In this piece, we offer our JBL Charge 3 power bank Bluetooth speaker review, features, specs, facts and impressions. We cover this small-to-moderately sized waterproof speaker’s performance, and accessories, and mention how you can charge your mobile devices with its power bank feature.
JBL Charge 3 Power Bank Bluetooth Speaker Review, Features, Specs
The JBL Charge 3 sounds great and can play pretty loud. It has noticeably more bass than those models in the JBL Flip family. Plus, even when playing at top volume, the built-in rechargeable battery lasts up to twenty hours per charge. And, perhaps the most intriguing feature, is that you can recharge your cell phone, tablet, or other mobile device right from this speaker’s 6000 milliamp hour battery. Pretty neat!
Perhaps the one notable downside we saw with this JBL 3 speaker, is that its two bass radiators at each end of the Charge 3 cylinder, are essentially unprotected. Thus, the included instructions warn against touching or pressing them. But especially for outdoor, beachside use, we feel that JBL should cover these vibrating diaphragms with some sort of protective, hard grill. This would assure that they would not be damaged by someone pressing in on them too far.
Otherwise though, this JBL 3 Bluetooth speaker is an awesome purchase, for just over a hundred US dollars.
We explore its high and low points below. And, we’re sure that after that, you’ll feel as we do, that the JBL Charge 3 is an excellent portable Bluetooth speaker and power bank over all. Go ahead and buy one this summer to take oceanside. It really livens up the party.
Charge 3 JBL Bluetooth Speaker Advantages, Benefits, Pros, and Features
As we’d expect from JBL, this Bluetooth speaker has far more advantages than disadvantages. Next, we give what we found to be it’s positive features and advantages.
Built In Pedestal Stand
The Charge 3, when laid horizontally, does not roll so easily as the Flip models. Why? Because it includes a permanently attached rubber like support stand pedestal, as shown next.
This boot-like perch stops most speaker rolling when placed on flat, level surfaces. It also prevents the grill cloth surrounding much of the rest of the speaker from touching the ground and getting soiled. We’re glad that JBL included this big foot in this Charge series model. It indeed keeps the speaker more clean and prevents it from rolling away.
Lots of Useful Controls
This third version of the JBL Charge wireless speaker has six buttons. These include Power, Play-Pause, Volume UP and DOWN, Pairing, and Connect+. See these in the next picture.
Multi Function Power Lamp
Note the glowing white power button on this Charge JBL 3 speaker in the picture above. When you turn the speaker on, this button lights white, meaning that the speaker is standing by but not currently paired. But when successful pairing occurs, this button turns bright blue, as pointed at by the green arrow in the next picture. You always know speaker status by how the power lamp glows.
Splashproof and Waterproof
This JBL splashproof speaker can take a few drops of water, and can even be submerged in water for short periods without damage. Just be sure you have the charge port door completely snapped shut. Otherwise, water might get inside and damage BT speaker electronics. IPX7 rated. Rain will not hurt it. If you drop it into a chlorinated swimming pool, just rinse this JBL Flip waterproof speaker in fresh tap water when the party is over.
The JBL Charge 3 Speaker has a Built in Rechargeable Battery
The JBL Flip battery that comes in this Bluetooth speaker fully charges in under four hours. With medium play volumes, this battery lasts roughly twelve hours per charge.
Battery Status Lights
The JBL Charge 3 has a five LED battery level gage. When the speaker is powered on, one or more lamps light up to show how much charge is left in the power bank battery. To save power, they go out after several seconds. However, you can read them again by pressing the volume UP or DOWN keys on the top of the unit.
Sealed Micro USB Charge In and Out Ports
How to charge JBL Charge 3? The Charge 3 has a port cover, as pictured above. Open this cover by prying with a fingernail, coin, or key, and find the USB power port inside. Connect the BT speaker with any 2.3 amp or higher USB charger (one is included) with the accessory USB cable. Plug the adapter into AC power, and let charge for about four and a half to five hours.
JBL USB Charging Cable Included with the JBL Charge 3 Speaker
The JBL Charge 3 comes with a micro USB charging cable. The cable we received is bright orange in color, and is about forty inches long. Quite flexible. You use this cable not only for recharging the Charge 3 speaker. But it also works when recharging a mobile device that accepts a micro USB input charging.
USB Charger Adapter Included
JBL includes a 5 volt 2.3 amp AC USB adapter with this speaker.
Recharges your Mobile Devices, Phones, Tablets, and Other Speakers
The built-in 6 amp hour power bank battery acts as a mobile power supply to recharge many portable devices that accept USB level charging voltages and currents. The larger of the two USB ports (the USB A connector) on the JBL Charge 3 provides USB power.
Connect a high current USB cord between this port and the phone / tablet / USB device you wish to charge. Charging from the speaker seems to progress as quickly as when you charge your device from a wall charger.
However, depending on the size of device that you’re recharging, the speaker may not have enough power to fully charge it, even when the speaker is itself fully charged. In our tests, we found that a fully charged JBL Charge 3 charged our iPad Air tablet from forty to sixty percent full, before running dead. However, the Charge 3 has plenty of juice when completely charged, to fully charge smaller phone or other less power hungry USB devices.
Can Act as a Speakerphone
When paired with a smartphone, you can answer calls with buttons on the JBL Charge 3. They’re quite clear too, owing to the built in echo and noise reduction circuits.
Siri and Google Now Support
When paired with phones that support these voice assistants, you can access these assistants through the speaker with a button press. Go into the JBL Connect+ app to set the function of the Play / Pause button. It can either act as the usual Play / Pause button, where it pauses and resumes streaming playback from the source Bluetooth device. Or, you can set the button to summon Siri when pressed.
Large Excursion Passive Bass Radiators
You can easily see the ends of this speaker (the passive radiators) moving while playing bassy music and spoken word recordings.
Stereo Sound Mode
You get 10 watts of audio power per channel, for 20 watts total sound output. You can also connect to other JBL Charge speakers as a stereo pair with the JBL Connect+ app. Instantly reverse channels right from your phone.
Or, connect them in party mode so that each speaker plays the same content from both (or all) speakers.
This speaker, and other JBL Connect Plus compatible models, can link together in a single group that allows up to a hundred Connect+ speakers to join.
Multiple Bluetooth Sources
Supports as many as three streaming mobile devices paired at the same time. This allows quick playing music from three different libraries. Or, three people can take turns playing their favorite songs over this JBL 3 wireless speaker.
JBL Connect+ Support, JBL Connect Plus Compatible
You can stream to more than one speaker at the same time with speakers that support the JBL Connect+ protocol. This is like Google Chromecast or Amazon’s Multi Room Music feature. Both of these allow streaming the same content to multiple speakers together. The Connect Plus app also allows setting of various speaker parameters on a per speaker basis, checks for and installs new firmware updates on the speaker, and shows overall speaker status.
Comes in At Least Several Colors
You can buy the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker and power bank in many colors, including red, blue, black, gray, and aqua. We went with the black model, as shown next.
Charge 3 JBL Portable Splash Proof Bluetooth Speaker Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, Drawbacks, and Limitations
Cloth Grill can Easily get Dirty
While handling this speaker on the beach might get sand and dirt in the grill, you can remove these with a garden hose spray. Just squirt off the speaker.
No Case Included
Some cases for the JBL Charge 3 are available online however. So, we bought the Faylapa EVA hard travel carrying case from Amazon for our Charge 3. Specifically, this case offers excellent protection and has compartments for the AC adapter and USB cable inside, all for under $14 US dollars.
See Amazon’s Page for the Faylapa Zip Up Travel Case for the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth Speaker for further details on this JBL Bluetooth speaker case.
Does Not Fully Recharge Our iPad Air
We found that after fully charging our Charge 3, that it only recharged our iPad Air twenty percent higher than it was before, prior to the speaker running dead. So, it doesn’t fully charge ALL our mobile devices fully. But you do get enough juice to wrap up whatever it was you were doing before your phone / tablet battery runs down
JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth Speaker Specifications
- Dimensions: (W x D x H) 213 x 87 X 88.5 (mm)
- Weight: 800g
Battery type: Lithium-ion polymer, 6000 mAh, 22.2 Wh
The battery charge time: 4.5 hours @ 5V 2.3A
AC Adapter (included): 5 volts, 2.3 amps.
USB Charge Output: 5 volts, 2.0 amps MAX.
Bluetooth Transmitter Frequency Range: 2.402 – 2.480 GHz.
The Bluetooth Transmitter Power: 0-9dBm
Bluetooth Transmitter Modulation: GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
The Bluetooth version: 4.1
Music playing time: Up to 20 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
- Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
- Transducer: 2 x 50mm
- Output power: 2 x 10W
- Frequency response: 65 Hz. – 20 kHz.
- Signal-to-noise ratio: ≥ 80dB
- Case design: Waterproof to IPX7 standards when the charge port door is closed tightly.
Our Rating on the JBL Charge 3 Speaker
We find the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker a decent value. Lots of solid bass. Little distortion heard, even at highest volume. It’s advanced, yes. But this is a well built wireless waterproof speaker. It never crashes and rarely stops playing, has a lot of range, and works well even when nearby radio interference sources are strong. We especially like its power bank function. While you can’t charge bigger mobile devices to full with the Charge 3, it does provide enough power to minimal charging, to get you through an emergency.
Over all, we admire the workmanship and well-though designing that’s so obvious in this JBL Bluetooth product. Its wide excursion diaphragms and acoustic design make it a high fidelity speaker indeed. So we rate the Charge 3 by JBL at 96 out of 100.
Where to Buy the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth Speaker
We bought ours at Walmart for roughly $125. But you can also find it on Amazon, eBay, and Crutchfield among other outlets. JBL Charge 3 price ranges from approximately $100 to $170.
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References for JBL Charge 3 Speaker Review
- 2022-12-02: Updated links.
- 2020-04-21: Added tags.
- 2018-07-30: First published.