- The JBL Boombox 3 is one of the most expensive outdoor speakers on the market, retailing at $499.99.
- It only supports the lossy SBC codec, which can result in compressed and artifact-prone playback.
- Weighing nearly fifteen pounds, it is one of the heaviest Bluetooth speakers available.
- Despite being a stereo speaker, it lacks perceptible width on the soundstage.
- Many users have reported that Bluetooth multipoint functionality doesn’t work.
Are you looking for reasons to avoid a new JBL Boombox 3? The JBL Boombox 3 looks to be a wonderful refresh on the outdoor Bluetooth speaker. However, there are some issues with the unit itself, which will be explored over the course of this guide.
What Is the JBL Boombox 3?
The JBL Boombox 3 is an outdoor Bluetooth speaker with quite a bit of power behind it. It’s a revision of the previous JBL Boombox 2 — one that’s surprisingly less expensive despite bringing more volume to the table. If you have two of these speakers, you can link them together for stereo playback.
It is waterproof, which is great for slinging around on the beach or at the lake. However, there are some notable drawbacks with the device itself that will be discussed.
|JBL Boombox 3|
|Frequency Range||40Hz to 20kHz|
|Charging Time||6.5 hours|
|Maximum Playback||24 hours|
Reason #1: The Cost Is Quite High
When compared to other speakers on the market, the JBL Boombox 3 is quite expensive. It has a starting retail price of $499.99, which places it well ahead of the competition in terms of sheer price. This is one of the largest reasons to avoid a new JBL Boombox 3.
You could easily get a cheaper competitor’s speaker and pocket the rest. This is especially galling when looking at the likes of the stereo support for the JBL. You’d have to spend over $1,000 when considering tax and other sales fees just to get left and right channels of audio.
Reason #2: It Only Supports the SBC Codec
There are numerous high-end Bluetooth codecs on the market today. Dealing with lossy audio is a major drawback of the JBL Boombox 3. This is especially egregious when considering the overall price of the Bluetooth speaker.
There are multiple speakers on the market that support lossless Bluetooth audio, which makes the reliance on SBC a dealbreaker. If you’re looking for the best audio quality from a Bluetooth speaker, this is one of the reasons to avoid a new JBL Boombox 3.
Reason #3: The JBL Boombox 3 Is Quite Heavy
One of the best reasons to avoid a new JBL Boombox 3 is down solely to the weight of the unit itself. This is a seriously heavy Bluetooth speaker. You’re looking at almost 15 pounds just for the speaker itself. Once you factor in all the other goodies, food, and accouterments to go on a trip, it adds up quickly.
As such, if you want to pack light, then a JBL Boombox 3 isn’t the Bluetooth speaker for you. Now, the playback is exceptional as you’ve got 24 hours of playback time on a single charge. However, the massive battery and the sheer size of the speaker make for a sore back in no time.
Reason #4: It Has a Narrow Soundstage
The JBL Boombox 3 has a great frequency response, with lows reaching 40Hz and highs 20kHz. However, when it comes to perceptible width, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. After you’ve spent $500 on the JBL Boombox 3, you might expect a degree of width and spaciousness.
The JBL Boombox 3 is stereo, but you’ll need an additional Boombox 3 just to add stereo width to your music. This is a huge dealbreaker and one of the best reasons to avoid a new JBL Boombox 3. To get a decently wide soundstage, you’ll need to spend $1000 and have to tote around nearly 30 pounds worth of speakers.
Reason #5: Bluetooth Multipoint Functionality Doesn’t Seem to Work
Bluetooth multipoint functionality has been one of the handiest features of the modern Bluetooth speaker. However, there have been numerous users reporting that they can’t get it to work on the JBL Boombox 3.
It will sync up a pair of devices, but then immediately disconnect from the first. As such, you might have one person acting as the only DJ or emcee to your get-together. This isn’t the biggest dealbreaker, but it does make using the JBL Boombox 3 rather cumbersome.
Reason #6: The On-Board EQ Is Limited
You don’t have a lot of room to adjust the output of your JBL Boombox 3. The onboard equalizer only comes with three bands that are fixed at bass, mid, and treble positions. There aren’t any indicators of what frequencies are affected, and you could very easily make output sound unpleasant.
This is maybe one of the best reasons to avoid a new JBL Boombox 3. To get better control out of your playback, you’ll need to hope your music app has some degree of control through an equalizer on its end. Given how feature-filled this thing already is, it doesn’t make much sense to pare down the EQ to this extent.
Alternatives to the JBL Boombox 3
Here are three of our favorite alternatives to the JBL Boombox 3.
Tribit StormBox Blast
The Tribit StormBox Blast brings a lot of the same features as the JBL Boombox 3 but costs considerably less. With a retail price of $199.99, you’re getting a lot of power for less than half of what JBL is charging for the Boombox 3.
It is waterproof and rated up to IPX7, so it’s ready for some beach use or being slung on a boat while you bask in the sun. Instead of being stuck with the lower-grade lossy Bluetooth codec, you have full access to A2DP and AVRCP. This should leave you with crisp music playback.
Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus
Anker is known more for powerbanks and batteries than speakers. However, the Motion Boom Plus is a great example of a durable outdoor speaker. You’ve got 20 hours of playback time that also functions as a 13,400mAh battery for your electronics.
It is fully waterproof, as well, so you can take it with you wherever you might end up. The Soundcore speaker isn’t quite as powerful as the JBL Boombox 3 in terms of overall output. That said, you’re looking at a suggested retail price of $179.99, which is still affordable even if you do opt for stereo pairs.
The Sony SRS-XG500 is the same price as the JBL Boombox 3 but features a much wider soundstage. Like the JBL, it is fully waterproof and comes with up to 30 hours of playback. You’ll get powerful and clear bass out of the SRS-XG500 with a crisp treble to follow.
Compared to the JBL Boombox 3, this is a light Bluetooth speaker. You’re getting a premium quality outdoor speaker with the SRS-XG500. It comes with support for lossless codecs and, as a bonus, uses accents for subtle mood lighting.
The JBL Boombox 3 is a fantastic speaker in many regards. However, it’s held back by a few flaws, like its narrow stereo soundstage, its extreme weight, and the limited controls to sculpt playback. Hopefully, the company will be able to address these issues with a future JBL Boombox 4.
|Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Boombox 3|
|1. At $499.99 retail, it is one of the most expensive outdoor speakers on the market currently.|
|2. It only supports the lossy SBC codec, meaning playback can be prone to compression and artifacts.|
|3. At nearly fifteen pounds, it is one of the heaviest Bluetooth speakers on the market.|
|4. Despite being a stereo speaker, it lacks perceptible width on the soundstage.|
|5. Many users have reported that Bluetooth multipoint functionality doesn’t work.|
|6. The onboard EQ only has three basic controls without any indication of which frequencies are affected.|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©TaurusEmerald, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.