7 Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Xtreme 3 at All Costs

JBL Bar 9.1 vs. Sonos Arc

7 Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Xtreme 3 at All Costs

Looking for a new portable Bluetooth speaker so you can listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more while on the go? Don’t go making a hasty decision. It’s easy to get caught up in the mix of brand names and flashy marketing ploys while shopping for a speaker. Take the JBL Xtreme 3, for example. This product has gotten plenty of attention for its alluring claims of high-quality sound and portability, but is it actually worth it? We can think of many good reasons for you to avoid this particular Bluetooth speaker instead of buying into the hype.

5 Must-Know Facts About the JBL Xtreme 3

  • The JBL Xtreme 3 can withstand outdoor adventures with its durable, IP67-rated waterproof and dustproof design.
  • JBL’s latest Xtreme Bluetooth speaker boasts strong bass and clear highs, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor listening.
  • This third product in the Xtreme family offers up to 15 hours of playback on a single charge, allowing you to enjoy your music all day without recharging.
  • The JBL Xtreme 3 offers Bluetooth 5.1 for easy wireless pairing with your devices. However, it has no multi-room or Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • The inclusion of a USB-C port allows for faster and more convenient charging, ensuring you spend less time waiting and more time listening.

History of the JBL Xtreme Speaker

JBL Xtreme 2 vs. Xtreme 3
The JBL Xtreme 3 is the latest entry in the Xtreme portable Bluetooth speaker product line.

©Juraj Kamenicky/Shutterstock.com

JBL’s Xtreme speaker lineup has come a long way since the launch of its first model in 2015. With rumors of a JBL Xtreme 4 circling a 2023 or 2024 release date, let’s look back at the history of the product line in the past eight years since its origin. The journey began in 2015 when JBL introduced the original JBL Xtreme speaker, a portable Bluetooth speaker for indoor and outdoor use. It quickly became a favorite among Bluetooth speaker users for its rugged build and powerful sound. 

However, being the first of a new generation of speakers for JBL, there was plenty of room for improvement. In 2018, JBL closed some of those gaps with the launch of the Xtreme 2. Building upon the success of the original and making several key improvements in sound quality, battery life, and durability, the Xtreme 2 was the rare kind of sequel that looked (and sounded) much better than its predecessor.

The latest in the series, the JBL Xtreme 3, hit the market in 2020. This third — and most recent — iteration brought fewer technical updates than the jump from first generation to second in exchange for a major physical overhaul. The Xtreme 3 offered a new design for the product line with integrated hooks for easy carrying. Plus, it boasted improved water resistance with an IP67 rating. The Xtreme 3 also offered a charging port for smartphones and other USB-C devices.

Until JBL announces the Xtreme 4, the three-year-old JBL Xtreme 3 is the best JBL fans can get from this particular line. However, we can think of quite a few reasons why you may be better off waiting until something better comes along.

Why Avoid the JBL Xtreme 3?

The JBL Xtreme 3 speaker is a popular choice in the portable Bluetooth speaker market today. Despite the appeal of its brand name and its purported portability, there are several reasons to avoid the JBL Xtreme 3 at all costs. From its dated technology to its bulky size, its high price point to its limited functionality, the JBL Xtreme 3 might not be all you thought it was cracked up to be. Let’s take a closer look at the most pressing reasons to avoid this portable Bluetooth speaker today.

Outdated Tech

Released in September 2020, the JBL Xtreme 3 just celebrated its third birthday. Considering the speed at which technology advances these days, it goes without saying that the portable Bluetooth speaker is no longer at the cutting edge of audio technology. Newer speakers — even ones from JBL! — offer far more advanced technology than that provided by the Xtreme 3.

Limited Connections

The JBL Xtreme 3 lacks a few modern connectivity options that most Bluetooth speakers of its kind should have by now. It can’t connect to Wi-Fi, it doesn’t support a multi-room setup, and it doesn’t even support speakerphone functionality. It’s hard to consider buying a contemporary speaker with such limited streaming options.

Not-So-Portable Size 

Despite being advertised as a portable Bluetooth speaker, the JBL Xtreme 3 is actually a lot bulkier and heavier than many of its competitors. This makes it a lot less convenient for on-the-go use compared to its rivals on the market. It weighs in at almost four and a half pounds and measures nearly a foot long. Who could carry such a big, heavy thing around and still call it portable?

wireless speakers
A good portable Bluetooth speaker should be small and light enough to fit in one hand.


Middling Battery Life

The JBL Xtreme 3 lasts around 15 hours between charges. That’s a lot more than some rival Bluetooth speakers on the market, to be sure. But, when you consider its size and price, this 15-hour battery life starts looking a lot less impressive. Compared to other speakers (including other offerings from JBL), 15 hours of playtime just isn’t enough.

High Price Point 

A new JBL Xtreme 3 will cost you nearly $380 when purchased at the list price. Even during occasional sales, the speaker still retails for over $275. It’s a high price for a simple Bluetooth speaker (especially a speaker with such a limited battery and so few special features.) The Xtreme 3 is hardly the best value for your money, especially if you value a speaker with more connectivity options and a more reliable battery. 

Basic Sound Options

With the rising popularity of Dolby Atmos and other ultra-high-quality sound specs, it’s hard to imagine investing in a portable Bluetooth speaker with such limited EQ and sound customization options. Simply put, the JBL Xtreme 3 leaves you with very limited control over your listening experience in an era where customization is king.

Not Future Proof

The JBL Xtreme 3 is barely equipped for modern sensibilities — let alone future ones. If you’re going to pay nearly $400 for a product, it should be capable of lasting years before needing an upgrade. Sadly for JBL loyalists, this particular speaker won’t be able to keep up with the demands of future updates and improvements in audio technology.

Alternatives to the JBL Xtreme 3

Here are some alternatives to the JBL Xtreme 3:

  1. Sony SRS-XB100 Travel Speaker
  2. Sony SRS-XB100 Travel Speaker
    • Rated IP67 waterproof
    • Battery life: 16 hours
    • Supports hands-free calling
    • Comes in a variety of fun colors
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    09/16/2023 04:38 am GMT
  3. JBL Charge 5 Waterproof
  4. JBL Charge 5 Waterproof
    • Features a long excursion driver, separate tweeter, and dual JBL bass radiators
    • Up to 20 hours of playtime
    • IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating
    • PartyBoost feature
    • Built-in power bank
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    09/16/2023 04:39 am GMT
  5. JBL Flip 4, Bluetooth Speaker
  6. JBL Flip 4, Bluetooth Speaker
    • Battery life: 12 hours
    • Features a Speakerphone with noise-cancelling
    • Supports voice assistants
    • Waterproof
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    09/16/2023 04:45 am GMT

In Review: Reasons to Avoid the JBL Xtreme 3 Today

While the JBL Xtreme 3 has its merits, there are too many valid reasons to steer clear of it in today’s competitive portable Bluetooth speaker market. From its lack of cutting-edge features to the emergence of more cost-effective and advanced alternatives, the JBL Xtreme 3 just isn’t enough to warrant its ludicrous price. You should consider one of the alternatives listed above to find a speaker that better suits your needs and delivers a more satisfying audio experience for your money.

7 Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Xtreme 3 at All Costs FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the JBL Xtreme 3?

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a rugged, waterproof Bluetooth speaker. built to withstand outdoor adventures and adverse weather conditions. Equipped with an IP67 rating, JBL markets this portable speaker as the ideal product for poolside parties, beach trips, and camping adventures.

What kind of sound quality does the JBL Xtreme 3 have?

The JBL Xtreme 3 advertises itself as having impressive sound quality. JBL leans into its powerful bass in particular, claiming it can fill a room or an outdoor space with ease. The brand also claims the speaker’s mids and highs are clear and well-balanced. However, some may argue the sound is lacking in quality for the price.

How long does the JBL Xtreme 3 last between charges?

This speaker offers an impressive battery life of up to 15 hours on a single charge. However, this battery life will decline significantly the louder you turn the speaker’s volume. You may be disappointed to find your speaker lasting only a fraction of its supposed 15-hour battery life.

How big is the JBL Xtreme 3?

While the JBL Xtreme 3 is apparently designed for portability, it is actually quite large. The speaker weighs almost four and a half pounds and measures almost a foot long. It can still fit in one hand, but that hand may struggle to get a good grip on the speaker for long periods of time.

Does the JBL Xtreme 3 connect to Wi-Fi?

No, the JBL Xtreme 3 does not connect to Wi-Fi. This means that it has limited multi-room support and no smart assistant support, either. You’ll need to use your connected smartphone or other compatible device for voice assistant functionalities instead.

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