JBL Xtreme Bluetooth Speaker Review

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Last year at TRE (The Running Event) we got our first glimpse of the JBL Xtreme Bluetooth Speaker.  To be honest we actually heard it before we saw it.  The JBL Xtreme is a beast of a portable speaker, so much so it actually comes equipped with brushed metal hooks begging you to carry it with the accompanying shoulder strap.

JBL Xtreme Bluetooth Speaker

Next to the Xtreme was JBL’s Pulse 2.  While the Pulse 2 is cool with it’s color show, it’s no match in sound compared to the Xtreme tube-shaped speaker.  The speaker is designed to be a go anywhere companion.  Take it to the beach, pool party or outdoor adventure and watch as it helps make new friends along the way.

jbl-xtreme-and-included-accessories 1

 

iPhone SettingsThe Xtreme comes with a shoulder strap, owners manual, power cord and charge unit.  Our Xtreme was almost fully charged when it arrived and I went to work right away connecting it to my iPhone 6.  How hard is it to start playing music without directions?  It’s so simple a cave man can do it, yeah that’s right even Tim Allen from Home Improvement would have a hard time not playing music.

To get started, I just pressed the power button on and opened up my iPhone Bluetooth settings and looked for JBL Xtreme.  I then opened up my music selection and started to stream music from the iPhone.

I forget what song was playing at the time, but wow I was blown away by how good it sounded.  I am sure there are those that might get super technical about the sound, but to me it was pure genius.  Think of it, music flowing wirelessly to a portable speaker that you can take just about anywhere.  I have used Bluetooth speakers before, but I was always a little underwhelmed by how loud they were.  The Xtreme belts out music that you can actually hear from a good distance away.

The JBL Xtreme gave us, well actually gave me, since Kathleen wasn’t really around to appreciated the boombox era, the same feeling I had back in the 80’s when I got my first boombox.  Back then it was cool to lug this radio player around on your shoulder or hold it up in the air.  OK maybe it wasn’t that cool, but it felt cool to a young teen.

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Say Anything

We would often take these giant rectangular boxes to the pool during the summer months.  Yeah we were cool.  The problem of course was the boomboxes usually took at least 4-8 D batteries that would have to be replaced quite often. You would also have to lug around a host of cassette taps, well that is unless you made your own music tape that you ended up giving to a girl or something along those lines.

Fast forward 35 years, man I am getting old, and now JBL and the Xtreme are here.  When the music started playing I felt a little giddy inside.  While we have speakers in our home, nothing really compares to the freedom the JBL Xtreme provides.  No wires, no extension cords.  With the Xtreme if we wanted music outside or in a particular room, we just carried it with us.  So cool.

JBL Xtreme Bluetooth Speaker – Technical Specifications

  • Wireless Bluetooth Streaming – Wirelessly connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing earth-shaking, powerful stereo sound.
  • High-capacity 10,000mAH rechargeable Battery – Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to 15 hours of playtime and charges devices via dual USB ports.
  • Speakerphone
  • Splashproof – No more worrying about rain or spills; you can even clean it with running tap water. Just don’t submerge it.
  • JBL Connect – Connect enabled JBL speakers together to amplify the listening experience.
  • Lifestyle material
  • JBL Bass Radiator (Woofer 2 x 63 mm)
  • Dimensions 126mm x 283mm x 122mm
  • Weight -2112g (4.6 lbs)
  • Ports – AUX in port, 1 Charging port, Two USB ports.
  • Retail – $299.00

The JBL Xtreme is designed to be positioned horizontally resting on the two rubber stands.  While you could position the speaker vertically, JBL intends the speaker to be positioned horizontally.

JBL Xtreme Water Shot JBL Xtreme Side View

The Xtreme is designed to be a rugged speaker perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.  Each side of the Xtreme is capped with durable rubber stoppers, helping protect it against possible side dings.  The whole package is encased in JBL’s splashproof layering, protecting the speaker from accidental spills and splashes.  While not being fully water proof, JBL says you can clean the outside cover using tap water.

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JBL Xtreme Shoulder Hooks

Most people are going to want to tote their JBL using the provided shoulder straps.  Fortunately the Xtreme comes with two very heavy duty hooks for connecting them.

Connectivity is very good.  I had no problem wandering around our house inside and out with out loss of connection.  In most cases, simply having the iPhone or other Bluetooth music device near the speaker is probably best.

 

Most of the Extreme’s basic functionality is located on the top of the speaker including the following.

  • Bluetooth – Holding the button down allows you to pair the speaker with a new phone, tablet or computer
  • Previous Track ( – )
  • On/Off – Turns on or off the JBL Xtreme
  • JBL Connect – Allows for the connection and syncing of multiple JBL speakers together.
  • Next Track ( + )
  • Play/Pause ( >ll ) – Pressing play while music is blasting will pause the playback. Tap it twice to skip songs, or tap it three times to go to a previous song.

JBL Xtreme Ports

The bottom of the speaker contains a zippered section housing the following

  • Service Micro-USB port – Used for service diagnostics.
  • 1 AUX in port
  • 2 USB ports – The USB ports can be used for charging smart phones or other USB powered devices.
  • 1 Charging port

Geek Stuff

Each end of Xtreme comes with dual passive radiators and work well pushing out low tones.

Highlights include

  • Bluetooth version: 4.1 – Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
  • Transducer: Woofer 2 x 63mm
  • Tweeter: 2 x 35mm
  • Rated power: 2 x 20W Bi-amp (AC mode)
  • Frequency response: 70 – 20kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >80dB
  • Power supply: 19V 3A
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion Polymer (7.4V, 5,000mAh)
  • Battery charge time: 3.5 hours
  • Music play time: up to 15 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
  • Single USB charge out: 1 x 2A
  • Dual USB charge out: 2 x 1A
  • Bluetooth transmitter power: 0-4dBm
  • Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.402 – 2.480GHz
  • Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Dimension (H x W x D): 126 x 283 x 122mm
  • Weight: 2112g
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JBL Connect

JBL created some free smartphone software called JBL Connect that controls pairing of speakers and also provides a way to update them with the latest software.   Once speakers are paired, you can switch from Party mode to Stereo mode and also switch between left and right channels.

When doing software updates you will need your speaker’s power cord connected.  The software is pretty simplistic and doesn’t offer a lot of features other than pairing control and software update checking.  It would be nice to have additional functionality like filters or some type of sound mixing board.

Conclusion

Two words Loud and Powerful.  The JBL Xtreme is a fantastic speaker that performs exactly how it was designed.  For those looking to get a speaker that can be heard during a raging party or way off in the wilderness, JBL has you covered.  This is the speaker we have been waiting for.  It has an amazing battery life of up to 15 hours, it can charge 2 USB devices at the same time, it can get wet thanks to it’s splashproof covering and it’s wireless.  What’s not to love.

For those looking to make even more noise, the Xtreme can be paired with multiple speakers to create the ultimate stereo sound.  If sharing music is your thing,

Are there any negatives?  Not really.  Some people may look elsewhere based on price, but we think JBL hit a home run with the Xtreme.

Check out all of JBL’s offerings and the JBL Xtreme.

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Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about running, cycling and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day. Location: Austin, TX USA

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