JBL - JBL Boombox


JBL Boombox: an exceptional nomad speaker

Aprox. 288€ - see price -

See specifications

Launched at € 499, the JBL Boombox aims to be the most powerful and imposing portable transportable speaker on the market. It takes up the concept of the excellent Xtreme, to push it to its maximum.

Positive points

Overall homogeneous and serious restitution which goes down very low.

Neat and very robust construction.

Easy to use.

Effective hands-free micro kit.

Two devices that can be recharged simultaneously.

Good autonomy.

Huge power reserve ...

Bad points

… But difficult to use.

Sounds too flattering in some areas.

We would have liked a wider stereo.

Unable to return to the previous song.

High wireless communication latency.

Our review


Take a speaker with handle of more than 5 kg, give it a foolproof resistance, Bluetooth, add a 20,000 mAh battery, two USB ports for charging external devices and a large sound system, and you get the modern day ghetto-blaster. The JBL Boombox is a speaker that has chosen its name well!



Although it takes up the concept of the Xtreme, the Boombox has little to do with it in terms of size. This nomadic enclosure raised on steroids (we are still talking about 5.25 kg!) Borrows the tubular design of its cousins in a very, very large format. So that the speaker can be transported more easily, JBL has grafted a large handle on it which also offers an excellent grip. An ergonomic choice which gives it a serious ghetto-blaster air ...

In terms of construction and finishing, there is nothing to complain about. Like many of the manufacturer's speakers, the Boombox is almost entirely surrounded by a large grid in mesh rope, supplemented by a thick and robust plastic chassis. The choice of materials and assembly, very well done, give the enclosure a very particular resistance to shocks, drops and water (IPX7 certification). It can resist splashing water and even immersion.

The speaker is very easy to use. Regulars of the brand will find themselves there very quickly, since the interface is simply the same as on the Xtreme, Flip 4 or Charge 3, for example. Neophytes will also have no trouble taking it in hand and using all of its features.

There are almost all the possible commands on a product of this type: power on / off, Bluetooth pairing, management of reading, calls (a microphone is integrated for the hands-free kit function), listening volume, switching to the next song and activating JBL Connect + mode. If you omit latency each time you press the pause / play button, all controls are responsive. In addition, numerous sound and light signals are there to guide the user (battery level, pairing, maximum and minimum volume limit, etc.). However, there is still no way to return to the previous song.

The JBL Boombox can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.2 (up to two devices simultaneously) or wired thanks to the 3.5 mm mini-jack input. The JBL Connect + function gives the possibility of connecting several compatible speakers to each other (up to 100 officially), either to increase the power tenfold, or to make a stereo pair. The procedure can be done by the button located on the enclosure or via the dedicated application. In addition to the mini-jack input, the cover behind the speaker also conceals two USB ports for charging mobile devices.

The JBL Connect mobile app is available on Android and iOS. It simplifies the connection between speakers in JBL Connect + mode, allows you to change the audio mode, deactivate the sound indications and / or the built-in microphone, gives an indication of the remaining battery level and the possibility of using the speaker for the voice assistant of the smartphone (integrated speaker and microphone coupled with Google Assistant or Siri of the smartphone).

On paper, JBL announces 24 hours of autonomy for the Boombox. In practice, we were able to check it without difficulty, even with one or two smartphones on constant charge.

The microphone built into this speaker does a good job of capturing, whether indoors or outdoors. Although you have to be less than a meter away from the speaker to be sure you are heard and understood, the voice remains intelligible.



We greatly appreciate the sound performance of the JBL Xtreme, which turns out to be powerful, precise and balanced. So we expected a similar experience on this model, with even more power, but this is not quite the case.

By stopping only at the frequency response, we could say that the Boombox offers a very nice listening experience. The restitution is homogeneous and particularly impressive below 50% of the maximum volume approximately. It is true that the speaker descends very early in the bass, around 45 Hz. The bass is distinguished by their very good depth and their percussive aspect, even if better management of the crossover between the passive radiators and the dedicated speakers seriously would have been welcome. We perceive much more the sensation of acoustic pressure brought by the radiators, which flatter also a very localized area around 55 Hz, materializing in the form of a fairly marked resonance on the note "la". Balance is essential, from low mids to highs. The restitution is clear, sharp and we can clearly see all the instruments. The voices, in particular, stand out well. Like the bass extremes, the treble extremes are favored, which accentuates the harmonics of the cymbals, the effects of parts and the feeling of air. Even at a reasonable level of listening, we still feel a pinch, scintillating tendency in this area. Switching from indoor listening mode to outdoor listening mode accentuates the flattering V-shape of the Boombox, further promoting bass / treble and treble / treble extremes.

The performance is there, but it is however counting without the distortion, which sows trouble in some critical areas. Indeed, given the format and the incredible power reserve of the speaker, which can also comfortably sound your activities inside and outside, we really want to be able to use it as it is must. The distortion, which we already suspect some effects at a moderate listening level, wakes up fairly quickly when we push the speaker more seriously, especially with trying songs (with little dynamics and very rich in harmonics). You quickly get something much less subtle: certain pumping effects in the bass can appear, the mids lose precision and the treble becomes more and more scintillating, which has become particularly tiring in the long run (hissing of the voice, cymbals, claps and harmonics of electric guitars, for example). Depending on the mix of the songs you listen to and where you are (indoors or outdoors), the speaker remains usable from 65 to 80% of the maximum volume, in the best of cases.

Stereophonic broadcasting is good, but we have known more immersive. We would have liked the speaker to take advantage of its large size to offer us a true stereo width and, why not, a directivity a bit less tight towards the front. Remember to place it rather in the direction of the listening area to benefit from the best possible restitution.

As we noticed when using the speaker and especially the pause / play button, the latency of wireless communication is particularly important. While some sources on smartphones offer innate latency compensation (Netflix, Facebook, YoutTube, etc.), this is not the case for many others. If your player allows, compensate for this significant delay so that you can follow your video correctly. In the worst case, you can go through the wired connection.



The JBL Boombox is a real powerhouse, it's undeniable. It is also a very easy to use and extremely robust speaker, which offers multiple connection possibilities. On the other hand, the early awakening of the distortion and the lack of precision and subtlety in certain zones prevent from truly exploiting its capacities. If you do not want to burden yourself with such a mastodon and do not need a speaker resistant to immersion in water, lean instead on the side of the JBL Xtreme. It offers a better compromise between performance and size, and for the same budget, you can even buy two copies.