Tong Zhang
(Senior Editor)
09/22/15 07:18 PM
JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker Review

Those who have enjoyed JBL home theater speakers, car audio and professional audio monitors should be happy to hear that the company now offers a variety of portable wireless speakers for mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker is one of the largest models and it features JBL's signature clear and precise sound. The JBL Xtreme offers sizeable drivers that produce very high volume and passive radiators for strong bass, both Bluetooth wireless connection and 3.5mm AUX port, splash proof for using on the beach, by the pool or in the rain, and it has a good-sized rechargeable battery. The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker comes in black, blue and red.



Design

JBL has adopted a tube-shaped design for its portable speaker collection, and the JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker is no exception. Its large size separates it from the other JBL portable speakers though. Measuring 11.14" long and 4.8" thick, the speaker weights 4.66 lbs. which is still portable if you take it to the backyard for a pool party or to the beach. The Xtreme actually has two metal mounts on the top edges and comes with a shoulder strap to help you carry it over your shoulder. The tube-shaped speaker comes in black, blue and red exterior metal grille with black hard plastic ends that protect the movable bass radiators. The solid construction protects the drivers and electronics inside the speaker tube from bumps and bruises, and it also provides splash protection. You can use the speaker in the rain or even wash it, just don't submerge it.



The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker has large and easy-to-use control buttons on the top of the tube that include power on/off button, Bluetooth button, play/pause/call button, volume controls and the JBL Connect button which allows other JBL speakers to be connected to the same mobile device and play the same track. The speaker has rubber feet that elevate the tube off the surface and at the back and near the bottom, you'll find a zippered compartment that hides the ports from water splashes. Unzipp the closure, you'll find the AC port, two full-sized USB charging ports and the 3.5mm audio in port.

Audio

The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker has a big sound. In fact, you'll be hard pressed to find a space where you need to turn the volume to max. It sounds very loud at even 50% of its full volume. The JBL has two 35mm tweeters and two 63mm woofers on the inside and two passive radiators, one on each end of the speaker. The audio quality is excellent; not only will you get balanced bass, mid and lows but also very good reproduction of the tracks as they were intended to sound. With the JBL Xtreme, you can take advantage of their professional audio monitoring technologies that reproduce precise quality of the sound in full dynamic range. Symphonies have the clarity that allows you to hear the characteristics of each instrument, the timber of the woodwind and brass sound, the different sound of bowing, plucking and striking of strings, all clearly reproduced. The speaker gives you clear vocal, keyboard and guitar sound in Rock tracks, and also provides enough bass to get those radiators pumping. The bass however isn't muddied or overwhelming other channels and personalities in the same track, an achievement for a speaker in this size and beating out even the fan-favs such as the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio Bluetooth speaker in clarity and clean sound. If one has to pick something from this over-all very excellent audio tuning, it would be the slight sibilant sounding in harsh cymbals and vocals with high and harsh edges.



Bluetooth

The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker has built-in Bluetooth 4.1 with support for AD2P and AVRCP for stereo streaming and HFP and HSP for voice calls. The speaker is super easy to pair and connect, and it can pair with multiple devices though only work with one at a time. The speaker reconnects automatically with previously connected devices when powered on, and it offers audio feedback for pairing and connecting actions. We tested the JBL Xtreme with several phones including the iPhone 6s, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Note 5, as well as tablets including the iPad mini 4, and found that the speaker paired and connected with all easily. The Bluetooth range is good, and the distance between the mobile device and the speaker reached over 25 feet.

Battery

The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker comes with a 37Wh rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery and a 19V 3A AC adapter. The beefy battery is good for all-day audio playback should you take it to the beach or a poolside party and thanks to its powerful AC adapter the speaker takes less than 3 hours to recharge. The Xtreme's large body affords more room for useful ports, and the speaker takes advantage of that by offering two full-sized USB charging ports for your smartphone or tablet. Each of the USB ports outputs 1A when both are in use, or 2A when one is in use. You can charge your mobile devices using the battery of the speaker or, since the speaker supports power pass-through, you can charge your mobile devices when the speaker is plugged into power. Very convenient!



Conclusion

The JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker is an excellent speaker for indoor and outdoor parties, events and trips. At over 4 lbs., the speaker is still portable and with Bluetooth, it's great to work with your mobile phones or tablets. The speaker offers very clear and clean audio in music playback, movie playback and voice calls, and it's very loud and has powerful bass. The built-in battery can get the speaker through the day and can also charge your phone or tablet in a pinch. If you're looking for a portable speaker that's tuned to thump in Rap and Hip Hop, this isn't it. But if you're looking for a portable speaker that produces precise and balanced sound, the JBL Xtreme Portable Speaker should be one of the top choices on the market.


Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Loud and clear audio, Bluetooth works smoothly, good battery life and charges your mobile devices, splash proof.
What's Not: Has some lag in Bluetooth audio and a slight hissing effect in harsh cymbal and vocal range.
Price: $299.95
Website: JBL

Reviewed by: Tong Zhang








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