We have tested many of the JBL’s portable speakers, like the bass heavy JBL Flip 4 and the smart JBL Charge 3. With the JBL Boombox, they’ve taken everything they’ve learned from travel speakers and taken it to the extreme. The Pringles-size has increased to more than double in all aspects. Despite that, this is actually the lightest speaker in the test, making it very easy to carry around by its comfortable carrying handle. You do not need to be particularly afraid of it either, as it can handle a brief dip in the pool or stand outside while it’s snowing.
You find the usual volume, power and Bluetooth buttons on the top. All are elevated so you can easily find them using your finger. The JBL Connect button is also easy to find, allowing you to connect multiple compatible JBL speakers. You can either connect two as a stereo pair or you can connect up to 100 (!) speakers in the party mode. You’ll find the changeover switch between indoor and outdoor mode in the back. You can also set this from the JBL Connect app. There you can also choose whether the play button should function as a play button or if it should enable the voice assistant in the mobile phone, whether the speakerphone is to be activated and whether you want voice confirmations.
On paper it seems that the JBL has less power resources than the stats from some of the competitors, but don’t be fooled by it. The boombox plays strong enough to anger your neighbours. And with the two bass drivers in the ends, it’s like having a portable sub-woofer. At the beach party you can turn up the power to 11 by switching to outdoor mode. We do not recommend you do this indoors, as the bass becomes deafeningly exaggerated. As would be expected, this is not for hi-fi ears, but if you have a more relaxed setting, it provides a compelling and festive boost to most music. It is not at the expense of the treble and the mid-range, as they emerge well in the mix.
JBL has taken the essence of the boombox of the old days and made the best modern version of it. The size is adequate, the design is modern and it’s actually easy to carry. It also has a battery that allows you to use it all day and night. Despite the relatively neat format, the Boombox has a level of volume that can more than keep up. Along with the pounding bass, you can get any party started. You can even throw a pool party since it is waterproof, and connect up to 100 speakers to cover an entire festival area. A clear favourite for summer parties.