If you’re hunting for a tiny portable speaker, this JBL Go 3 review might be able to help. This compact device will let you take your music anywhere, it’s one of the best Bluetooth speakers if you're on a budget and it's perfect for travel too.
JBL is one of the most likeable audio brands there is because their products aren’t too pricey while their designs are as fun as they are functional.
The cheapest out of the best JBL Bluetooth speakers, the JBL Go 3 is also one of the smallest they offer. You can’t expect to be blown away with huge wall-shaking sound but you will get a fully functional piece of kit that will fit in your coat pocket.
JBL Go 3 review: price and availability
You can buy the JBL Go 3 now from a number of retailers across the web starting from $50 in the US, £30 in the UK and AU$60 in the US. Take a look at the widgets on this page to see where you can find the best deal on it.
JBL Go 3 review: design and battery
About the size of a sponge and the weight of a chocolate bar, the JBL Go 3 is tiny. It measures 86 x 69 x 40mm and weighs only 209g so you’ll be able to fit it in your bag or even in a large pocket. It’s a speaker that you can carry around just in case you need it, and it won’t take up too much space if you plan to take it on holiday with you.
Rectangular in shape, the JBL Go 3 has rounded edges and a large JBL logo across the front. It’s covered in fabric mesh which looks and feels great. To help you carry it about, there’s a woven handle on one side and you’ll also find rubber grips along the bottom to keep it stable when placed on a table.
To control the music there are three buttons along the top of the speaker - two volume controls and a pause/play button in the middle. You can also use the pause/play button to skip forwards through tracks without needing to reach for your phone.
You can buy the JBL Go 3 in loads of different colours including white, green, blue, red and pink. There are even some more unique colours like Squad which is green camo and two-tone designs like the pink and blue speaker I tested out. You’re sure to find one to suit your own style, and that amount of choice makes this a good gift as well.
Not only is this speaker ultra-portable, but it’s sturdy too. It’ll definitely survive being knocked about a bit and it’s IP67 waterproof and dustproof so you can use it by the pool or even in the rain without needing to worry about damaging it.
On the side, there’s a small LED light, a power button and the Bluetooth button. Using it is very self-explanatory, you just power it on and press the Bluetooth button to connect it to your phone. The LED light will flash blue when it’s in pairing mode.
The battery will last about 5 hours of music which is enough for a trip to the beach but perhaps not for anything longer like a camping trip. To charge it, there’s a USB-C port beneath the handle. It’ll take about two and a half hours to recharge it to 100% which is quite a long time considering the battery life.
JBL Go 3 review: sound quality and features
When it comes to the sound the JBL Go 3 is relatively modest. The power output isn’t huge, but at 4.2W it’s an improvement on its predecessor's mere 3W. You still won’t be using this to get a big party started though.
While it’s not jam-packed with power, it will be loud enough to fill up your kitchen while you cook or to be heard at a picnic in the park. It’ll be well suited to more personal use, or when you’re with a small group of people.
The audio quality itself is quite good. You get plenty of bass so tracks sound full but not so much so that the mids and highs get overshadowed. You can hear the detail in your songs from the clarity of vocals to the individual instruments used.
Okay so it’s not quite going to be winning any awards for sound quality but all things considered, JBL has done a great job at packing surprisingly accurate audio into a speaker so small.
The JBL Go 3 keeps things simple and as such, it isn’t very feature-heavy. In fact, there are barely any extra features at all. You won't get the JBL PartyBoost function that allows you to pair it with other JBL speakers to boost the sound, and there’s no microphone so it won’t double up as a speakerphone either. You do get the most up to date Bluetooth 5.1 though so at least you can rely on the connection not to drop out.
JBL Go 3 review: verdict
The JBL Go 3 is a fantastic little speaker - it’s very easy to use and it does exactly what it says on the tin. It's one of the best waterproof speakers you can buy.
The sound isn’t going to knock your socks off but no one would expect something so small to shake the walls anyway. It is surprisingly good quality though and it is still loud enough to fill the room if there’s just you and a couple of other people in it.
Granted you won’t get much in the way of features, so if you want manual control over the sound or a speakerphone function then you will have to look elsewhere. But if you just want a small speaker that is easy to carry around with you then the JBL Go 3 fits the bill. It’ll make a great gift too!
JBL Go 3 review: also consider
If money is no object, the best compact Bluetooth speaker is the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen. Not only does it look the part but it sounds it too, and you’ll even get control over the audio with customisable equaliser settings in the smartphone app.
Another small speaker worth considering is the Marshall Emberton, it is slightly bigger than this and a lot more expensive but it’s got fantastic sound, long battery life and it’s waterproof. Not to mention the fact that it looks cool, too.