Sunday, February 18, 2018

JBL Boombox Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

I enjoy spending time outdoors. Including music makes it even better. But since weather plays a factor, being waterproof helps. Up for review today is the JBL Boombox. As with the old school boombox, the JBL Boombox is portable to take your tunes on the go. Unlike the boomboxes of old, it’s also waterproof, so no worries regardless of the weather.

Features and specs:
General Specifications
Frequency response:  (50Hz-20kHz)
Signal-to-noise ratio:  80dB
Music playing time:  up to 24 hours (Varies by volume level and music content)
Weight:  5.25kg
Support:  A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6, HFP 1.6
Power supply:  20V/4A
Dimensions:  (H x W x D)254.5 x 495 x 195.5mm
Transducers:  4-inch woofer x 2, 20mm Tweeter x 2
Control and Connection Specifications
Bluetooth version:  4.2
Bluetooth transmitter power:  0-9dBm
Bluetooth transmitter frequency range:  2.402GHz-2.480GHz
Bluetooth transmitter modulation:  GFSK, 8DPSK, π/4DQPSK
Battery charge time:  <6 .5="" hours="" o:p="">
Battery type:  Lithium-ion Ploymer (74Wh)

The JBL Boombox came in a nice looking color printed box, with photos and features of the boombox. Opening the box revealed the product well protected in custom molded Styrofoam. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic, with some rubber, cloth and metal. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. The JBL Boombox is a premium product, and it shows! It is extremely well made, and feels very solid! The JBL Boombox should give years of use.

I love the design of the JBL Boombox, with its smooth lines and cloth wrap. On top are just a few buttons for controls. On the back under a panel that provides a tight water seal, are the connections for charging cord, as well as a micro USB service port, 2 USB ports and an analog 3.5 mm audio port. So it’s ready for any weather it may encounter. The IPX7 rating is good for rain, or small dips up to 3 feet.  So just don’t drop it in the pool.

The JBL Boombox is good for music, and more. Up in the mountains, but realized that you forgot to charge your phone? No worries, as long as you have a charger cord. The JBL Boombox has a built-in 20,000 mAh battery, which is huge! So it’s good for 24 hours worth of playing time, or a combination of play time and charging. Which brings us to the use of the USB ports – charging your cell phone or tablet. For music, the JBL Boombox has you covered via Bluetooth, or an analog 3.5 mm port. So for your older music devices, just make sure you have a 3.5 mm analog cable.

So far, I’ve been really impressed with the JBL Boombox. Having reviewed many JBL products in the past, I know what to expect from JBL and their quality. And the JBL Boombox holds true to their storied tradition. I was also pleased to see stereo tweeters and woofers, and I love the look of the two large passive radiators on each end. Add to that the ability to connect to another JBL wireless speakers through JBL Boombox is spades. The next question is how well does it sound?

To test the sound quality of the JBL Boombox, I threw a wide gambit of songs from different genre. From Pavarotti, to Foreigner, to ZZ Top, to Michael Jackson, New Order, Katy Perry, Christina Perri, and Mannheim Steamroller. The JBL Boombox got a serious workout, with the wide gambit of music I threw at it. In the spirit of the winter Olympics that we are currently in the middle of, I’ll put it this way. It would be like a figure skater landing double quads, or a snowboarder landing a 1620 on the half pipe. The highs, mids, and bass all performed amazingly.

With the music selection, I wanted to test vocals, instruments, and bass response. Vocals were silky smooth, very transparent to the source from my HTC One M9 Smartphone, and had nice texture and harmonics. Percussion was crisp and clean with good resolution, and dynamics. Flute was smooth with good air. Piano sounded very natural. The bass was tight and clean with punchy fast beats. And when the bass got deep, it still played clean and with authority. There was also good channel separation, providing a nice stereo aural imaging. The JBL Boombox had plenty of power, and only showed slight strain when it was played at max volume.

When it came to the Bluetooth performance, the JBL Boombox continued to impress.  Having a 2 story home with a basement, I really tested it's range.  I had it on the main floor, and walked around downstairs, and also walked all around upstairs, and never a hiccup.  So I decided to push it a little further and set it in the basement, and played it full blast.  Walking upstairs to the main problem.  And then walking all around on the 2nd floor...still not a single hiccup!  Now I was really curious.  Setting it outside at the end of my driveway, I started to walk down the street.  155 feet later, I lost the signal.  Amazing!

To sum things up, the JBL Boombox JBL nailed it! The JBL Boombox is built like a tank, is waterproof, easy to carry, and has enough power to play your tunes and charge your smartphone or tablet. And when it comes to playing your tunes, your music will come out loud and clear like you are used to it sounding, with excellent Bluetooth performance. And boy can it play loud! It has enough power to fill either your room, backyard, or campsite with clean sound. Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the JBL Boombox has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. If you like music, and the outdoors, you need to check out the JBL Boombox. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at