JBL Charge 3 review: Waterproof Bluetooth speaker plays louder, but sound quality takes a step back

There are tons of wireless Bluetooth speakers you can buy these days, but three brands rise to the top of the list: Bose, Ultimate Ears, and JBL. And of those three, only JBL makes models that also double as backup batteries for phones and other USB-powered devices: the Charge line.

The JBL Charge 3 looks similar to the highly rated JBL Charge 2+ and has the same list price of $ 150 and £ 150. In Australia, the sticker price is AU $ 229, but you can buy one for less than AU $ 200. While the Charge 2+ is water resistant, its successor model is fully waterproof, with IPX7 certification, which means it can be completely submerged in water for a short time. Like its predecessors, you can lay it flat or raise it vertically. And, for better or for worse, the new model is about 20 percent bigger and heavier.

It offers an impressive 20-hour battery life and also has hands-free functionality. Using the JBL Connect app you can wirelessly connect it to other JBL Connect enabled speakers to amplify the sound and widen the soundstage.

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