Review: JBL Xtreme 3 – for the modern adventurer

Review: The JBL Xtreme 3 is the latest Bluetooth speaker from the popular brand JBL that is a stylish and looks pretty cool.
4.4/5 - (73 votes)

The JBL Xtreme 3 is the latest Bluetooth speaker from the popular brand that can take a beating and looks pretty cool.

Here at the editorial office, we sometimes test products that impress us. So much so that we use them for years to come and don’t even want to consider replacing them. One of those products for the undersigned is the JBL Xtreme speaker. This is a robust bluetooth speaker with an incredibly powerful sound, which can withstand a splash of water here and there. The speaker has now seen all the rooms in the house and has survived a move; then you know that you are dealing with a well-functioning and beautiful product.

Granted, the JBL Xtreme line is not for everyone. The speaker line is intended for people who are a bit more adventurous and take their speaker with them everywhere, so that the IP certificate, for example, is an important part of the experience. If you only use such a speaker indoors, you may not be making optimal use of the possibilities – but that does not alter the fact that the sound has been reproduced very well for years. Now we are venturing on a successor to this product. Will the JBL Xtreme 3 retire the old Xtreme?

Specifications JBL Xtreme 3

Comparing the JBL Xtreme with the first Xtreme is not entirely fair, not least because another Xtreme 2 was released about two years ago. A comparison with that speaker is more appropriate. The Xtreme 3 is a bluetooth speaker with specifications that don’t lie. We will discuss the most important ones with you below.

  • 2 x 70 mm woofer (2 x 2.75 inch), 2 x 20 mm tweeter (2 x 0.75 inch)
  • 2 x 25 W RMS woofer + 2 x 25 W RMS tweeter
  • Frequency range from 53.5 Hz to 20k Hz
  • 10000 mAh battery that lasts fifteen hours and takes 2.5 hours to recharge

If we make a small comparison with the Xtreme 2, we see that the JBL Xtreme has more power (20 watts versus 25 watts), has a slightly wider frequency range (from 55 Hz versus from 53.5 Hz) and can be charged faster (3.5 hours versus 2.5 hours). Those are things that you already gain when you choose an Xtreme 3 instead of an Xtreme 2. The number of watts here is somewhat more important than the frequency range, because the difference in number of hertz is really minimal and you probably won’t notice.

JBL Xtreme 3

Battery and IP certificate

Another important part of the JBL Xtreme 3 is the battery. Just like its predecessor, that battery has a capacity of no less than 10000 mAh. That is a lot of energy that ensures that you can listen to music for about fifteen hours. Total usage time depends on volume, so your personal experience may vary. The advantage here is that with 2.5 hours you can fully charge the battery, while with the previous model it took 2.5 hours. This is due to the USB-C connection that is now on the back.

That USB-C connection has another advantage. You can also charge the JBL Xtreme 3 with another USB-C charger, so you don’t have to put an extra charging cable in your bag. If your phone’s charger also has USB-C on both sides, you can also charge it via the USB-C connection on the speaker. In addition, there is an old-fashioned USB connection, so you can also use other charging cables. The USB-C connection is a new addition, which increases user-friendliness well.

Because the JBL Xtreme 3 is a speaker that you take to the park or other places (of course by keeping an appropriate distance and adhering to applicable guidelines), it is nice to see that this time more has been invested in a better IP -certificate. That is now ip67, which means that the device does not let dust through and can survive up to one meter below anything for up to thirty minutes. Handy for you if you take to the beach in the summer, for example. Now it is of little use to you, but for the longer term this is a valuable property.

Other connectivity options

Despite the fact that the JBL Xtreme 3 is a Bluetooth speaker, you can, as with previous models, also connect devices via an audio jack. And that is still a perfect alternative with which such devices can show off, since you can also connect older music players without Bluetooth to the speaker. Furthermore, this time bluetooth 5.1, instead of 4.2, is available. A great addition, because that version provides a greater range and less energy consumption on the devices that use it.

In the past, the JBL Xtreme and Xtreme 2 had a feature called JBL Connect. This makes it possible to connect speakers with the same technology on board, so that the same music is played everywhere. The JBL Xtreme 3, on the other hand, has a feature called Partyboost. Today, we encounter this functionality on a large number of modern JBL speakers, in all kinds of market segments, so that you can realize a large network of JBL speakers. You can connect up to a hundred speakers together.

Design also plays a major role for products like these. In recent years, JBL has transformed itself into a cool brand with cool products for tough people and all of that image is reflected in the design of the JBL Xtreme 3. The logo is nice and big and outspoken. The rubber edges also mean that the speaker can also take a beating. The buttons on top are almost the same for three speakers; the only thing that is really different is the battery indicator. This is now a vertical LED stripe that deflates (from top to bottom).

The sound experience

As important as it is to look at the specs of such devices, they never tell the complete story. They can be a useful means of determining which speaker is best for you, but they actually tell you little about how the speaker in question sounds. So do not focus on the above figures and possibilities and always try to listen to a speaker in the store yourself before purchasing it. If you are already familiar with the Bluetooth speakers from JBL, then you know what lies in the line of expectations.

It is clear that the JBL Xtreme 3 can be set nice and hard without compromising sound quality. However, there is a limit, but it takes a while to look it up. The neighbors are more likely to complain about the noise than you found that boundary. We have made a good attempt (we said it more often: sorry neighbors) and come to the conclusion that the border is okay. The lower tones fade out a bit and sound a bit messy, but higher tones and tones in the middle almost always sound clear.

Clear and understandable. And that is important to know, especially if you like to sing along, on Midnight Sky by Miley Cyrus, for example. Pop music and music from genres such as dance, house and more electronic music all go well on the Xtreme 3. We also put on (a little too loud) a song by Powerwolf from our favorite power metal playlist and were unable to catch the speaker spilling it the music. The organs, the screams, the guitars – they all come into their own.

Are you more of the old-fashioned R&B, from the good old days, or soul, then unfortunately we have to tell you that the music sounds cooler than we would like. The warm layer does not come out quite well and that is a shame. Because for genres like that, it is very important to be able to really enjoy themselves. Again: the vocals are very clear and extremely intelligible, so sing-along is no problem. But if you like those soft, warm undertones, then the JBL Xtreme 3 is unfortunately not the speaker for you.

There are still plenty of genres to try out, but the conclusion is always the same. If the music is powerful and loud, then the Xtreme 3 handles particularly well. But if you are looking for a speaker that handles softer and warmer tones, then it is better to look further. In addition, it is good to remember that the Xtreme 3 really needs its space and therefore works best in the middle of a room. If you put it too close to a wall, the reflected customers will give a hollow sound.

JBL Xtreme 3 connectivity

JBL Xtreme 3 – conclusion

As far as we are concerned, the JBL Xtreme 3 retires the old Xtreme. There are many things to love: the powerful, loud (but also not so warm) sound, the USB-C connection, the better IP certificate and the cool design. There is indeed a difference in sound quality between this and the previous model, but that difference is not so great that we immediately recommend ordering the new version when you already have the JBL Xtreme 2 at home. Both speakers sound good and the Xtreme 2 is still worth the price.

Because the difference in sound quality is not that great, it is important to look at what else you want. For example, if you do not yet have a phone with a USB-C cable, then the Xtreme 2 will be fine if you want to quickly provide your phone with some extra energy (the speaker then functions as a power bank). You may also ask yourself whether you often dirty your speakers or take them to the beach. If the answer is yes, the better IP certificate is of great value. The Xtreme 3 is intended for the modern adventurer.

Cons of JBL Xtreme 3

  • Tones are neither warm nor deep
  • Design does not appeal to everyone

Pros of JBL Xtreme 3

  • Full and powerful sound
  • USB-C connection
  • Ip67 certificate