposed USB-C port 
  • No AAC codec
  • No 3.5mm aux port
  • Cannot be charged in wired mode
  • No male to male USB-C cable included for wired audio
  • Not available in as many colorways as the original Go 3
  • No multipoint
  • No PartyBoost support
  • No built-in mic for calls 
  • No quick charge

Selling points for JBL Go 3 Eco
  • IP67 rated - dust and waterproof
  • Durable button switches
  • Rugged
  • Wired and wireless audio - the original Go 3 only supports wireless audio
  • Loud volume
  • Long battery life
  • Max volume beep alert
  • Similar priced to the original Go 3
  • USB-C charging
  • Tight punchy bass
  • USB-C wired audio
  • Passthrough audio whilst charging
  • Lightweight
  • Small and compact
  • Absolute bluetooth volume support
Accessories included are a JBL-branded USB-C cable USB-A to USB-C (30cm long) for charging. There is no male to male USB-C cable included for audio. You can buy the JBL Go 3 Eco from JBL's website and amazon.

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