Sturdy and powerful. That’s the reputation JBL has established for itself over the years. The latest Charge 3 had managed to successfully live up to the standards set by its predecessors. The heavy-duty portable speaker costing S$279 packs on tremendous volume and bass. However, it fares slightly unfavourably in terms of portability and weight.
- Aesthetic and strong build
- Fantastic bass for its price point
- Weakened highs
- Larger than ideal
The JBL Charge 3 is a pretty big speaker, coming in at 213 x 87 x 88.5 mm and weighs in at 800g. It is possible to fit the Charge 3 into most backpacks, but you might not have the luxury of doing that with some sling bags. The wide circumference also makes it difficult to grip with one hand, and as a guy with a fairly large palm size, that says a lot.
This heavy duty speaker however, looks awesome. Built with a solid rubber frame and a cotton mesh, the JBL speaker feels incredibly solid and sturdy. The pill-like design feels similar to its competitors, the UE MEGABOOM, but its unique grooves makes it appear a tad more futuristic and rugged.
The woofers can be found at the poles of the speaker and the power, volume and bluetooth controls can be found on the main body of the Charge 3.
It even has a flat surface on its rounded body so you can set it down horizontally, something the purely cylindrical MEGABOOM doesn’t have.
The Charge 3 is also a waterproof device with an IPX7 rating and that means you can submerge the speaker in water for 30 minutes, up to 1 metre. So accidentally dropping it in water during pool parties or by the beach isn’t an issue.
The Charge 3 is huge and slightly heavy for a portable speaker. However, it makes up for it in terms of by showing off some massive bass and impressive maximum volume, so it works great as an outdoor speaker.
The bass is great for EDM music, Closer by The Chainsmokers was fantastic, rocking out to Hardwell’s Off the Hook was also great because the beats weren’t just low, but incredibly tight and punchy. There is also a strong feel of resonance and echo when you play songs on the Charge 3, giving off a truly surreal experience few portable speakers at this price point can provide.
The mids and highs were alright, but could be improved on. Electric guitars and acoustic music seemed to pale in comparison to the strong EDM tracks. Perhaps you could say that the highs didn’t come off as crisp as I hoped for it to be.
Vocals on the other hand, still sounded impressive and the replication feels quite accurate.
The Charge 3 is an incredible 20-hour battery life like its competitor the UE MEGABOOM that costs over S$100 more than the Charge 3. For a sub S$300 speaker, the device is certainly way above the industry average. The high capacity battery could be the reason why the speaker weighed more than its counterparts.
Should you get the JBL Charge 3? Well, if you don’t mind the larger size of this portable speaker, and you are willing to sacrifice portability for an extra powerful bass, then by all means, yes. The price tag of S$279 is also reasonable, being over a S$100 cheaper than its competitor the UE MEGABOOM, but still packing on almost the same clarity and impactful audio quality. So if you are in the market for a heavy-duty waterproof bluetooth speaker, look no further.