Water and music go hand in hand. When boombox was introduced in the 1970s, one of the first things people did was take it to the beach. A decade before boombox, we had Frankie and Annette singing in the Beach Party and its successors, and Elvis doing his job in Blue Hawaii. Given that legacy, the explosion of wireless waterproof speakers in the market is no surprise. Here are two models of JBL speakers, a company that easily ranks in the top four brands for wireless speakers. They may just be the ticket when you and your family head into the water this summer.
One of the best things about the JBL Charge 3 waterproof wireless speaker is that it has the ability to double as an electric bank. Its 6000 mAH lithium-ion battery will power your tablet and smartphone even if it plays music.
Its own battery can power the speaker for 20 hours, a duration that few rivals can beat; In fact, Fugoo is the only one that comes to mind. So you don’t need to worry about the speaker battery dying in the middle of a party on your beach — or about your sound source being turned off.
The sound is huge. At its highest volume, it fills a pool area about 40 square meters wide, while competing with the low noise of pool pumps and the flow of water from two decorative waterfalls. I did not detect any distortions; and in a quieter grassy area behind the pool, I could hear the speaker with more clarity. If you have your own pool or if you live in a housing complex with no noise limits, JBL Charge 3 gives you the opportunity to relax. It’s an ideal speaker for poolside parties. At a crowded beach, the JBL Charge 3 will easily compete with even the most demanding beachgoers.
The speaker has some great features. It is waterproof, with an IPX7 rating, which means it can withstand complete flooding at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. So if it accidentally falls or is simply splashed, you don’t need to worry. The convenient string link feature allows you to wirelessly connect some Charge 3 speakers so that they can play the same track from the same device. A button dedicated to this purpose is located on top of the speaker. Press it and the speaker will find the others. Working unanimously, they will dominate any pool area.
The JBL Charge 3 also includes an external speaker so you can make calls. The music will stop when the phone rings. Press the play button above to accept the call. When you make a call, the JBL Charge 3 turns into an external speaker and a good speaker there. The voice emitted is much louder and clearer than the iPhone speaker. And the person on the other end of the line will also hear you better.
JBL Charge 3 has an attractive design. It is covered with fabric-like materials with rubber at some important points, such as to cover usb ports, mini-USB and 3.5 mm line ports. Two external dual passive radiators are viewable, each at one end. The speaker looks so beautiful that I wish it came with some kind of packaging to protect it. JBL says that this fabric is durable, but it seems that keys and other objects bouncing around the bag carried on the way to the beach could damage it. The JBL Charge 3 is available in five colors: Black, Blue, Grey, Red and Purple.
The only disadvantage of the speaker is its large size (8.4 x 3.4 x 3.4 x 3.5 inches). It weighs 1.7 pounds, which can start to feel a bit heavy, depending on how long you need to carry it and how many other items you’re carrying (probably quite a lot, if you have your child with you).
The JBL Charge 3 retails for $150.
JBL Clip 2 gives you all the technology that the JBL Charge 3 has, but assembles it in a more compact form. This speaker is about the same size and shape as a hockey ball. It even has almost the same weight: A ball weighs on the scales at 6.0 ounces; Clip 2, at 6.6 ounces.
Clip 2 produces a sound that is obvious, surprisingly warm and easy to hear within a 4-yard radius. It doesn’t sound as dominant as the Charge 3, but that’s not a bad thing in many settings. Clip 2 is ideal for a shared pool with strict noise rules. You and your family can expand your music space while still caring about others.
Attached to the top surface of the speaker is a metal carabiner so you can hang it from the waist ring, backpack or anything in between. This carabiner is a big upgrade over the plastic ring that comes with previous Clip products, greatly increasing the range of things you can hook it into.
Aesthetically, orange metal carabiners are also more pleasant.
The lithium-ion battery of the JBL Clip 2 lasts 8 hours, enough time for any day, except the longest day at the beach or by the pool. You recharge the battery via the included mini-USB-to-USB cable.
When you turn them on, both Clip 2 and Charge 3 produce cool sounds reminiscent of a rotating motorcycle engine. When you turn off the speaker, the engine sound goes down.
JBL Clip 2 retails for $60.