I Used a JBL Go — I’m Surprised at How Much Abuse it Took


I Used a JBL Go — I’m Surprised at How Much Abuse it Took

I remember buying my JBL Go a couple of years ago and thinking that I would have to replace it before too long. The biggest sign that gave me this idea was the price. What surprised me, is that it is still kicking today, even after putting up with more than a bit of abuse from me.

There are a lot of portable speakers on the market these days. Their quality ranges drastically, but typically, it’s not that hard to find a decent portable speaker for a fraction of the cost compared to what you are probably expecting. You could easily find a great portable speaker for less than $100.

The JBL Go 3 is what I ended up on — I needed something that could put up with plenty of abuse while still sounding great. Now, I’ll dive in to show you all the pros and cons so you can determine whether or not it’s a good match for you. It’s extremely impressive for its size and price point, so let’s look a bit deeper.

JBL Go Portable Speaker: Best Deal Today

Best Overall
JBL Go 3: Portable Speaker
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof
  • Up to 5 hours of playtime on a single charge
  • Ultra-portable design
  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 10:26 am GMT

JBL Go 3 Portable Speaker: Here’s What Stood Out

The market for portable Bluetooth speakers is significantly better than what it was a few years ago. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming; the looming threat of getting scammed in the name of a supposed good deal always hangs over consumers’ heads.

Thankfully, there are more good options out there than bad ones, and the JBL Go 3 definitely is better categorized as the former.

A few major points stood out exceptionally well, especially when compared to its competitors. Picking apart core details to analyze the product’s worthiness could help you make a decision, so I’ve taken the time to look at individual aspects of it. 

JBL Go design
The JBL Go 3 sports a simple design, with mesh fabric over a hard rubber shell, offering all the protection you need to take it anywhere.


Frankly, hardcore Bluetooth speakers don’t have the best reputation for being nice to look at when they’re made to sustain tough conditions. Waterproof Bluetooth speakers have a tendency to be rather hard on the eyes, but this one isn’t. It’s simple, sleek, and easy to keep out of sight if that’s your preferred method. Plus, it comes in a bunch of different colors to satisfy individual tastes.

The design of the JBL Go 3 isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be. A portable speaker like this has the right to be average in terms of looks because its functionality is the most important thing. It’s decent enough to look at, and its design doesn’t compromise its functionality. There is even a rubber pad at the bottom that improves its functionality by allowing you to keep it stuck in place without worry.

It also comes with a nice loop attached to it. I often used this loop to attach the speaker to my ebike when I went down to the beach. It’s called the “Go” speaker, after all. Every inch of the speaker’s design is meant to reflect the “on-the-go” energy of the product, and they executed that vision really well. While it’s nothing to write home about, it certainly fits its name and achieves its intended purpose.

Battery Life

If you’re buying something like a JBL Go 3, you want it to be able to withstand long days on the go (it’s literally in its name). JBL’s portable speaker can last up to 5 hours of playtime when given a single charge and it has a built-in battery. These convenience factors should be able to give the speaker bonus points, contributing to its overall value, but this is where the speaker begins to disappoint users. 

It could have a longer battery life; ideally, you want a portable speaker to last at least 8 hours without needing a recharge. Plus, the charger isn’t that reliable. You could leave it plugged into a wall for hours at a time, only to return to a half-charged speaker, which gives you maybe 2 hours of use due to this design flaw. 

People who enjoy outdoor recreation, like a good beach day, would prefer their speaker to go all day. You get distracted from your day of fun outdoor activities when you’re constantly focused on whether or not your speaker is fully charged. 

A good outdoor, portable waterproof speaker needs at least 8 hours of battery life with a full charge to be considered a top contender. With all of the 5-star reviews it has, you’d have thought it was much better off in terms of battery life. This factor was incredibly disappointing compared to the rest of the product. 

JBl Go with loop
The JBL Go is extra portable thanks to the handy loop, letting you hook it to things like your bike or picnic basket.

Sound Quality

The Bluetooth speaker’s sound quality is arguably its most impressive quality. It has nearly perfect reviews on Amazon, and it’s no secret as to why. You would never know that this little guy could pack such a serious punch. The volume potential alone is enough to get you to want one of your own.

Of course, a speaker can be loud, badly. This one isn’t like that, though. The clear audio resonates throughout whatever space you put it in. You might want to warn your neighbors if you have shared spaces because the sound coming from your JBL Go 3 could become overwhelming very quickly.

Plus, the bass settings do not disappoint. If you want your bass to be rattling enough to get the whole place dancing, this is the speaker for you. It may be tiny, but it can really get loud and rumbly.

Honestly, the sound quality begins to make up for where battery life was lacking. It is extremely impressive that this tiny speaker can pump out such electric sound, especially in outdoor settings. The sound quality does not go down when you’re on a crowded beach full of loud, screaming children.

Setting Up The Bluetooth Speaker

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to set up a JBL Go 3. Some competitor speakers are advertised as being quick and easy to set up, but you get it delivered to your doorstep, only to find that there is a lengthy instruction manual to decode.

You can connect your JBL Go 3 portable speaker to your Bluetooth device in seconds, using just a few simple buttons to get the job done. There isn’t an extra app to connect your phone to the device, just your device’s normal Bluetooth settings. Turn the speaker on and you’ll hear a tone to let you know it is active. Then, hit the Bluetooth button and it will go into pairing mode. From here, just find it in the Bluetooth settings on your phone.


The big question is… is this speaker really waterproof? Is it possible to find a speaker for around $50 (or less when it’s on sale) that is completely waterproof? Yes! To an extent. Of course, you’re not going to want to completely submerge the speaker into a body of water. Few electronic devices would survive under those conditions, and it would be silly to expect them to.

However, it does live up to its marketing — you could take the JBL Go 3 to the beach and it would survive a few ocean sprays. Or, if someone spilled something on it, the speaker would probably take minimal damage. It’s impressively good for the price, especially with such a hefty marketing tag. Waterproof devices are often overhyped, but this one isn’t — it really gets the job done as described. 

JBL Go 3 Portable Speaker: Pros And Cons


  • Affordable price tag
  • Sleek, simple design with color options
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Waterproof
  • Loud


  • Short battery life
  • Wears out after about a year of use
  • Gets warm if plugged in too long

JBL Go 3 Portable Speaker: Is It A Buy?

All things considered, is the JBL Go 3 portable speaker really worth the money?

Buy it if…

…You want something durable to take to the beach. The JBL Go is one of the best outdoor speakers you can get. In my opinion, it is a no-brainer for beachgoers. It’s almost like JBL designed it for beach use because of its waterproof design, portability, and loud sound system. It can sit in the sand effortlessly while your friends talk or splash around in the ocean while taking hits from the water without being damaged.

Though I wouldn’t recommend pushing it to the limits, I’ve dropped this speaker more times than I can count, and it kept working fine every time. So, its durability is hard to question. That really comes down to its hardened shell which protects the speaker and keeps the vital components out of harm’s way.

The retail value of the speaker is difficult to beat, too. Even without markdowns, it’s just $50, making it an excellent gift to yourself or someone else with little risk. You could bring it to a White Elephant gift exchange and see someone become really impressed when they unwrap it. Since it lives up to the hype, you can rest easily knowing whoever receives the speaker will be happy with it.

Plus, its design makes it so the speaker isn’t an eyesore. You won’t have to worry about the speaker matching someone’s home decor since it’s small and can be moved easily. There are so many color variations that you’re bound to find one that works for the recipient. Or, you could even stick with the default black color, which is honestly really nice.

Don’t buy it if…

…You want something with the best battery. The biggest failure on JBL’s behalf was the oversight of the speaker’s battery. If they’re advertising a speaker for heavy-duty use, they should make sure that the battery life matches up to those expectations. It can withstand big, crashing ocean waves without taking critical damage, but it can’t last more than 5 hours on a full charge. Sometimes, it doesn’t even last its advertised 5 hours. You should, by default, subtract about an hour or two from any advertised “battery life” claims from manufacturers.

…You want the biggest and baddest party speaker. While this little guy does bump pretty well, it isn’t the loudest thing out there. Considering its small size, it is impressive, but you could get something louder if you go bigger.

This is a menial option for a Bluetooth portable speaker, even if it is a good, sturdy, waterproof one. It’s great that there is very little learning curve necessary to operate it, but it can be completely underwhelming for anyone who has the slightest bit of experience with more complicated products. If you aren’t a beginner, you could be majorly disappointed by this portable speaker, especially if you’ve tried other, more impressive, budget-friendly options — of which there are many!

While a “good” speaker, it’s not “great.” The speaker has 5-star reviews on Amazon, but that’s because it honestly gets the job done and nothing more. It’s very average; that can be okay, but you have to know what you’re getting into before committing to it, even though it’s only $50 at retail value. Your money matters, and you should be buying something that checks all your boxes, not just most of them. 

Best Overall
JBL Go 3: Portable Speaker
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof
  • Up to 5 hours of playtime on a single charge
  • Ultra-portable design
  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 10:26 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the JBL Go 3 a good speaker?

The JBL Go 3 speaker is pretty good! There are a few really good things about it, and a few questionable things. For example, the design is very effective and easy to navigate. It comes in a lot of different colors to satisfy different aesthetics. However, the battery life is very bad; it only lasts maybe 5 hours on a full charge, where most portable bluetooth speakers should last at least 8.

Is JBL Go 3 worth the price?

Yes, the JBL Go 3 portable bluetooth waterproof speaker is priced fairly. It retails at around $50 and is frequently on sale via Amazon Prime. Honestly, this is the perfect price point for it to be set at. The speaker is good; it can get really loud really quickly, but it doesn’t last long enough for it to be priced any higher. If JBL gave it a better battery, it could be more expensive.

Is JBL a good brand for speakers?

JBL is an awesome brand for good, affordable portable bluetooth speakers. They’re well known for their portable speakers because many of them are waterproof or designed for more intense wear and tear. Their designs are nice and minimalistic in most cases, with a variety of colorways available for certain models.

Can you use the JBL Go 3 portable speaker in the shower?

Yes, you can use the JBL Go 3 portable speaker in the shower! The “waterproof” advertisement on the speaker is legit–using it in the shower won’t damage the speaker.

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