Test JBL Charge 3: our opinion
There are dozens and dozens of Bluetooth speakers, but there are only three brands that stand out: Bose, JBL and Ultimate Ears. Of these, only JBL offers models that can act as an external charger for smartphones or other devices powered via a USB port. This is the Bluetooth speakers of the range Charge.
The latest version, the Charge 3 (199 euros), is identical to the very well rated Charge 2+ which is still on sale at 99 euros. The main technical difference is that the 3 is completely waterproof (IPX7) where the 2 was splashproof. It can be positioned vertically or horizontally. It is just a little bigger and heavier than the Charge 2 +.
The chamber offers 20 hours of autonomy, which is impressive. It can be used to make hands-free phone calls. With the JBL Connect app, Charge 3 can be paired with other compatible brand models to amplify the sound and extend the sound stage. But speaking of the sound precisely, the big question is whether this new version is better than the Charge 2+ that we enjoyed. Unfortunately the answer is no. The Charge 3 is certainly more powerful and offers low bodied, but the 2+ is more balanced and soft on the treble with a better overall sound.
However, if you use Charge 3 outdoors, its power will be a significant advantage. But suddenly, it is quite difficult to decide whether this new version is a true evolution or not. It is more powerful, completely waterproof and its autonomy is excellent. But the sound it delivers is below the Charge 2+ although it is a little larger, which is not logical.
That said, it is interesting to remember that when it was released in 2014, Charge 2 (ancestor of the Charge 2+ launched in 2015 ) already had audio quality issues. JBL quietly corrected the shot with a firmware update that had significantly improved things. We would not be surprised if it were the same for Charge 3. If this is the case, we will amend our test to reflect any change in audio quality.