JBL Xtreme 2 Review - Its Good But I Xpected More

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The JBL Xtreme  is perhaps JBL’s most popular speaker in its line up and its with good reason. It sounds good, its durable, and it versatile. And now we have the hotly anticipated sequel… The JBL Xtreme 2. Its also a good speaker, its basically a refined Xtreme… But personally I did expect a little more. Heres what I like and what I don’t like about the Xtreme 2 and do you really need to run out and upgrade if you already have the original JBL Xtreme. 

The Original Xtreme was first released back in September of 2015 and it currently retails for $200. The New JBL Xtreme 2 was released in May of 2018 and currently retails for $300. And you have a few color options to choose from… Black, blue like I have here or green. If you want to pick either of these speakers up I’ll have links in the description below and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. I suggest you check them out cause you never know when the Xtreme 2 might go on sale, so you’ll might get lucky. 

Design wise the Xtreme and Xtreme 2 are very similar to one another, they both have the same basic shape, they both have control buttons up top, they both have a fabric mesh covered body, and they both come included with carrying straps for when you take either of these speakers on the go with you. But the Xtreme 2 is slightly all around bigger and heavier than the original Xtreme. The Xtreme 2 is also slightly more stylized than the Xtreme especially regarding the feet and soft touch rubber end caps. But one of the first things I came to dislike about the new design on the Xtreme 2 was just hard it was to actually clip on the carrying strap compared to the original Xtreme. On the Xtreme its fairly easy to clip on and clip off the carrying strap cause the hook has a good amount of room to move around. But on the Xtreme 2, since the arches are so low profile you do have to clip on the strap in a certain manner. I just wish these arches had a little more clearance for better usability. I know this might a nonissue for some people but the Xtreme 2 has a few of these quirks that just make you think JBL should have thought things through better. 

But since we’re on the topic of the carrying strap, the carrying strap it self has also gotten a few changes to make it a look a little more premium. Most notably theres a built in bottle opener on the carrying strap which is defiantly only supposed to be used for soft drinks. My only gripe with the new strap is that since its a little more narrow it does cause a little more pressure on your shoulder. 

Ok now lets focus on the speaker it self. On the back of the Xtreme 2 theres a rubber grommet that houses your Audio jack for wired listening, a micro USB port for service, a USB out for charging your own device and an AC port for charging. And the new power brick that comes included is slightly smaller than the power brick that comes included with both the original Xtreme  and JBL Boombox. But JBL decided to get rid of a USB out so you can only charge one device at a time where as the original Xtreme lets you charge up to 2 devices at a time.

When it comes to battery life unfortunately things haven’t changed. Both of these speakers come included with 10,000 mili amp hour batteries. And since the Xtreme 2 is slightly bigger and heavier than the out going Xtreme I just don’t get how none of it went towards improving the battery life. Now don’t get me wrong, both of these speakers have good batteries lives, but I would have liked to have seen JBL increase the battery life on the Xtreme 2 from the original Xtreme. 

JBL advertises a battery life of 15 hours on both of these speakers. And in my testing with the volume set at 50 percent the Xtreme 2 actually averaged 16 and a half hours of playback time. And with the volume set at 80% the Xtreme 2 averaged 10 hours of playback time. Even though these are pretty good battery lives, I would have liked it if JBL upgraded to a 12 or 15 thousand mili amp hour battery. 

But one noticeable upgrade the Xtreme 2 has over the Xtreme is durability. The Xtreme 2 now carries an IPX7 certification. So its water proof to a certain extent. Where as the original Xtreme is only water resistant… a splash of water isn’t a problem, but Xtreme 2 can be submerged in water without any issues and I also found that it floats.

Ok, now lets talk about speaker set up cause it has been tweaked a little. The original Xtreme comes included with dual 63 millimeter diameter woofers, dual 35 millimeter diameter tweeters, and dual passive radiators on each side. The Xtreme 2 on the other hand has slightly larger 70 millimeter diameter woofers, slightly smaller 20 millimeter diameter tweeters and dual passive radiators on each side as well. Now before we get into the sound test I do want to point out that both of these speakers do benefit from a break in period. When I first got the Xtreme 2 there was a little distortion going one when the bass really got going, but after the break in period the bass on the Xtreme 2 has smoothened out. And the Boombox is playing in in door mode. 

The older JBL Charge 3 and JBL Xtreme have sound signatures that put an emphasis on the mids and treble. But ever since the Pulse 3 came out JBL’s sound signature has changed to be more neutral, but with a good amount of bass and treble that should make most people happy. And as a result I feel the Xtreme 2 sounds more balanced and a little clearer at louder volumes. And personally I prefer how the Xtreme 2 sounds over the Xtreme. 

Now when it comes to max volume both of these speakers get equally as loud. But since the original Xtreme has such a big emphasis on the treble you’ll might perceive it as being louder and as such the sound will also travel a little further out doors. And this is what the Boombox does when set to out doors mode, it relaxes the bass and puts an emphasis on the mids and treble so its sounds louder. Where as since the Xtreme 2 doesn’t have as much emphasis on the treble it might not sound as loud but it does sound over all better at max volume than the Xtreme cause you’re actually getting a good amount of bass and mids instead of just blaring treble that sounds way too bright. But personally I would have liked if JBL also included an out doors mode button on the Xtreme 2 like on the Boombox for when im using the Xtreme 2 at home or for when im using it out doors with friends. Again this is one of those things I feel JBL should have thought through since they are trying to market this speaker as this great companion for when youre outdoors hanging with your buddies. 

But if you really want to get a little more volume out of the Xtreme 2 you can also use it while its plugged in and it immediately gets louder. And even when the speaker is plugged in and playing at Max volume the speaker still sounds good. Theres barely any distortion. Now while the Xtreme 2 is plugged in its rated as a 40 watt speaker but unfortunately I don’t know what its rated at when used with just its battery power. 

But perhaps the most important difference between the original Xtreme and Xtreme 2 is that the Xtreme 2 now has JBL Connect plus so you can pair it up to newer JBL speakers and get them playing in sync… and if you have another Xtreme 2 they’ll play in stereo mode. And JBL Connect plus is the best and easiest way to pair multiple speakers together, you literally press one button on each speaker and the speakers will figure the rest out by themselves. 

But unfortunately the Original Xtreme uses the older JBL Connect so you can only pair it up to older speakers that also use JBL Connect like the Pulse 2 or the JBL Charge 3 right out of the box. Now there is a firmware update for the Charge 3 so it can get upgraded to JBL Connect Plus, But JBL has stated the Original Xtreme wont be getting such firmware update cause of hardware limitations.  Now when it comes to bluetooth connectivity the JBL Xtreme 2 has a stable wireless connection and it has no problem going through multiple walls. But I have noticed there is a little latency when watching youtube videos. Its not awful but it is noticeable. 

So to wrap things up, the biggest differences between the Original JBL Xtreme and the New JBL Xtreme 2 is a slightly better sound signature, an IPX7 certification, and JBL Connect Plus. The JBL Xtreme 2 is a good speaker but I would have liked to have seen battery life improvements, an indoor and out door button like on the JBL Boombox, and maybe even quick charging. If you already have other JBL Connect Plus enabled speakers, or if you plan on buying more JBL speakers in the feature then I would consider upgrading to the Xtreme 2. But if you just want a single large portable speaker that you can throw around this summer then I would get the Original Xtreme while supplies last.