JBL Boombox vs Boombox 2: Is the upgrade worth it?

The original JBL Boombox that came out more than 5 years ago was a hit almost as soon as it made its debut — a testament to JBL’s understanding of the speaker market as well as the party crowd. They packed a ton of power into a compact form and made it user-friendly to boot. But how does its successor stand against the original? Who would win a JBL Boombox vs Boombox 2 battle? Well, we had to answer that question for you guys, so keep reading!

JBL Boombox vs Boombox 2 – Quick Comparison

Buying a JBL Boombox is ideal for those who like their music loud. With both the Boombox and Boombox 2, you can be assured of thumping bass and loud music for your party. While these speakers are not as high-end or powerful as the Partybox 300 and 310 from JBL, you can still expect them to get the party going. And they’re a lot lighter and more portable than the Partybox series, not to mention much more affordable!

But if both the Boombox and the Boombox 2 are great, which one should you buy? Has the sequel one-upped the original? The newer one is priced at about $100 more, but is it worth the extra money? Is it just cosmetic changes? What about additional features? And battery life? 

We are going to analyze each point, but let’s start off with a simple table that gives you a basic overview of the differences between the JBL Boombox and the Boombox 2.

ModelJBL BoomboxJBL Boombox 2
Dimensions19.5 x 10 x 7.7 inches19.1 x 10.1 x 7.9 inches
Weight11.5 lbs13 lbs
IP RatingIPX7IPX7
Frequency Range50Hz to 20KHz50Hz to 20KHz
Power2 x 30 Watts (AC) 
2 x 20 Watts (Battery)
2 x 40 Watts (AC) 
2 x 30 Watts (Battery)
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2
Wired
Bluetooth 5.1
Wired
I/O ports1 x 3.5mm aux 
2 USB ports 
1 mini stereo input 
1 micro USB port (for firmware upgrades)
1 x 3.5mm aux
1 USB ports
1 mini stereo input
1 micro USB port (for firmware upgrades)
Speaker phoneYesNo
Battery Life20,000mAh 
Approximately 24 hours
10,000mAh
Approximately 24 hours
Charging Time6.5 hours6.5 hours
App SupportJBL PortableJBL Portable
Speaker PairingSupported
(JBL Connect)
Supported
(JBL PartyBoost)
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

JBL Boombox 

JBL Boombox
JBL Boombox

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • IPX7 waterproof — can survive even if submerged in water
  • Excellent build quality
  • Has indoor/outdoor mode

Cons

  • Bluetooth 4.2 is outdated now
  • Takes a long time to fully charge
  • Does not support pairing with newer Boombox 2 speakers

JBL Boombox 2

JBL Boombox 2
JBL Boombox 2

Pros

  • Comes with Bluetooth 5.1
  • The bass and mids are more pronounced
  • The handle now has grooves for better grip while carrying

Cons

  • Kind of expensive
  • Much heavier than the JBL Boombox
  • Has one less USB port for charging
  • Charging time is too long

JBL Boombox vs Boombox 2: Features Face to Face

Well, these two speakers look like twins! Except there are subtle differences, which we shall look at right now. Starting off with the most important part — audio or sound quality.

Sound quality

Sound quality is critical for a good speaker because we have all heard speakers that are incredibly loud but end up sounding noisy because of poor quality components. Thankfully, JBL gets this — the Boombox may be lower down the catalog, but you’ll still get what you paid for! Let’s break it down further. 

Volume

Both the JBL Boombox and the Boombox 2 come with impressive SPL ratings (sound pressure level), and it’s always surprising how such loud music could come out of such small bodies. This is all thanks to the excellent engineering teams at Harman and Kardon! And since the Boombox 2 has a power output of 80 watts on AC as compared to the 60 watts output of the JBL Boombox when on AC, we give this round to the JBL Boombox 2.

JBL Boombox 2 Sound quality
JBL Boombox 2 Sound

Bass frequency

We know for a fact that JBL worked hard on the Boombox 2 because they had to find a way to release a product that was better than the amazing Boombox. And you can hear the results of their efforts in the bass frequency — there is a remarkable difference in the lows that you hear on the Boombox 2, compared to the Boombox. When it comes to bass, the Boombox 2 wins.

Soundstage

It’s tricky to offer listeners a soundstage, given the design of the JBL Boombox. But JBL has still done a commendable job, as there is clear stereo separation, still. That said, there is no noticeable difference between the soundstage of the Boombox and the Boombox 2. So this round is a tie.

Clarity

While the Boombox definitely set a high standard for sound quality, we feel that the Boombox 2 does beat it. This difference is most obvious when you crank up the levels because you can sense the Boombox struggling to maintain the clarity and do justice to the various frequencies, whereas the Boombox does the same with ease, at similar volume levels.

Wattage

The Boombox series uses an interesting system to balance power output and battery life. When using AC power, both the Boombox and the Boombox 2 offer more power — the Boombox has an output of 60 watts, whereas the Boombox 2 has an output of 80 watts. On battery, both the speakers drop output by 20 watts. Thus, when it comes to wattage, the Boombox 2 wins easily!

In the sound clarity section, we must declare the Boombox 2 as the winner for the reasons listed above!

Design and build

The Boombox 2 may be newer than the Boombox, but concerning design, the changes are minimal — we assume JBL didn’t want to play with a popular design. There are only minor changes like a different battery level indicator and grooves on the handle of the Boombox 2. The build quality of the Boombox 2 is as good as that of its elder brother. Taking all of this into consideration, we declared this round a tie! And shoutout to both units for having IPX7 protection against water, which is incredibly useful for a party speaker.

JBL Boombox 2
JBL Boombox 2

Connectivity

The best part about JBL’s range of Bluetooth speakers is how easily they connect to our smartphones. You’ll see the speaker listed on your smartphone’s device list with a single tap of the Bluetooth button. The Boombox runs Bluetooth 4.2, whereas the Boombox 2 comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.1, which is more efficient. Both speakers offer an aux-in and a USB out for charging something small, like a phone or a tablet. The Boombox 2 only has one USB out, whereas the original Boombox has 2. Picking a winner for this round was tough — but we chose the Boombox 2.

Related Read: How to Connect JBL Speakers to ANY Device or Each Other!

Speaker phone

The original Boombox is a lot more phone-friendly than its successor, the Boombox 2. You can not only take calls on it, but you can even assign a button on the speaker to activate your phone’s Voice Assistant. That seems incredibly useful, but for some reason, this was discontinued on the Boombox 2. An easy win for the Boombox!

Compatibility

The JBL Boombox connects easily to both Android smartphones and iPhones easily and can connect to other speakers using the JBL connect technology. In a strange move, JBL took away Connect and instead packed the Boombox 2 with Partyboost technology, and because of this, you can’t connect it to the original Boombox and vice versa. It’s a tie for us.

Weight and dimensions

The Boombox 1 and 2 look similar in size as well — while the Boombox measures 19.5 x 10 x 7.7 inches, the Boombox 2’s dimensions are 19.1 x 10.1 x 7.9 inches. What you can’t see, however, is that the Boombox 2 weighs almost 2 lbs more — and while this may not seem like a big deal, if you ever need to carry it a long way, that will most definitely make a difference. We are definitely in favor of lighter weights, so this round goes to the Boombox!

Durability

We love the build of both the Boombox and the Boombox 2 — there’s high-quality PVC plastic, sturdy buttons, a mesh, an excellent waterproof cap for the controls and ports section, and the woofers are rock-solid as well. Since both speakers are equally tough, we gave this round a draw.

Waterproof rating

The IPX7 rating on a speaker tells us that you can keep the speaker submerged 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes and it should still not cause issues with the speaker. While we definitely don’t recommend it, what it does mean is that you can safely take the speaker to pool parties or the beach, and not have to worry. And since both the Boombox and the Boombox 2 offer IPX7 protection, they are both winners for this round!

JBL Boombox 2 Waterproof IPX7 Rating
JBL Boombox 2 Waterproof IPX7 Rating

Bluetooth connection

While the Boombox offers Bluetooth 4.2, the JBL Boombox 2 comes with Bluetooth 5.1. But what does this mean in real-life conditions? Well, Bluetooth 4.2 limits data bandwidth to 1Mbps whereas this number doubles to 2Mbps with Bluetooth 5.1. Similarly, version 4.2 limits range to 60 meters or 200 feet, whereas with Bluetooth 5.1, you’re looking at a maximum of 240 meters or 800 feet, increasing the range four-fold. Sold yet? We are! We give this round to the Boombox 2!

Power

The power specs are critical to study and understand before you buy a speaker. Let’s look at the specs of the cells inside the Boombox 1 and 2. 

Battery power

The Boombox is equipped with a 20,000mAh cell whereas the battery inside the Boombox 2 has a capacity of 10,000mAh. But the speakers are tuned in a way where this difference does not seem significant anymore. So when it comes to battery power, we gave them both equal points.

Battery life

As mentioned above, the capacity of the battery in the Boombox 2 is half that of its predecessor. But there is no noticeable dip in battery life, as you still get the 24 hours of playtime from the Boombox 2 that you get out of the Boombox 1. This round is a tie as well!

JBL Boombox
JBL Boombox

Battery charge time

We were really hoping the Boombox 2 would crush the Boombox when it comes to charging time, especially when you consider that its battery has half the capacity of the original. But nope, the charge time remains constant for both speakers at 6.5 hours, which is really long. And that ends this round in a draw, too.

Software

We can’t say much about the software differences between the Boombox and the Boombox 2 except that it works really well! We’re yet to run into a situation where one of these speakers had a bug that took it out of action, and we’re also glad that JBL keeps rolling out firmware updates for both speakers, but that said, we expect to receive firmware support for the Boombox 2 for much longer. And for that reason, we give this round to the Boombox 2.

Portability

We love how comfortably you can lug the Boomboxes around because the handle is smartly located on the body of the speaker. And the addition of the grippy handle on the Boombox 2 was a great touch, but the speaker’s weight did go up by almost 2 lbs. We think the speakers are more or less equally portable, so we declare this round a draw.

JBL Boombox 2 Portability
JBL Boombox 2 Portability

Speaking of portability, have you read our comparison of the JBL Charge 4 against the Flip 5? You should!

Standout Features

Whew! We really had to nitpick to find differences between the Boombox and the Boombox 2, but that just highlights how good of a job JBL did with the original Boombox. 

If value for money is your priority, we think the Boombox would be right up your alley. Whereas if you want to shell out more for range and a superior Bluetooth connection, you should be taking a closer look at the Boombox 2. Besides this, the audio quality is only marginally different and we couldn’t find design changes significant enough to make us lean heavily in favor of the Boombox 2.

Here’s a detailed comparison video for these speakers that we found on YouTube:

Price

How much you pay for either of these devices really boils down to how good you are at finding deals online. You’re looking at shelling out far less for the Boombox 1, at least $100 less if you find a good deal. We did a quick search of Amazon for you guys and here’s what we could dig up:

Lowest prices for JBL Boombox on Amazon

Lowest prices for JBL Boombox 2 on Amazon

Click on these links and you should be able to find the best possible deals on Amazon for these speakers.

Conclusion

Since we’ve listed the deciding factors in the sections above, we hope we could help you decide which speaker to pick in this JBL Boombox vs Boombox 2 comparison. The original Boombox is still a banger but looking at future updates, better Bluetooth range, and compatibility with other new JBL speakers, the Boombox 2 does make sense as well. If we had to choose, we would choose the Boombox 2 for sure. We’d love to hear what you’d pick, so hit us up in the comments section below!

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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