JBL Charge 3 review | What Hi-Fi?

It doesn’t take a sleuth of Sherlock Holmes’ stature to discover the killer characteristic of the JBL Charge 3. The clue is within the title.

This portable Bluetooth speaker is blessed with a 6000mAh battery, which is darn spectacular - although its lately announced successor, the Charge 4, takes that to 7500mAh. It doesn’t just permit the speaker to tick over for the most efficient part of 20 hours; it can also be used to resuscitate a flagging smartphone or pill.

As lengthy as you've got the relevant USB cable to hand, you can attach your instrument to the USB socket at the again of the Charge 3 speaker and piggy-back the built-in battery.

The characteristic is not at all distinctive to the JBL Charge 3, and while it isn’t a game-changer, it isn’t the only string to this speaker’s bow.


The Charge 3 has been designed with portability in mind and fits neatly into the corporate’s existing speaker range. It’s larger than the petite JBL Flip and JBL Link 20 however now not as hefty as the JBL Xtreme.

This makes the Charge 3 a good dimension for flinging in a rucksack and taking in your travels.

And due to its rugged design, the speaker travels extraordinarily smartly. It looks powerful and durable – and feels simply as tricky and hardy in hand.

This is no doubt a speaker that might relatively luckily cope with an energetic tenting weekend or beach holiday.

MORE: How to choose the right wireless speaker

The JBL is wrapped in a different protecting cloth and available in a range of colors, which isn’t too dissimilar from that used on competitors such as the UE Boom 2.

This subject matter, blended with the remainder of the Charge 3’s design results in an IPX7-certified speaker, which will have to survive half-hour underwater at a most intensity of one metre.

Handy to grasp should you’re cruising along to your kayak and it happens to fall overboard.

MORE: Ultimate Ears Boom 2 review


The speaker sits on a built-in rubberised stand, which is punctuated via a small row of LED lighting, which indicate battery lifestyles. The extra lights lit, the longer the battery existence left.

Follow the stand round to the again of the Charge 3 and also you’ll see a rubber panel. Stick your nail within the gap, pull it away and there’s a choice of inputs lurking beneath.

There’s a 3.5mm socket for a more stable wired connection in your phone, and both a micro USB socket and a Type C USB socket for charging smartphones and the like.

Make positive the panel is put securely again in position, or else it's essential compromise its water-resistance.

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The characteristic count doesn’t prevent right here, even though. There’s a integrated mic, which fits with the speaker’s noise and echo-cancelling era for hands-free calling.

You too can crew up with other compatible JBL speakers to supersize your set-up. This is finished by urgent the JBL Connect button and linking speakers in combination using the JBL Connect app, to be had for Android and iOS.

Press and hang the Bluetooth emblem on top of the speaker and the Charge fires out a small tone to help you realize it’s searching for your smartphone. It chirps again to acknowledge you’ve been paired up.

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Given the JBL’s rugged and sturdy construct, you gained’t be stunned to listen to the Charge 3 sounds neither shy nor hesitant. It’s an enthusiastic, tough sound, highlighted by means of the passive radiators pulsing vigorously at both finish of the speaker.

They’re relatively a mesmerising sight, but drag your attention clear of them for a 2nd and also you’ll be capable to respect the Charge’s full of life nature.

Stream Delphic’s Ppp over Bluetooth and the JBL Charge 3 has no issues with force, because the tune pulses and kilos alongside.

The JBL’s closest rival is one thing just like the UE Boom 2 (£120). Here, the JBL sounds extra really extensive and provides more weight and substance to voices and bass kicks.

Switch to the The Hills through The Weeknd, and the Charge 3 will get the emotion and pace of his vocal good. Again, lows sound weighty and extremely powerful – the bassline extends and reaches down with the speaker showing an outstanding level of control.

The UE equivalent sounds a touch extra expressive in the midrange, but just isn’t capable of the similar scale and authority that lends itself smartly to a portable outdoor-friendly speaker just like the JBL.

MORE: Audio file: Scott Devendorf, The National & LNZNDRF


There’s no riddle the place the JBL Charge 3 is concerned and the evidence speaks for itself.

It might not be the newest speaker in JBL's Charge family, but that does not prevent it being a versatile wi-fi speaker with a advantageous feature set and excellent sound quality. For its worth (which has dropped since we first reviewed it), it is very good.


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