JBL Charge 3
Some speakers want to be tiny little hi-fis. The JBL Charge 3 is more like a utility belt speaker, ready to take on the world.
It’s fully water resistant and has a giant 6000mAh battery that not only lets it last for 20 hours between charges, but means you can top-up your phone completely without draining the speaker’s stamina too much. There’s a USB port under a rubbery flap on the back for the purpose.
For all its outdoorsy chops, though, it could be a bit more convenient. The JBL Charge is about twice the size of a Bose SoundLink Mini II, a bit like a sonic coffee thermos, and there’s no hook on the thing to let you carabiner it to a rucksack.
Can’t you imagine it on the bag of some trendy-looking millennial hiker? Just us, then?
To each side of the JBL Charge 3 there’s a bass-boosting passive radiator that vibrates like a club subwoofer as music plays, and its larger size comes with greater sound scale and the ability to go louder without any sign of struggle. Again, that extra power will come in handy if you’ll be outside rather than listening to Bob Dylan in your study.
Sound quality isn’t quite at the level of the best here, though. The bass is a little sloppy, with a bit too much rumble. It hangs about.
The Charge 3 is also a little unexpressive next to the highest performers, with cold-sounding and rather flat mids making the Charge 3’s delivery seem rudimentary. Still, for some the extra features and high top volume will mean more than extra sonic sophistication.