So is anyone else out there sick of computer speakers with their copious amounts of cables, needing to be connected to each other and then the computer, taking up space, power points and inputs on your computer? I was. I just wanted some desk space back, something that worked without toppling over every time I needed to turn it on, and something which produced good sound.
And I found it, in the form of the Harman JBL Charge 3 portable Bluetooth speaker.
I personally think most people would have a spot in their lives for one of these speakers. They are portable, waterproof, awesome quality, and come in colours to suit all tastes.
So..whats in the box?
1 x JBL Charge 3 speaker.
1 x Micro USB cable.
1 x 5v 2.3 A USB adapter
1 x safety sheet
1 x warranty card
1 x quick start guide
Quick Start Guide: So as it suggests, it’s a guide to get you up and going quickly. Its multi-lingual, so should cater to most. Can also be downloaded from the JBL website HERE.
Warranty card. Well hopefully this is something you would not have to worry about, but basically it gives the usual rundown of whats covered, whats not, and how to claim the benefit of a warranty should you need to.
Safety sheet. A pretty in depth little booklet which is Multi-lingual. Provides useful information, such as how to dispose of the battery in the Charge 3.
USB adapter. As seen in the picture above, this comes complete with 3 different plug types, which click into place on the adapter unit. Power supply is 5V / 2.3A. Battery life of the Lithium-Ion Polymer battery is up to 20 Hours, but this will depend on the volume level and content of the music you are playing. It will take approximately 4.5 hours to fully charge the battery. The USB adapter is in a fantastic orange, so there is no way you will confuse it with any of your other adapters/chargers.
Micro USB cable. Also in bright orange. Standard cord. Used for charging the speaker, and can be reversed to charge your peripherals.
And then we have the speaker…….Lets get down to the good stuff!
So there it is in its glory. I chose the teal colour and am absolutely happy with it. The first thing you notice is the woven cover, which is described by JBL as “lifestyle material, a durable fabric material”. It adds an awesome aesthetic texture, and makes the colour really pop. The rubberised ends and base provide grip and shock absorption.
On the back is a small flap, which houses the micro USB connection , a regular USB connection, and a 3.5mm Jack. The micro USB port is to charge the speaker. The regular USB port is for charging your peripherals, such as phones and tablets, and this is possible while you are using the speaker. This flap closes and seals to provide complete IPX7 certified waterproofing. IPX7 waterproofing means that the speaker is not only water resistant, but waterproof. It will withstand getting sprayed with water, but can also be totally submerged to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. So don’t be afraid to use this speaker poolside, or at the beach!
The speaker is a good size, being 213 x 87 x 88.5mm (W x D x H) and feels heavy for its size at 800g. But bear in mind, this little speaker packs a whopping 6000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery which will allow you up to 20 hours of use (depending on how you use it). This bigger battery makes the Charge 3 heavier and bigger than its predecessor the charge 2+, which was popular for its sound quality and portability and considered by many a tough act to follow. But the Charge 3 far dominates in the featured packed end of the market.
On top of the speaker you will see a row of buttons. These are: left to right, as seen in the photo below: Bluetooth®, – volume, power, JBL connection button, + volume and play/pause. Although some reviewers complain that there is a lack of a skip button on the Charge 3, I found that quickly double pressing the play/pause button acts the same as a skip button, moving the music to the next track, so this is not a failure by any means of the Charge 3.
The Bluetooth® in this speaker is version 4.1. Bluetooth® transmitter frequency range: 2.402 – 2.480GHz . The speaker provides simple and effective Bluetooth pairing, which allows you to connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets at one time, allowing multiple users to control the music streaming, without having to pair and un-pair. Additional to this great feature is the JBL connection app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet, and used to wirelessly connect more than 100 JBL speakers together. This means the listening range is GREATLY increased! For outside listening, this provides FANTASTIC and LOUD sound quality! The JBL connection app allows you to see the battery life of your speaker, which will also display on start up as a row of small lights along the stand on the base. (5 lights indicates fully charged, 1 indicates almost dead battery). You can connect 2 of the same speakers together to create a stereo effect and connect with one button to google voice assistant or Siri.
The Charge 3 offers great sounding Bass, and on all accounts, only slightly fails in the treble range of sounds. But all in all…this is a fantastic sounding speaker for general use. The slightly lacking treble, in my opinion is not a concern. It did not alter the music I have listened to through it. I found it to have a really nice mellowed sound, which I would prefer to a tinny sound which can be an issue if treble is too enhanced. The exposed dual passive bass radiators on the ends of the speaker can be seen vibrating when music is played, and are the reason these speakers have such good bass. The Charge 3 can be used horizontally or vertically, but personally I prefer horizontally, as I found standing the speaker vertically muffled the sounds a bit, and reduced the depth of the bass.
The Charge 3 also features a microphone, so taking hands free phone calls is a reality, and with increased noise and echo cancelling features, the sound is great. This also means that the Charge 3 can be successfully used to make conference calls.
2016 saw Harman JBL Charge 3 win several awards: the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Award for European mobile speaker category, and the iF Design award (which is regarded as one of the most important design competitions in the world.)
Image courtesy: https://ifworlddesignguide.com/
Price: Retails at $199 AUD (current at time of publishing)
Great Bluetooth® connectivity
Connects to other speakers to produce a network of sound
Can pair with up to 3 devices without having to pair and re-pair
Great app, which works in harmony with the product
Ability to charge your peripheral devices
Up to 20 hours of battery life
Rugged hard-wearing materials
Small loss of treble sound quality.
I would DEFINITELY recommend this product. It has made life easier for me, simplified my audio setup and I enjoy using it!