Comparison of the JBL Xtreme vs. Xtreme 2 vs. Xtreme 3
JBL continues on a successful path in the field of Bluetooth speakers. The devices from the US manufacturer have been a worthwhile purchase for years. The [url="https://amzn.to/380AMdS",name="JBL Xtreme
",title=""] already came onto the market in July 2015 and could score with a balanced, relatively loud sound. The [url="https://amzn.to/2WcDc3s",name="JBL Xtreme 2
",title=""] followed three years later in 2018 and continued the success story. Since October 2020, the new [url="https://amzn.to/2LAC8Vf",name="JBL Xtreme 3
",title=""] is on the market and tries to top the performance again. However, the differences between the speakers are not particularly large and so the question arises: Is the new one worth it?
Already the Xtreme 1 has a speakerphone, JBL Connect, a charging function with two USB ports that can charge mobile devices with 2 x 1A and meets the IPX4 standard, so it is splash-proof. Thanks to the Connect function, other devices can be connected with JBL Connect.
The Xtreme 2 goes one step further: it meets the IPX7 standard, so it can be submerged under water for up to 30 minutes to a maximum depth of 1 meter, making it even more robust for outdoor use. Two USB ports became one, which now fully provides the 2A for charging and thus allows faster charging of a connected device. With JBL Connect, up to 100 additional JBL Connect compatible devices can be connected. Who wants to organize a small concert, thus has a clear path. The carrying handle has also become a bit more sophisticated and offers an integrated bottle opener.
The Xtreme 3 optimizes the previous strengths of the Xtreme 2. It meets the IP67 standard, which means that it is not only waterproof, so it can be submerged under water for 30 minutes, just like the Xtreme 2, but also dustproof and thus a bit more robust in outdoor use, for example on construction sites.
The USB-A port (with 2A) for the charging function is now extended by a USB-C port (with 1.5A) for charging. The latter can also be used for charging the box. Thus, the power port is omitted for the first time and the device becomes easier to charge.
The Connect connection standard is replaced by the new PartyBoost function, which can connect up to 100 devices that support this standard (e.g. the [url="https://amzn.to/387Mtzl",name="JBL Boombox 2",title=""]).
The sound of the Xtreme is already rock solid and is rated above average for its size. Two 69.85mm woofers and 20mm tweeters (frequency range: 70 Hz - 20 kHz) each ensure this.
The Xtreme 2 is even more bass-heavy, but also performs slightly better in the highs than its predecessor (frequency range: 55 Hz - 20 kHz). It relies on a 63 mm woofer and 35 mm tweeter. Customers thus use it even more often in large rooms and outdoors. The power of both models is 40 watts - 2 x 20 W RMS bi-amp.
The Xtreme 3 steps it up a notch, offering 2 x 25 W RMS woofers 2 x 25 W RMS tweeters. With the upgraded hardware and new drivers, it delivers a slightly better soundstage than the Xtreme 2, with rich lows and versatile highs. However, the overall sonic difference is small.
Both the Xtreme, Xtreme 2, and Xtreme 3 provide a 10,000 mAh battery that lets the speakers do their job for up to 15 hours.Subsequent charging takes just 2.5 h for the Xtreme 3 thanks to its USB-C port, while its predecessors took 3.5 h to reach full charge.
Design and accessories
All three JBL speakers have a cylindrical shape and have changed very little over the years. A few nice design elements and embellishments have been added, but nothing serious.
In detail, the three devices are set up as follows:
|Dimension||Xtreme||Xtreme 2||Xtreme 3|
|Dimensions (HBT in cm)||28,3 x 12,6 x 12,2||28,8 x 13,6 x 13,2 ||29,85 x 13,6 x 13,4 |
|Carrying strap||Yes||Yes, with bottle opener||Yes, with bottle opener and rubberized area on the carrying strap for more grip|
|Connections||Concealed with zipper, 2 x USB-A, jack, power||With rubber flap, 1 x USB-A, MicroUSB service port e.g. for firmware updates, power||With rubber flap, 1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, jack|
|Colors||Black, Red, Blue, Camouflage||Black, Red, Blue, Camouflage||Black, Blue, Camouflage|
In addition, the stand has evolved from two more widely spaced feet to a centered stand on the Xtreme 3. Thus, it can also be placed on smaller surfaces. The latter also has stronger rubber bumpers on the outer sides than its predecessors and is thus more shock resistant on the sides. Otherwise, everything remains the same - The three devices are covered with a mesh.
Connectivity and operation
Over the years, the Bluetooth standard has continuously improved, with positive effects on interference-free transmission and range. The following connection standards for connecting the control unit and additional speakers are supported:
- Xtreme: Bluetooth 4.1 / Connect
- Xtreme 2: Bluetooth 4.2 / Connect
- Xtreme 3: Bluetooth 5.1 / Partyboost
One disadvantage of the constantly improving connection standards is that they are not compatible with each other. This means an Xtreme 2 cannot be paired with the new Xtreme 3 via PartyBoost. Connections can only be made to devices with the same standard. So if you already have one of the devices and want to add another, you are limited to the previous standard.
The usual buttons on the device are available for operation: Volume up, Volume down, Play / Pause / Answer / Voice Assist, Connect for speakers, Bluetooth Connect, On/Off
The devices can alternatively be controlled via the smartphone.
The prices of the devices are practically linear. On Amazon, the [url="https://amzn.to/2WdfmVB",name="Xtreme",title=""] (in blue) is currently the cheapest with a price of 154€, followed by the [url="https://amzn.to/3gYkeOl",name="Xtreme 2",title=""] with 184€ and the [url="https://amzn.to/2LAC8Vf",name="Xtreme 3",title=""] with a whopping 272€. When it comes to color, some flexibility pays off. There are significant differences depending on the color choice.
Those who are still looking for add-ons that are suitable as gifts, for example, could consider a matching case (e.g. [url="https://amzn.to/34czPy6",name="diese",title="Case for the JBL Xtreme"]). However, thanks to the carrying strap and sturdy exterior, they are not absolutely necessary.
Conclusion comparing the JBL Xtreme, Xtreme 2 and Xtreme 3.
The JBL Xtreme series continues its successful course with the JBL Xtreme 3. Still, there′s a strong consideration to be made when buying the latest model at the current price.
The slight advances, such as the USB-C port and the slightly better sound, offer added value, but not a serious one. The sound of the Xtreme 2 was already on a similar level and charging is only a "nice-to-have" on a Bluetooth speaker. On the other hand, the lack of compatibility among each other is an annoyance - Here, the selection of suitable devices for a connection is much larger with the Xtreme 2. At the current price, I would therefore call the [url="https://amzn.to/3gYkEOl",name="Xtreme 2",title=""] the best compromise between performance and price. [asin="B010SWJVS6",type="standard"][asin="B07CGB15VM",type="standard"][asin="B08FB4RSDJ",type="standard"]