Review of the JBL Charge 3 – Portable Bluetooth Speaker

I  bought the JBL Charge 3 while  looking for a speaker to play sound at home and in my old classic car,  without having to install a sound system. The speaker needed needed to be both Bluetooth and have the ability to connect via an audio cable to reduce latency.

My daughter was given a JBL Go Black as a present and I was surprised by a volume and quality of sound that came out of that small box. So I decided to look for a similar product and went to a few electrical stores to find something suitable. It wasn’t long before I came across JBL Charge 3 on the shelf. It was easy to connect my iPhone 7 to it via Bluetooth in the shop without having a manual, by just guessing which buttons to press on the top.

JBL Charge 3 – Blew Me Away

Selecting a track from Gregory Porter’s Liquid Spirit album, I pressed play. I was blown away! The sound quality, the clear vocals, great mid-range and bass were outstanding.

I had a budget of £120, but this was retailing at just under £150 at the time. So, it was over budget by nearly £30. Yet, I couldn’t walk away very easily. I tried a few others there on the shelves nearby but couldn’t find anything nearly as good in sound quality – and it’s IPX7 waterproof! 

So, with a little bit of self-justification, I took the plunge and bought it. This was a few months ago now and I have not regretted it.

Top view

Specifications

The specifications for this little cylindrical box of joy can by found on the JBL website, but here is a quick summary:

Connection

Bluetooth, very easy to set-up with Apple iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android Phones  and Microsoft Windows PC.

With their app, you can even connect these speakers together to fill a large room, though I have not tried this myself.

You can also connect via an AUX audio jack.

Connections
The connections are protected by a flap to keep out water



Power and Charging

Output: 2 x 10W

It takes about 4.5 hours to fully charge (charger and micro USB cable provided). The quoted charge lasts for 20 hours on average. My own experience can verify that the battery lasts for absolutely ages.

The other useful function this speaker has is that you can use it to charge other devices (hence the name), it has a Li-ion 6000mAh battery.

Miscellaneous

The device dimensions are 213 x 87 x 88.5mm, weighing 800g. It also comes in a range of colours.

IPX7 Waterproof means it can be immersed in 1m of water for 30 minutes.

In-Car Entertainment

The JBL Charge 3 has speakerphone capability with echo cancelling, which would really help for hands-free calls. However, my opinion is that taking any call while driving can be a dangerous distraction.

The JBL Charge 3 fits nicely on the front shelf in my old Morris Minor. It saves me having to fit a car radio and speakers into the 50 year-old classic. Just don’t forget to take it out of the car when you leave.




Conclusion

The JBL Charge 3 has surpassed my expectations and is sensibly priced considering the excellent sound quality.  It connects easily (with a cool connect and disconnect sound!) and sits nicely on a shelf at home, in your car, out for a picnic or a barbecue in the rain. It can also charge your phone at the same time.

I also use it to plug into the audio socket of my MacBook Pro to get  better sound quality when practising my MIDI instrument, reducing the extra sound latency that comes with using Bluetooth.

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