I’ll admit it. I am old enough to remember “the olden days” as my 6 year old would call them. That time in the 80’s and 90’s where you weren’t cool (or is that you weren’t a tool) unless you were walking down the street sporting a massive boombox pumping out music that would offend all and sundry.
These days such offences are primarily committed by teens (it’s always the teens no matter what generation we’re in) blaring the likes of Bieber from tinny smartphone speakers or from portable bluetooth speakers. Such devices don’t carry the same swagger that the once mighty boombox did. That massive box carried on ones shoulder, arm draped over it and unbeknownst to said cool/tool person sporting the boombox, no doubt ruinging their hearing in one ear don the track. Let’s face it no-one is walking round with a little UE Boom or JBL portable bluetooth speaker slung over there shoulder thinking they are the shizz. That is until now, with JBL’s homage to the past with their powerful, portable JBL Boombox.
Now let’s get one thing clear from the start. If you actually see me carrying the JBL Boombox down the street blaring out ridiculously loud sound with this beast next to my ear its only because I destroyed my hearing in the 90’s carrying a boombox around listening to gangsta rap (I was pretty fly for a white guy). This ladies and gentlemen is not me trying to be offensive to the general public, it’s my only way to actually hear music now!
Old man stories aside, let me move onto the review.
Let’s get one thing straight. When JBL calls this thing a Boombox they are not lying! The Boombox is, well, a proper boombox for all intents and purposes. It is a monstrous beast of a portable bluetooth speaker that puts the average bluetooth speaker to shame. The Boombox is 25.45cm high x 49.5cm wide x 19.55 cm deep. Throw in a weight of about 5kg and everything confirms that this is one heafty bluetooth speaker.
The rest of the design is pretty much in line with JBL standard. Fabric and plastic coupled with water-resistance. Yep, water-resistance so for those inclined you can take the Boombox into the water with you for the ultimate pool party.
That design is flanked are two passive radiatorsat either end end and hiding inside are dual 20mm tweeters powered by the 4-inch subs. Up top you’ve got a few relatively discreet buttons for powering on/off, adjusting the volume and pairing the speaker. On the back you’ve got the power adapter, 3.5mm aux-in, a couple of USB ports that will charge your phone and a microUSB port.
Oh and there is also a built-in mic if you wanna really act like a boss and take calls on this bad boy.
The JBL connect app is useful for assisting with setup but that aside, it is pretty much useless aside from changing a few sound settings. There is no equalizer so you can’t do much in the way of customising sound outside of the presets.
When it comes to sound, the Boombox performs just like it looks; like an absolute beast. This thing can get loud, I mean REALLY loud. If any Bluetooth speaker is gonna make noise control show up this is it.
The beauty of the sound is that unlike many bluetooth speakers, the Boombox does not suffer from sound distortion even when cranked up to permanent deafness levels of decibel.
Heavy bass thumps through the speakers at appropriate room rattling levels and you’ll even see the passive radiators heaving as bass is pumped out. On the treble side of things you’ll find a well balanced audio profile that delivers crisp vocals with well balanced instrumentals, accompanied by that satisfying thump of bass when required.
The Boombox can be plugged into power by standard adapter but it can also last 24 hours when not plugged in. Although when you get below 20% battery life you’ll hear a constant low buzz from the speaker that is less than desirable.
We took the Boombox in the car on a road trip and whilst it takes up a great deal of space it takes roadtripping to a whole new level. It’s equally at home in the home or outside while entertaining.
With a pricetag of around $630 the Boombox is by no means a cheap portable speaker. That being said it is a hefty unit that performs fantastically well even at riot inducing sound levels. If you want to be the life of the party then your $630 would be well spent on one of the best portable bluetooth speakers on the market, just don’t go carrying it around everywhere with you because your arm will get sore!