The JBL Xtreme is probably one of our favourite electrical item. It has transformed some simple barbecue lunches on the rooftop, picnics in the park, chill outs on the beach into lasting memories. After nearly 4 years of owning it with one battery replacement, it is still providing us with great entertainment. We would recommend it as the best Bluetooth portable speaker in the market.
- Purchase date: Dec, 2016
- Seller: Challenger, Singapore
- Purchase price: S$350
- Long-term review date: Jun, 2020
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The JBL Xtreme is made up of 2 x 63 mm woofers and 2 x 35 mm tweeters powered by 2 x 20W Bi-amp. We are no audiophile connoisseur, but we fell in love with its sound quality from the first time it was powered up. We particularly love the bass radiator which works brilliantly and we can spend hours watching it vibrates. It pumps out the deep bass effortlessly from “Gangnam Style” by Psy. It delivers the bold melodic vocals from Christina Perri in “A Thousand Years” beautifully with the rhythmic strumming of the guitar. And it brings to life the richness and expression from “The Scientist” by Coldplay.
There has been no deterioration to the sound quality after 4 years. It is still the life of the party.
It is solidly built. The round barrel is wrapped in a hardy splash-proof mesh fabric and it is capped on both ends and on the foot by rugged rubber. There are no flimsy components hanging or attached to it. The charging point, aux input and USB panel is secured behind a zipped compartment. The only soft spots are the passive bass radiators at either ends.
Ease of use
With a press of the “Bluetooth” button, the JBL Xtreme is quickly located as a Bluetooth device by our phones. The connectivity works well and we have not had any issue with connecting it to our Apple, Samsung or Motorala phones.
Weighing in at 2.1 kg and measuring 126 x 283 x 122 mm, it is certainly not the lightest nor the smallest portable speaker, but it hasn’t been a deterrent to bring the JBL Xtreme in many of our holidays. A removable strap attaches easily to either ends of the speaker with metal hooks. The strap sits nicely on the shoulder or across the body while it continues to pump out music to accompany your journeys. We do like it that it is a shoulder strap rather than a hand-held holder. This means that we can carry a few more items from the car to the picnic spot while it sits on our shoulder, or from our hotel room down to the beach.
Having said all that, we do not think it is one to bring along for long journeys. We have not brought it on a hike, a cycling trip nor a snowboarding run. It is too big to fit snugly in a knapsack. For those occasions, we have stuck to the more portable JBL Flip, albeit with a small sacrifice on sound quality.
Craziest place it has been?
We lugged it up and down the Dune du Pilat in Arcachon so that we can enjoy it when we get to the beach on the other side (read about it here). We were close to sacrificing it as we struggled up the sinking soft hot sand with the unforgiving sun blazing down on us.
The built in high-capacity 10,000mAH rechargeable battery claims to do up to 15 hours of playtime. We do not think we have had a party that lasted that long, as we do not recall a time when the battery failed on us. For most of the times, a fully charged JBL Xtreme will serve us well for a full afternoon of barbecue in the garden.
The battery did come to an end after about 2 years of use. It will barely last for a couple of hours after a full charge. We replaced the battery with this replacement battery from Cameron Sino found on Amazon, with guidance from their YouTube video and it is as good as new.
Our life is content with the JBL Xtreme at this point in time. It has been a great companions in many occasions and we will been spending many more special occasions together. At times, we are tempted by a sleeker designs and the Alexa and Google command wifi capability, but in our eye, it remains the best Bluetooth portable speaker for our lifestyle.