Good / Powerful sound output, with bass levels not typically found on speakers this size. Durable and waterproof design with built in ability to charge your devices ehnchaced the portability
Bad / Some distortion and unevenness in sound at higher volumes.
Verdict / The JBL Charge 3 is a durable and portable Bluetooth speaker that delivers one of the most robust sound outputs in its size and price range.
Intro to JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review
Sound technology has come a long way. Gone are the days of needing huge and bulky sound systems; with today’s portable Bluetooth speakers you are able to get a big rich sound in a small affordable package. However, small speakers still struggle to produce strong bass sounds. Even with soaring treble and solid mid tones, the lack of adequate bass levels can leave music feeling thin and incomplete.
So with that in mind, the JBL Charge 3 built with dual sub woofers with visible passive radiators offers a distinct approach to improving the level and quality of deep pitches and basslines. It’s also waterproof (as deep as 1 meter for up to 30 minutes) and gets the “charge” part of its name from its ability to charge smartphones, tablets and MP3 players through a built in USB port. So how does it perform in real life? Let’s take a closer look.
$115- $123 (depending on the color)
- IPX7 Waterproof
- USB input to charge smartphones and tablets
- 20 hour battery life
- Noise and echo-cancelling speakerphone capability
Powerful bass and overall sound output: This little speaker has a big presence. There a certain richness to the sound that makes your music feel vivid. Sometimes, advanced audio engineering can leave music feel a bit too digital and compressed, but this speaker was able to deliver a more organic sound. Part of this is owed to the 2 passive subwoofers built into the design.
This means that it’s able to deliver that thump that makes hip-hop bounce, and that guitar crunchiness that gives rock its edge. Even genres like orchestra music benefit from have a complete sound spectrum that includes low end tones. The speaker can also get really loud at its highest volume, but there’s enough volume control range so that the volume doesn’t feel like an inconvenience.
Battery life and ability to charge devices: As the name of the model implies, this Bluetooth speaker has the ability to both stay charged and to charge your smartphone or tablet. It accomplished this via a USB port connection that is conveniently kept safe under a rubber casing on the speaker’s underside. The 20 hour battery life is one of the longest on the market, so you can keep on jamming your tunes.
Durable enough for outdoor use and travel: The combination of its waterproof build, solid fabric covering, and rubber protectors around the woofers, means you can take this with you outdoors. So if you feel like brining your music to the beach or out camping with you, the JBL Charge 3 can easily travel with you and stay safe.
Some Sound Distortion: With great bass power comes great responsibility. One drawback to the JBL Charge 3’s powerful bass capabilities, is that sometimes it can be too much, and cause some distortion at high volumes.
This is especially true if you use a bass boost setting in your EQ. A fix to this is simply to avoid turning up the bass levels too high on songs that are already heavy on bass. The Charge 3 would have really benefited from having a sound control app, like the UE Boom 2, to be able to more easily adjust EQ levels.
JBL Charge 3 Review Conclusion
Audio engineers will keep finding new ways to improve sound quality even in the acoustic limitations of small speakers. We think the JBL Charge 3 does a good job in its design to deliver a sound rich in overall body and depth.
While this model it’s named after its built-in ability to charge your smartphones and tablets (and its 20 hour battery life), overall the defining characteristic of the JBL Charge 3 is the physicality in its sound.
After all, at the end of the day it’s the audio that’s most important to any sound system. While the sound sometimes feels uneven, and not as clear at the highest volume levels, adjusting EQ settings will help prevent this. In addition, the durable design feels strong, and the fact that it is waterproof, means this is a portable Bluetooth speaker you can feel safe about traveling with.