JBL Xtreme 3 portable speaker review: the rest are resting
Even if you release a successful product, this is not a reason to improve it from time to time. You can leave the essence the same, but make the new device no worse (and preferably better) than fresh competitors on the market. The arrival of the Xtreme 3 was a matter of time, but how different is it from the second generation? We decided to check it out and took the acoustics for a test.
Design and interfaces
Outwardly, the column remained in the same style — it is still a cylinder slightly tapering to the edges, covered with acoustic fabric. The fabric, by the way, is quite dense and strong, is not afraid of scratches and is minimally dirty. Unless he does not like dusty and sandy surfaces: small grains of sand manage to get stuck in the fabric. On the sides there are deliberately massive rubber sides so that you can put the speaker on the end. In principle, Xtreme 2 also had rubber pads in this place, so the new solution is more of a design one.
In the upper part there are eyelets for attaching a belt. And so powerful that it seems they can withstand a dozen of these speakers. The strap is included: it is quite long, durable, has JBL’s signature orange identity, rubberized knobs for better contact with the shoulder, and, of course, an opener.
All control buttons are at the top. Nothing is clear here — volume control, play and pause. Questions can only be raised by the left button, it is used to connect several speakers together (PartyBoost function). For example, you can combine two and get stereo sound. Or just make the music louder.
Here it should be noted that the old speakers (Xtreme 2, Pulse 3 and others) are not compatible with this function. They can also be combined, but with the help of a different function, Connect+.
Since the column is positioned as protected (according to IP67), all connectors are covered with a plug. There are only three connectors: USB Type-C, which can work in both directions, traditional USB Type-A with the ability to charge other devices, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. USB Type-C is used for charging, which makes it much easier to use.
How does it sound?
The power of the speaker has increased by 10 W compared to the second generation, but the sound quality remains the same. Or rather, still high. Xtreme 3 sounds great both in an apartment at low volume, and in open areas almost “at maximum”. Moreover, the volume is enough even for a large venue (and even latecomers will be able to find it, focusing on the sound).
The stability of the Bluetooth connection is quite decent. In the apartment, the signal passes through a couple of interior walls without any problems, on the street you can walk away with a smartphone for 20 meters in the line of sight.
The battery charge should be enough for 15 hours of sound at medium volume. And this seems to be true. A capacity of 10,000 mAh will also be enough to recharge a smartphone if it suddenly sits down in a forest clearing. At the same time, the battery is charged from 0 to 100% in 2.5 hours. The remaining «amount of electricity» can be monitored by the LED indicator in the form of a vertical luminous strip.
The strip, by the way, was not as informative as the lines of several individual LEDs. At dusk, it is already difficult to understand how much charge is left, since you also need to imagine the total length of the strip.
In summary: what has changed in Xtreme 3?
Yes, a bit of everything. The new speaker is a little prettier, a little louder, a little lighter, a little more comfortable to use. But progress lies in these “little bits”: after all, this is a new generation, and not a completely new model. And it’s hard to come up with another speaker that is not in the JBL range.
Very pleased with modern USB Type-C with support for fast charging and Bluetooth 5.1. The battery lasts all day — however, the speaker is still quite large, and for background music you can take something simpler like Charge 4. But if you want to have fun with a big company, this is a great option.
If you don’t know how to choose a wireless speaker, read our detailed guide. And don’t forget your headphones — after all, not everyone likes to listen to your music. We have collected the best TWS models here.