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A lot have people have been asking why get the JBL Xtreme 2, when for not that much more you can get the JBL Boombox. And to that… I say its kind of like choosing between the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 8 Plus… Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus. Sure there are some improvements when going with the Plus model but when it comes to your preference or needs form factor can play a big role when choosing between these two speakers. Here are the main differences between the JBL Xtreme 2 and JBL Boombox, and lets see which one is right for you.
Just so we’re clear, this isn a full review on either of these speakers… I’m just trying to point out the most important differences between these two speakers so I can help you with your purchase decision. If you want to learn more about either of these speakers then watch their full reviews. The JBL Xtreme 2 is the newest of the two speakers here and currently retails for $300. The JBL Boombox was released in the fall of 2017 and retails for $450… But it routinely goes on sale for about $380. 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 these speakers might go on sale so you’ll might get lucky.
Design wise, the Boombox is just a plus sized Xtreme 2. They share the same basic shape, they both have fabric mesh covered bodies, they both have control buttons up top, they both have USB out ports to charge your own devices, they both charge via an AC port and they are both IPX7 rated, so they’re both water proof and they both float. But obviously since the Boombox is bigger than the Xtreme 2, its also heavier. The Xtreme 2 weighs in at 5.3 pounds where as the Boombox weighs in at 11.6 pounds. Even though the Boombox is marketed as being this ultra portable and rugged plus sized speaker, every time I’ve taken the Boombox with me somewhere like the park or a friend’s I’ve always thought this is a bigger hassle than it needs to be. The built in carrying handle on the Boombox is nice, but due to its weight and size you’re just going to be switching the Boombox from one hand to the other. And this can get very annoying if you have a long walk ahead of you or if you have other stuff to bring along with you like a cooler, chairs or a tent. If you put a Boombox or an Xtreme 2 in front of me and say pick one to take to the park I’m always going to go with the Xtreme 2 cause of its lower weight and carrying strap. And believe me, do not underestimate how handy the carrying strap is. You can just swing the Xtreme 2 over your shoulder and get going. And Like I’ve said in the past, I feel the Boombox should have a removable carrying strap as well. And plus the carrying on the Xtreme 2 also has the added bonus of a built in bottle opener. Now im not saying you cant the Boombox with you any where, but if I have the option I'm going with the Xtreme 2 every time.
But the Boombox’s bigger size means you literally get a battery thats double the size of whats inside the Xtreme 2. The JBL Boombox is rocking a 20,000 milliamp hour battery where as the JBL Xtreme 2 is a packing a 10,000 milliamp hour battery. And like I mentioned earlier they both charge via ac ports but the Xtreme 2’s power brick is slightly smaller than the Boombox’s.
Both of these speakers have multi day battery lives depending on how you use them. JBL Advertises a 24 hours battery life on the Boombox and a 15 hour battery life on the Xtreme 2. And in my testing with the volume set to 50% the boombox averaged 22 hours of playback time when set to indoors mode and the Xtreme 2 averaged 16 and a half hours of playback time. And with the volume set to 80% the boombox averaged 14 hours of playback time and the Xtreme 2 averaged 10 hours of playback time. Not bad for either one.
Now lets talk about speaker set ups cause they aren’t that different, they’re just bigger. The Xtreme 2 has dual 70 millimeter diameter woofers, dual 20 millimeter diameter tweeters and dual 85 millimeter diameter passive radiators on each side. The Boombox on the other hand has larger dual 101 millimeter diameter woofers, the same 20 millimeter diameter tweeters and larger dual 130 millimeter diameter passive radiators on each side. Now before we get into the sound test just know that the Boombox is going to be switching between indoor and out door mode.
Both the Xtreme 2 and Boombox share the same sound signature when the boombox is set to indoors mode. They both have a flat sound signature with the right amount of bass and treble which should make most people happy. They both don’t suffer from distortion and they both sound very clear. Which is good! But due to the Boombox’s sheer size it has much more thunderous bass cause it passive radiators are able to move around much more air. And as a result you can sometimes feel the bass in you chest which is something the smaller Xtreme 2 cant do.
When it come to max volume, both of these speakers get pretty loud… but again obviously due the Boombox’s size it also manages to get louder than the Xtreme 2. The Boombox is rated as a 60 watt speaker while plugged in and 40 watts while used with its battery. And the Xtreme 2 is rated as 40 watts when plugged in and 20 watts when used with just it battery. Even though the Boombox can already easily get louder than the Xtreme 2 at max volume it can still get a little louder if you switch it into the out doors mode. And what out doors mode does on the Boombox is that it lowers the bass and and put and emphasis on the mids and treble so the Boombox sounds louder and so that the sound travels a little further. And like I said in the full review, I would have liked if JBL included an outdoors mode button on the Xtreme 2 as well.
But now matter which of these two speakers you pick, they both have JBL connect plus. And like I’ve said in the past, 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. You don’t have to mess around with any bluetooth settings or apps. It just works. Like all of these speakers here are ready to rock and roll.
And I feel that having multiple small speakers paired together at the park, at the beach or at a get together with friends is more useful than having one big speaker like the JBL Boombox playing in the corner. If you have an Xtreme 2 paired up to a few other smaller speakers then you’ll be able to then you’ll be able to cover a larger area with your music without having to blast the volume.
With all that being said, I feel that the JBL Boombox is a great speaker if you plan on keeping it at home most of the time and only plan on occasionally taking it somewhere with you. Don’t get me wrong, its portable but it can be a pain the neck sometimes, literally. But if you plan on taking either of these speakers with you one the go on a regular basis I feel you are much better off with the JBL Xtreme 2 cause of it smaller size and the connivance of the carrying strap. And you also have to take the Boombox’s size into consideration, if you’re like me I just don’t have room for it in my room and thats why the boombox lives in the studio. But no matter which of these speakers you pick, I feel that pairing either one up with a Pulse 3 is a great combo. You get great sound paired with a very good looking light feature.