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JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi - Stay Connected and Keep Partying

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Mon, 9 Oct 2023, 11:56AM

JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi - Stay Connected and Keep Partying

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Mon, 9 Oct 2023, 11:56AM

I never met a portable JBL speaker I didn't like.

From the smallest, clip-on model right up to giant party speakers, they've always kept things simple; durable design, good battery life and big, roomy. bassy sound.

For years JBL has been a proven performer and the latest Boombox is certainly no exception.

The Boombox 3 Wi-Fi obviously stands apart with more than one way to connect. Oh, it still works as a bluetooth device - in fact, thanks to the latest Bluetooth 5.3 codec, this wireless connection is stronger than ever, with even less lag.

But the addition of bulit-in Wi-Fi means an exponential increase in connectivity. By adding the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi to your local network using the JBL One app, it suddenly appears as a playback option when using streaming apps like Spotify. It also shows up as an AirPlay device for Apple users, in your list of speakers in the Alexa app and you can Chromecast directly to it via Google.

There's even a heart-shaped "Moment" button, which lets you fire off your favourite playlist, assuming you've already set it up in the JBL One app using a compatible streaming service.

All these new ways of connecting aren't just more convenient - they're also the gateway to better sound quality. The Boombox 3 Wi-Fi features 3D Dolby Atmos, which means if you subscribe to a high-definition streaming service, you'll notice a significant boost to both height and surround effects when compared to the much more compressed bluetooth connection.

This expansive sound is made possible thanks to the combination of two 40W midrange drivers, two 20W tweeters and a sumptuous 80W subwoofer. That's a lot of oomph for one speaker and it certainly feels like it when you're carrying it around - this thing weighs nearly 10kgs.

Luckily, it has a big, strong handle to grab it by, complete with fingergrips underneath. In fact, like most JBL portables, the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi is positively festooned with chunky, rubbery bumpers and a non-slip pad on the base. It definitely feels like it's built to take a few knocks and comes with an IP67 rating against dust and water. You should feel just as confident using this speaker for a house party, a pool party or a beach party.

The party can go all night too - JBL suggests you'll get up to 24 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. Or you can just plug in the figure-8 AC cable instead. There's a rubberised access hatch at the back to plug that cable into which also houses a USB-A slot you can use to charge your phone or tablet. See? No excuse for stopping the music.

Especially given the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi's clever ability to change from Wi-Fi to bluetooth without missing a beat; start the party at home, then take it outside and down the road if you want. 

None of this cool stuff matters unless the speaker actually sounds decent. It does. Apart from anything else, it turns up really, really loud. How did I measure this? I was mucking around with the media controls on my smartwatch and accidentally set the volume to maximum. The resulting wall of sound almost made the Domestic Manager's head explode. "Why do you always do this to me???" she yelled. What did I tell you? The Boombox 3 Wi-Fi is almost loud enough to cause divorce.

But that high-def, 3D Dolby Atmos is definitely a pleasant listen - at any volume.

"Just Ask" by Lake Street Dive is one of those languid, bluesy slow-jams that ranges from restrained moments featuring just lead vocals, bass and drums before ramping up to a full-band climax with a choir of BVs tossed into the mix. Not only is the bass ever-present, it doesn't distract - there's no distortion, just power. The Boombox provides plenty of room for that big ending while still sounding rich and warm in the quieter bits.

While you can easily EQ things differently in the JBL One app, I really enjoy JBL's tendency to over-emphasise the lower frequencies - especially on a big speaker like this. The Mitch James track "I Can't Help Myself" is all about the acoustic guitar riff but man, things get fun fast when the bass drops in and starts bouncing around.

JBL claims the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi's dual, built-in microphones are able to self-tune the output to uniquely match the surroundings - in theory, you'll get a different mix inside or out, large room or small. During my testing that seemed to hold true, certainly in terms of filling up every corner of the room, with one caveat; everything sounded a lot better if the speaker was up off the floor, sitting on a chair or a table.

It's actually hard to see how JBL could have made this speaker much better; the battery life is outstanding, the IP rating and hard-knocks design mean you can literally take it anywhere and with the addition of built-in Wi-Fi, it can now slide seamlessly onto your growing list of smart home devices - whichever virtual assistant you prefer. Oh, and did I mention it's loud? Domestic Manager loves that part.




Click here for more information on the JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi.

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