Long-Lasting and Loud: A JBL Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

JBL Go Review

When we want high-quality products, we go for trusted brands. And for the audio industry, JBL is one of them. Over time, their vast range of products has included headphones, home stereo systems, and professional monitors. But does this success translate to portable devices?

With the JBL Go, the brand now also offers a handy wireless speaker for people who demand quality. JBL’s reputation got us excited for this one, so we tested it ourselves to see if it lives up to our expectations.

What It Comes With

The JBL Go comes in a no-nonsense, clear plastic packaging. Aside from the manual and warranty card, the speaker comes with only a basic micro USB charging cable. The creators probably assume you already have a smartphone charger on hand to use. 

JBL Go Box Contents

Though the speaker has a 3.5 mm AUX out port, it doesn’t come with a 3.5 mm connector. This was a mild disappointment, especially since a wired connection can prolong battery life. But they can be bought for cheap at any electronics or hardware store if needed.

Build Quality

Because of its box shape, the JBL Go looks bigger and heavier than it really is. In truth, the device measures a mere 68.3 x 82.7 x 30.8 mm (H x W x D). Its relatively small size makes it easy to grasp. Meanwhile, it’s also reasonably light at 130 g.

JBL Go with Ruler

Our test model came in blue, with white JBL logos. Several other colors are also available if you want to match it with your existing devices.

Though the speaker is made mostly of plastic, the surface has a rubbery finish that makes it easier to grip. All its controls are on the top of the speaker, with a button for power, Bluetooth, volume up, volume down, and a phone button for answering calls. However, these controls are not in the form of physical buttons, so it can be sometimes hard to tell if you’ve pressed them hard enough.

JBL Go Top

On the device’s right side are the AUX input, a micro USB port, and a built-in microphone. Meanwhile, on the left side is a sizeable strap hook for looping your lanyard through. However, the speaker doesn’t come with its own carrying strap.

JBL Go Side

Operation

Turning on the speaker activates a blue LED indicator in front of the device. By default, it will blink a few times, indicating that it’s unconnected. Pressing the Bluetooth button then activates pairing mode. This lets you connect it to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop wirelessly.

After successfully connecting, it will let out an audible beep, and the LED indicator will stabilize. The volume controls also work well enough. However, since the buttons are not physical ones, it can be hard to make minor adjustments.

JBL Go Left Side

Aside from answering and ending calls, the phone button can also be used for pausing and playing music. Hence, it’s a useful button if your paired device happens to be farther away.

Sound Quality

The speaker has a frequency range of 180 Hz to 20 kHz. Though 20 kHz is a reasonable upper limit, 180 Hz isn’t enough for boomy bass frequencies. Regardless, our testing resulted in a crisp sound with audible lows. The mid-highs come out the strongest, emphasizing the songs’ vocal tracks. This makes it perfect for playing your favorite pop tunes.

JBL Go in hand

Because the JBL Go has a rated power of 3 watts, it has a very loud output that’s ideal for outdoor listening. Unfortunately, sound quality goes down considerably at high volumes. At full volume, the audio starts clipping and becomes noticeably scratchy. But the speaker is loud enough and good enough to be audible at medium volume when indoors.

The same can be said for calls. Voice quality is high, though the built-in microphone’s range is limited. Being located at the side of the device, it also needs to be positioned differently to improve its reception.

Battery

Our test model came out of the box charged. After draining the battery, the speaker took around an hour to get fully powered. This was a reasonable amount of time for the 600 mAh internal battery.

JBL Go attached to laptop

The packaging indicates that the speaker should last up to 5 hours of playtime on a single charge. We decided to see if reality can match this figure when paired via Bluetooth. At first, we were disappointed when it ran out of power at just 1 hour and 17 minutes at full volume.

But at medium volume, which is enough to fill an entire room with music, it was able to last a full work day and a half. Combined, it lasted for a whopping 15 hours. We were definitely not expecting this type of performance from the JBL Go.

The Verdict

Though the sound quality and battery life suffers when pushed to the limit, the JBL Go still proved to be a surprise. It sounds great for its size and is loud enough to fill a medium-sized room with music.

It’s currently priced at PHP 1,454 (regular price PHP 1,599)—a reasonable price to pay for its amazing performance.

JBL Go versus mouse

The JBL Go is a long-lasting, all-around device that can play music and even enhance your video call experience. It’ll work well whether you take it out to the beach, play music at home, or use it to make calls at work. Order one now and try it out yourself.


John Arzadon
John Arzadon

Author