Saturday, June 18, 2016

JBL Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

It’s summer time! Usually that means it’s time to head to the pool! It is nice to take a dip and cool off, but it’s a lot more fun to hit the pool when you have some tunes. Enter the JBL Extreme. It’s a wireless speaker that is also water resistant, so it’s safe around your pool.

Features and specs:
·         Bluetooth Wireless Streaming
·         10,000mAh high capacity rechargeable battery
·         Speakerphone
·         Splashproof
·         JBL Connect
·         JBL Bass Radiator
·         Audio Specifications
·         Signal-to-Noise Ratio
·         80 dB
·         Frequency Response
·         70Hz – 20kHz
·         Speaker Specifications
·         Transducer
·         Woofer 2 x 63 mm
·         Dimensions
·         Height
·         126mm
·         Width
·         283mm
·         Depth
·         122mm
·         Weight·          
·         2112g

The JBL Extreme came in a nice printed box with photos of the speaker and its specs and features. Opening the box revealed a well protected device held in place in custom sized Styrofoam. Pulling out the speaker, I was extremely impressed! It felt like a Tank, being very well made. It appeared to be mostly plastic with some rubber, and a blue cloth knit kind of cover. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. It’s JBL’s premium portable Bluetooth speaker, and it shows. The speakers are hidden underneath the blue cloth, except for a passive radiator that can be seen on each end. Also included is the owner's manual, charging cord and shoulder strap.

I love the clean, simple look of the JBL Xtreme. It’s a blue cloth covered cylinder, with the controls on top. Also on top are the loops to attach the shoulder strap for taking the Xtreme on the go. Also on the back are the connections for power, auxiliary in, multiple USB ports, and a service port. All of these connections sit behind a water resistant zipper. It isn’t waterproof, but it appears JBL takes it’s being water resistant seriously.

I also noticed it is a completely sealed system. Pushing in one of the passive radiators caused the other one to push out. JBL apparently cut a lot of thought into its design. After all, the amazing look is not worth much if it doesn’t sound good. But I have a feeling JBL managed to do some audio wizardry in the JBL Xtreme. Let’s see if I’m right.

The JBL Xtreme did not disappoint with its sound!  And syncing it with my HTC One M9 was very simple. It sounded very natural with everything I threw at it.  Journey: Don't Stop Believing provided lots of energy and texture in the vocals, keyboard sounded natural.  Percussion was crisp and the kick drum had nice impact.  Michael Jackson: Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, percussion was crisp and clean with great dynamics.  Vocals were silky smooth with excellent harmonics.  There are A LOT of different instruments in this track, and they all come thru loud and clear. Kick drum had nice impact and low end extension and output.  No Doubt: Hella Good, had very good impact and kick in the kick drum, that played with good authority.  Purcussion was very dynamic and crisp and clean.  Stefani's vocals sounded natural and sexy as they should.  I had to do a double take look at the passive radiators.  They were really working, with in and out excursion.  If I didn't know any better I would think they were actively powered bass drivers.  It provided great bass output for its size.  And to test the other side of the spectrum I turned to Fresh Aire II: Going to Another Place.  The percussion was really crisp with excellent dynamics.  Piano sounded really natural, and the flute was really clean with good air.  Imaging was good.

I'm still floored with the great sound that came out of the JBL Extreme.  It's designed to be outdoor friendly and pool friendly with its splashproof rating.  The included shoulder straps make it portable.  And not only does it get sufficiently loud, it does so with great sound!  JBL also managed to through in some additional great features, like the ability to use it as a speakerphone, and the 10,000mAh battery that can be used to charge your cellphone.  On top of that it is well made to provide years of use.   The $299 MSRP is a good price.  Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the JBL Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker has earned our Editor's Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at