JBL's Portable Speaker Line Up Compared

Get Them Here

Today we’re going to break down JBL’s current portable speaker line up. Everything from the small and affordable but surprisingly useful Clip 3, the work horse that is the JBL Flip 4, the Old man Charge 3, the incredible looking Pulse 3, the versatile Xtreme 2 and the big daddy JBL Boombox. Lets find out which of these speakers is right for you. 

Just so we’re clear, this isn’t a full review on either of these speakers… im just trying to point out the most important differences between them 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 Clip 3 is the smallest speaker here and retails for $60, the Flip 4 retails for $100, the Charge 3 retails for $150, the pulse 3 retails for $200, the Xtreme 2 retails for $300, and the JBL Boombox retails for $450. 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 JBL speakers routinely go on sale. And also check out the new Merch shelf down below.

First off, JBL’s whole speaker line up is all about durability and portability. All of these speakers have a fabric mesh covered body that does a very good job at standing up to bumps and scrapes, they’re all IPX 7 rated so they aren’t afraid of a little water, and except for the Clip 3… they all share a similar pill like design with exposed passive radiators on each side. When it comes to charging the speakers, the Clip 3, Flip 4, Charge 3 and Pulse 3 all charge via a micro USB port where as the larger Xtreme 2 and Boombox charge via an AC port on the back. And this small detail is going to be very important when we talk about sound quality in a minute. 

Regarding battery lives, JBL advertises double digit battery lives on all of their speakers… but only expect to hit those numbers if you’re using these speakers at around 50% volume. But I’ve found that using these speakers at around 80% volume (which I feel is more realistic) either one of these speakers should have no problem lasting at least one day of extended listening if you were to take them to the beach or something. Except for the Pulse 3… even though the Pulse 3 does advertise a 12 hour battery life since it also have a light feature to power, its battery life is all over the place. Depending on the brightness and which light mode you’re using your actual battery life will vary… you can get anything from 3 hours of playback time all the way up to maybe ten if you’re using a light setting like jet at a lower brightness. Even though I love the Pulse 3 and its perhaps the coolest looking speaker out there right now, I would really only recommend it if you’re planning on strictly only using it at home. The Pulse 3 is one of those speakers that constantly lives on the charger and even though the acrylic top top is pretty durable, you could possibly scratch it or crack it if you constantly take it on the go with you. Ive dropped my Pulse 3 a few times with out any issues, but its always landed on carpet. 

Ok, now lets talk about speaker set ups… the Clip 3 has a single 40 millimeter transducer and a single bass radiator. The Flip 4 has dual 40 millimeters transducers and dual passive radiators on each side. And the Pulse 3 is kind of like a supe’d up Flip 4, it has 3 40 millimeter transducers all underneath the fabric portion of the speaker which also makes the pulse 3 the only 360 degree speaker here, and since the pulse 3 has larger passive radiators and a higher wattage than the Flip 4 it also manages to get louder and has more bass than the flip 4. The Charge 3 has the same layout as the Flip 4 except it has dual 50 millimeter transducers and it passive radiators are slightly larger as well. But things start to change with the Xtreme 2, it has dual 70 millimeter transducers but its not just a larger Charge 3… The Xtreme 2 also has dual 20 millimeter tweeters. And finally theres the Boombox which has the same layout as the Xtreme 2 but larger. It has dual 101 millimeter transducers, the same 20 millimeter tweeters and dual passive radiators on each side. Now before we jump into the soundest, just know the Boombox is in indoors mode and the Xtreme 2 has the latests firmware update which did over all improve its sound quality. 

The oldest speakers here like the Flip 4 and Charge 3 have sound signatures that put an emphasis on the mids and treble. Even though they do have a good amount of bass, at higher volumes they’ll might start to sound a little bright. But all of the other speakers here have a much more neutral sound signature with just the right amount of bass and treble which make them sound good for almost  every genre of music. And personally I do prefer the newer neutral sound signature over the older brighter sound signature. 

Obviously the larger the speaker here the louder and more bass its going to have. But the Clip 3 has quickly become my most used speaker here just cause I love using it to listen to podcast. The Flip 4 is a good little speaker thats good for both listening to podcasts or music but there is a benefit for going with either the larger Pulse 3 or the charge 3. But personally I prefer how the Pulse 3 sounds over the charge 3. Its sounds more balanced and it has little more bass than the charge 3. Now, remember at the beginning of the video when I said the Xtreme 2 and Boombox charge via an AC port instead of a micro USB port like the other smaller speakers? Well that matters cause these larger speakers sound different from when they’re running off of their battery versus when they’re plugged in. The Xtreme 2 is rated at 20 watts when running off of it battery and 40 watts while plugged in, where as the Boombox is 40 watts when running off of its battery and 60 watts while its plugged in. And when either of these speakers are plugged in they are going to get louder and they are also going to sound fuller. The Xtreme 2 does get more than loud enough and is able to easily fill a room with music,   but if you want that thunderous bass thats going to shake your insides than the Boombox is the way to go.

When it comes to bluetooth connectivity all of these speakers have solid and reliable connections with very little latency which is good for videos. And these speakers also have JBL connect plus which is by far the easiest way to pair multiple speakers together. You just press on button on each speaker and they’ll figure the rest out by themselves. It just works. But unfortunately the clip 3 doesn’t have JBL connect plus. Which personally I think is a huge let down. 

So lets wrap things up, I personally really like the Clip 3 cause I love using it to listen to podcasts. Since its super small and has a very strong bluetooth connection I can leave my phone charging in one room and easily move about the house while im doing chores without missing any of my JK news. And since it has a good battery life I can use it for multiple days. If you’re on a tighter budget you cant go wrong with the Flip 4, its an all around good speaker for personal listening. But if you want something larger than the Flip 4 then I would get the Charge 3 if you plan on constantly taking it on the go with you or if you need that consistently long battery life. But if you just want speaker strictly to use at home then I would go for the Pulse 3 instead of the Charge 3. But if you’re going to spend the big bucks then I would get the Xtreme 2 if you plan on using it at home equally as much as taking it on the go with you. It is much easier to travel with the Xtreme 2 instead of the Boombox cause of that carrying strap. But if you want a big speaker thats mostly going to live at home and only occasionally plan on taking it somewhere then I would get the JBL Boombox. Each of these speakers have their own pros and cons and depending on your needs one it definitely going to be better than the other. Now the majority of the speakers are pretty early on into their life cycles, but personally I think the Charge 3 and maybe Flip 4 are next inline to be upgraded at CES 2019. Aside from battery improvements, I would like to see fast charging, and maybe even tweeters on the charge 4.