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Rugged, portable sound on the cheap

Key Takeaways

  • The JBL Go 3 is highly portable and durable, with a rugged design and IP67 rating for outdoor use.
  • Despite the simple features, the speaker has a long battery life and uses Bluetooth 5.1 for connectivity.
  • While not the best for audiophiles, the JBL Go 3 is loud and suitable for outdoor activities, at an affordable price.



JBL is well known in the consumer market for making good quality Bluetooth speakers, many of which are durable and rugged for hauling into the great outdoors. The JBL Go 3 is another example of this, improving upon its predecessor, the JBL Go 2, by adding total dust-proofing for added durability and a small strap to make it even more portable.

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There are a lot of Bluetooth speakers on the market these days, even in JBL’s own lineup. The Go 3 stands out not only for its portability and durability, but also for its simplicity. So if you’re in the market for a Bluetooth speaker, here are some JBL Go 3 considerations to think through prior to purchasing.

JBL Go 3 on a wood desk

JBL Go 3

Recommended

The JBL Go 3 is a solid option for anyone who wants a portable, affordable speaker to take outside. It’s durable with an IP67 rating, and it gets really, really loud.

Pros

  • IP67
  • Loud sound in a small package
  • Very portable
  • Long battery life
Cons

  • Not the best sound quality

Price, availability & specs

Durability and simplicity above all else

JBL Go 3 being held showing the power and Bluetooth buttons


The JBL Go 3 is a compact Bluetooth speaker, small enough to fit easily in a tote bag or backpack, with a strap to hold on to or secure with a carabiner to your backpack. It weighs just 209 grams, so carrying it around with you won’t be a burden. It comes in four colorways; blue, gray, red, and black. The front of the speaker has a big JBL logo, on the top are playback controls, and the right side has the power button and the Bluetooth button. It’s sold at major retailers like Best Buy and Amazon and is usually $40-$50.

JBL Go 3

Brand
JBL

Connectivity
Bluetooth

Battery
5+ hours

Water Resistance
IP67

What I liked about the JBL Go 3

A durable, but sleek design


A really great aspect of the design of the JBL Go 3 is that it’s IP67 water- and dust-resistant. This means it’s fully dust-proof, and can withstand being fully immersed in water up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes. The high durability level makes the JBL Go 3 a rugged speaker, perfect for taking to a place like the beach, a trail, or a lake, for example.

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Other than its sleek design and durability, there really aren’t any notable features about the JBL Go 3. All it does is turn on and play whatever audio you want through it, no bells and whistles. For the $40-$50 price and intended use of the speaker, this makes complete sense. This also makes it really easy to use, since there’s really no learning curve to getting started with the speaker.

The speaker lasts much longer than advertised

JBL says the JBL Go 3 has a battery life of 5 hours, but in my experience, it lasts a lot longer. The entire time I tested it, the speaker never ran out of battery, and I used it for well over 5 hours. The battery life of the JBL Go 3 is perfect for beach days and hikes, so you can be sure that if you charge it before you go, it’ll last you throughout the day. It also takes 2.5 hours to charge, and it charges over USB-C.


The entire time I tested it, the speaker never ran out of battery, and I used it for well over 5 hours.

The speaker connects to your devices over Bluetooth, and it connects using Bluetooth 5.1, which was the newest version of Bluetooth at the time the speaker was released in 2020. It only supports the SBC codec, but since this speaker doesn’t have the best audio quality, that’s not really a major issue.

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What I didn’t like about the JBL Go 3 speaker

Not the best sound out there, but certainly loud

JBL Go 3 sitting on a window sill


The JBL Go 3 is an affordable portable speaker, so it’s not the best sounding speaker out there. But it sounds good for what it is, and it easily serves its purpose as a portable speaker for when you’re hanging outside with your friends and want something on in the background, or for when you want to listen to music by the pool or on a hike. It’s not for close listening and hearing the nuances of a song, and that’s okay.

It’s not for close listening and hearing the nuances of a song, and that’s okay.

One thing about this speaker is that it gets very loud, especially considering how small it is. It gets so loud that it made me feel bad for my neighbors when I was testing the volume. This further solidifies it as a good speaker for using outdoors, since you can be sure the sound will project enough around your immediate vicinity. It might even annoy the people around you, so be careful about that.


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Verdict: Should you buy the JBL Go 3?

A solid, durable speaker for the outdoorsy among us

JBL Go 3 in the grass among daisies

The JBL Go 3 is an excellent portable speaker, and the IP67 rating makes it a great choice for outdoorsy people who want to bring their tunes around with them.

JBL Go 3 on a wood desk

JBL Go 3

Recommended

This little speaker is a great companion whether you’re out on a sandy beach with your friends, on a trail for the day, or just sitting at home. The longer-than-advertised battery life is excellent, and anyone who needs a speaker to last them throughout the day will find it really convenient. The simplicity of the speaker is also a great selling point, and it’s not too pricey either. It just stands out as a solid Bluetooth speaker.

This little speaker is a great companion whether you’re out on a sandy beach with your friends, on a trail for the day, or just sitting at home.


Audiophiles probably won’t appreciate it as much. It won’t give you the best audio imaginable, but it is perfectly suitable for using when you just want your audio to accompany you, not to be the star of the show. If you’re looking for something with higher fidelity audio, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

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5 top songs I listened to on the JBL Go 3

  1. Pravda by Vampire Weekend
  2. Plastic Jesus by Tia Blake
  3. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
  4. In Spite of Ourselves by John Prine and Iris DeMent
  5. Jackie Down The Line by Fontaines D.C.

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