JBL Boombox 3 WiFi Review Portable Speaker With Chromecast

Friday, August 11, 2023

Meet the ultimate party-starter, the new JBL Boombox 3 Wifi - a thunderous speaker with mind-blowing sound! Buckle up as we dive into the heart-pounding review of the Boombox 3 Wifi!

The latest addition to JBL's lineup, the Boombox 3 Wifi, reimagines the iconic 1980s boombox with a modern twist. Echoing the legacy of its predecessor, recognized for its characteristic size and dual cassette decks, the Boombox 3 Wifi stays true to the essence of portable, top-notch sound. However, it seamlessly integrates cutting-edge technology, making your audio experience more adaptable and user-friendly. In this rendition, the Boombox 3 Wifi embraces Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity, enabling wireless playback of digital music files from your smartphone.

Weighing in at nearly 7kg, the heft of the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi is noticeable when carrying it by hand. While the weight might be considered a downside, given that the speaker is targeted towards a younger demographic, this might not pose a concern. Nevertheless, it could have been advantageous if the inclusion of a shoulder strap had been considered, enhancing the ease of transporting it.

The Boombox 3 Wifi offers the option to connect it to an AC power outlet or operate it independently using the built-in 9600mAh lithium-ion battery. This battery can provide approximately 20 hours of playback time when streaming audio at standard resolution and 65% volume. However, it's important to note that battery life is notably shorter when streaming high-resolution audio through 3D Dolby Atmos. Notably, the speaker doesn't support AAC codec or aptX codecs. To recharge the Boombox 3 Wifi, you can conveniently plug in the provided AC power cable, and it will fully charge in approximately 4.5 hours. An added benefit is that you can continue enjoying your music while the speaker is charging.

The design of the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi bears a resemblance to  JBL's Charge 5 Tomorrowland limited edition, but in a larger form factor. Notably, the Boombox 3 Wifi adopts a predominantly plastic construction, complemented by a textured fabric mesh and rubberized edges. Its base is equipped with rubber strips, preventing any unintended rolling. The dimensions span 45cm in length, with a body diameter of 17cm. The body showcases a unique tapering, wider at the center and tapering towards the sides, with a diameter of approximately 15cm. The handle measures 38cm in length, 3.5cm in width, and features a 3cm gap for a comfortable grip. Tipping the scales at 6.8kg, it strikes a balance between portability and substantial presence.

Both the JBL logo and the handle exhibit plastic construction. The handle, imprinted with the Boombox insignia, boasts a top layer of thick rubber strips, facilitating a comfortable and secure grip when carrying the speaker. Concealing the AC power port and USB-A charge-out port is a sturdy rubber cover, a design that contributes to the speaker's IP67 waterproof and dustproof certification, enabling it to endure submersion in water for up to 30 minutes.

On the speaker's interface, you'll encounter six physical buttons that control volume, track navigation, Bluetooth pairing, and the power functions. These buttons are coated in rubber for tactile responsiveness. Meanwhile, the remaining buttons, constructed from plastic, are raised. Positioned below the JBL logo, a sizable white LED light serves as a visual indicator for Bluetooth connectivity.

In addition to its audio playback capabilities, the internal battery of the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi boasts a "charge-out" feature. This transforms it into a versatile and pragmatic 10-watt power bank, efficiently charging USB devices (with a maximum of 5V/2A). While the Boombox 3 Wifi doesn't inherently offer native voice assistant support, it can be seamlessly paired with a Google smart speaker or an Alexa speaker, enabling voice control functionalities.

On the subject of smart features, the Boombox 3 Wifi seamlessly integrates with Chromecast, allowing you to directly stream music from a variety of streaming applications, including but not limited to Alexa, Tidal, and Spotify.

Introducing another impressive innovation, the JBL Boombox 3 Wifi comes equipped with Adaptive Audio – a feature not commonly found in most portable speakers. This unique capability empowers the Boombox 3 Wifi to autonomously fine-tune its audio output based on its surroundings. Achieving this feat are two strategically positioned microphones that gather environmental data, encompassing factors such as room dimensions, furniture layout, wall structures, and potential echoes. The collected audio data undergoes intricate processing within the Boombox 3 Wifi's internal algorithms, leading to meticulous adjustments in the audio output.

What truly sets the Adaptive Audio feature apart is its real-time functionality. It operates in a continuous manner, diligently monitoring the environment and promptly implementing audio optimizations. This dynamic responsiveness guarantees that the audio output maintains its prime quality, even if you relocate the speaker to a different area. The Boombox 3 Wifi's Adaptive Audio seamlessly adapts to the new surroundings, ensuring an optimal auditory experience.

The audio performance of the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi stands out for its exceptional quality, delivering an expansive soundstage accompanied by immersive bass, potent vocal presence, and crisp treble. The speaker's ability to distinguish between various sound elements surpasses that of smaller Bluetooth counterparts, showcasing remarkable clarity and precision. This achievement is attributed to the inclusion of a substantial subwoofer, two mid-range drivers, and two tweeters that cohesively blend to perfection.

The default sound signature can be fine-tuned to personal preferences via the JBL One app, offering options to adjust bass, mid, and treble settings. However, it's worth noting that the EQ lacks specific frequency band customization, which slightly limits the extent of sound customization possible. Furthermore, through the JBL One app, you can conveniently monitor Wi-Fi strength and access streaming services like Tidal, although it's important to note that certain services may necessitate a separate subscription (not included). While the JBL One app offers an array of features, it's worth mentioning that button remapping functionality is not supported within its interface.

In AC Mode:
  • The subwoofer has an output power of 80 watts (W) in RMS.
  • There are two midrange drivers, each with an output power of 40 watts (W) in RMS.
  • There are also two tweeters, each with an output power of 20 watts (W) in RMS.

In Battery Mode:
  • The subwoofer has an output power of 60 watts (W) in RMS.
  • There are two midrange drivers, each with an output power of 30 watts (W) in RMS.
  • There are also two tweeters, each with an output power of 10 watts (W) in RMS.

The JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi is a stunning powerhouse of audio perfect for indoor and outdoor use. While the subscription requirement might be a point of contention, and its size may not suit everyone's needs, the overall benefits such as Wifi and Adaptive Audio make it a worthy investment. The Adaptive Audio feature essentially makes the JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi more versatile and adaptable to various settings. It's particularly useful when you're unsure about where to place the speaker for the best sound quality or when you're transitioning between indoor and outdoor environments. By fine-tuning the audio output based on the surroundings, the speaker aims to provide an immersive and enjoyable listening experience regardless of the setting.

Selling points
  • Deep and powerful bass
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Dual mid-range drivers and dual tweeters
  • Wi-Fi streaming and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Seamless switching between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Generous 24-hour battery life
  • Suitable for indoor & outdoor use
  • Passthrough audio in bluetooth mode
  • Compatible with AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room Music,  and Spotify Connect.
  • Hi-res Wifi audio via 3D Dolby Atmos
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating
  • Durable & rugged
  • Doubles as a portable power bank for charging external devices
  • Self adjusting sound output based on surroundings
  • User-Friendly Control
  • Chromecast built-in
  • JBL One app support with EQ customization
  • Eco-friendly construction with recycled materials for the speaker grille and packaging

Potential deal breakers
  • 3D Dolby Atmos only works via a paid streaming service such as Spotify
  • Bulky and heavy
  • No built-in mic for calls
  • No wired audio
  • No AAC codec support
    No quick charge
  • No carry shoulder strap
  • No speakerphone functionality
  • No voice assistant functionality
  • Basic EQ limits sound customization
  • Bluetooth indicator light flickering while audio is playing
Included in the package is a 2-meter long AC power cord with a power rating of 250V/5A. You can buy the Boombox 3 Wifi from JBL and amazon

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