JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Which is better for you?

JBL offers us some of the best Bluetooth portable speakers on the market, and the Xtreme series is no exception. In this article, we’ll compare JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3, so that you know exactly what to expect before purchasing. Now let’s take a closer look.

JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Where to start

At first glance, the differences between the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3 are marginal. The minuscule design differences aside, it’s what’s inside that counts. Newer models usually bring newer technology with them, and JBL never falls short on that front.

Since its inception, JBL has offered its customers nothing but the best in audio quality. They beat many manufacturers in audio quality alone, and have been doing so for quite some time.

FeaturesJBL Xtreme 2JBL Xtreme 3
What’s in the Box1 x JBL XTREME 2
1 x Power Adaptor
1 x Strap
1 x Quick-Start Guide
1 x Safety Sheet
1 x Warranty Card
1 x JBL Xtreme 3 Speaker
1 x JBL Adaptor with Power Cable + Regional Plug
1 x JBL Xtreme 3 Strap
1 x Quick-Start Guide
1 x Safety Sheet
1 x Warranty Card
Weight5.275 lbs (2393g)4.339 lbs (1.968kg)
Dimensions11.3″ x 5.4″ x 4.2″ (287 x 137 x 107mm)11.75″ x 5.35″ x 5.28″ (298.5 x 136 x 134mm)
Bluetooth Version4.25.1
Bluetooth Frequency Range2402 MHz to 2480 MHz2407 MHz to 2475 MHz
Bluetooth Transmitter Power0 dBm to 12.5 dBm0 dBm to 12.0 dBm
Speakers2 x 2.75″ woofer (2 x 70mm),
2 x 0.75″ tweeter (2 x 20mm)
2 x 2.75″ woofer (2 x 70mm),
2 x 0.75″ tweeter (2 x 20mm)
Rated Speaker Power Output2 x 20W RMS Bi-amp (AC power mode)2 x 25W RMS woofer + 2 x 25W RMS tweeter (AC power mode)
Frequency Response55Hz–20kHz53.5Hz – 20kHz
Battery capacity36Wh (equivalent to 3.7V/10000mAh)36.3Wh (equivalent to 7.26 V/5000 mAh)
Advertised Playback TimeUp to 15 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)Up to 15 hours (dependent on volume level and audio content)
Charging Time3.5 hours2.5 hours
Auto-power Off
ConnectivityUSB-A, Micro USB, Aux-inUSB-A, USB-C, Aux-in
Charging Power Bank
Speakerphone
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Our OpinionWorks great as a home speaker as well. It’s that good!An upgrade well worth the price difference.

JBL Xtreme 2

The JBL Xtreme 2 rolled out into the market in the Spring of 2018. It was the second generation model in the Xtreme series. It’s built to take a beating, can spend up to 30 minutes under 3 feet of water, and has a convenient strap to help you carry its 5 lbs weight. You can even open bottles with its built-in bottle opener (on the strap).

Pros

  • Stable stand
  • Power bank
  • JBL Connect+ protocol
  • Voice assistant & speakerphone

Cons

  • Less bass
  • Weight

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Xtreme 3 hit the market in October 2020. It cost more than the previous model did when released. It offers more power than the previous model, a convenient strap with an updated bottle opener. JBL also used lighter magnets in its drivers, resulting in a lighter product altogether.

Pros

  • Lower frequency range
  • Power bank
  • Bluetooth v5.1
  • JBL PartyBoost protocol

Cons

  • Unstable stand
  • No speakerphone

JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Features Face to Face

Sound quality and wattage

The first thing I noticed when delving into the specs of both devices is that, even though their speakers are the same size, the Xtreme 3 has more power. 40W vs 50W, to be exact. So, these are not the same speakers. A definite upgrade from the previous model. The difference in wattage is primarily felt in the low-frequency range. Let me explain why.

JBL Xtreme 3 Sound
JBL Xtreme 3 Superior Sound Quality

Both the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3 have two woofers and two tweeters. Woofers are for low frequencies, while tweeters are for high frequencies. Some smaller JBL models offer only woofers, in which case these speakers have to produce both the highs and lows. When a speaker has tweeters, the woofer is free to concentrate on the low frequencies.

We listened to both portable speakers, and they sound very much the same. We noticed that the JBL Xtreme 2 has a fuller, almost surround sound with more clarity and less bass. On the other hand, the JBL Xtreme 3 has a deeper sound and a more powerful bass. This is due to the lower dynamic frequency range featured in the JBL Xtreme 3.

The speaker upgrade I mentioned above boils down to materials used in production. JBL used lighter magnets in the drivers of the Xtreme 3, giving us the extra 10W and the almost pound less in weight.

Back to the actual sound quality, if you like clarity and a sense of being surrounded by music, the JBL Xtreme 2 is the choice for you. If you prefer a better bass, then the JBL Xtreme 3 is definitely the choice for you.

Winner: JBL Xtreme 3

Design, build, and durability

The obvious design difference is that the JBL Xtreme 2 is somewhat straighter than its younger version. The Xtreme 3 has uneven protruding rubber caps around its passive radiators, which is not the case on the Xtreme 2. Standing them on their sides leaves the Xtreme 3 leaning to one, while the Xtreme 2 stands straight.

JBL Xtreme 2 with stand
JBL Xtreme 2 with stand

What we prefer about the older model is its stand. It has a very firm stand leaving you feeling safe when you set it up. The Xtreme 3 has ridged rubber lines that run diagonally on the bottom of its middle section. Though they stop the Xtreme 3 from sliding, we still feel like it could roll away at any moment. Not a good upgrade at all, in our opinion.

JBL Xtreme 3 Waterproof and Dustproof IP67 Rating
JBL Xtreme 3 IP67 Rating

Like other JBL portable speakers, both the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3 feature the same distinctive durable wire mesh casing and waterproof rating. This means you can submerge them in up to 3 feet (1m) for up to 30 minutes. The advantage the Xtreme 3 has over the Xtreme 2 is its dustproof rating, making it the go-to device for any sandy or dusty surroundings.

The JBL Xtreme 2 comes in 5 colors, including camouflage. The Xtreme 3 also has a camouflage model and two other colors to choose from. The Xtreme 2 has a separate submodel (as advertised on the JBL website) – the JBL Xtreme 2 Gun Metal edition. There’s no technical difference between this model and the standard colors, but it does look cool.

Winner: Draw

Weight, dimensions, and portability

The JBL Xtreme 3 are slightly larger (we’re talking 1cm), but it takes the cake when it comes to weight. It’s almost a pound lighter than the Xtreme 2. This makes it the more portable of the two, for sure. Both come with a strap and two eyelets built into their wire mesh bodies. One cool feature of the Xtreme series is that it has a bottle opener attached to its strap.

JBL Xtreme 3 Bottle opener strap
JBL Xtreme 3 with bottle opener in the strap

Winner: JBL Xtreme 3

JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Connectivity

Bluetooth connection

The JBL Xtreme 3 uses Bluetooth v5.1 to pair with other devices. This gives it faster speeds, larger distances (50 yards), and a completely different frequency range than the older v4.2. The JBL Xtreme 2 uses Bluetooth v4.2 for pairing. This limits its pairing distance to about 30 feet (10m).

*Note that these distances shorten with any obstacles between paired devices.

Winner: JBL Xtreme 3

Aux-in

Both the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3 feature a 3.5mm Aux-in port. This is great if you want to connect any older devices that don’t have Bluetooth to your JBL speaker. We’re definitely fans of this option.

JBL Xtreme Aux-in port
JBL Xtreme Aux-in Port

Winner: Draw

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

JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Battery

Battery life and type

Both the JBL Xtreme 2 and Xtreme 3 have Lithium-ion Polymer batteries. The Xtreme 2 has 36Wh, which is equivalent to 10000mAh. The Xtreme 3 has 36.3Wh, equivalent to 5000mAh. Both have an advertised 15 hours of playback time depending on volume and audio content (as advertised by JBL).

Winner: Draw

Battery charge time

The advertised charging time of the JBL Xtreme 3 was dropped down to 2.5 hours from the 3.5 hours required by the Xtreme 2. This is understandable as most USB-C devices charge faster than Micro USB devices.

Winner: Xtreme 3

Powerbank

A really cool feature in JBL’s larger speakers (Charge series and larger) is the power bank for charging other devices. We’re a true fan of this. It’s one less device that we have to pack when heading out.

JBL speaker as a powerbank
JBL Speaker as a Powerbank

Winner: Draw

JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Standout Features

The extra 10W that the JBL Xtreme 3 has over the JBL Xtreme 2 definitely stands out. So does the stronger bass pumped out by the JBL Xtreme 3.

The JBL Xtreme 2 has voice assistant and speakerphone options. You can use both Google Assistant and Siri with the Xtreme 2. JBL removed these options in the Xtreme 3.

Software

As these speakers are pretty much the same, but their differing protocols stand out most. The JBL Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3 use different protocols to pair with other JBL speakers, and they can’t pair with each other.

JBL Portable App
JBL Portable App

Both use the same JBL Connect app, now called JBL: Portable. You can unlock additional features for your speaker, customize settings, and manage pairing via the app. The renaming probably had something to do with marketing purposes, but we found no specific explanation for this.

What we found frustrating while reading the comments for the JBL: Portable app is that they’ve dropped the JBL Xtreme 2 from the list of supported devices (among others). We found No solution to fix this issue, so be prepared to miss out on the extra functionality offered by the app if you buy the JBL Xtreme 2. This means no changing any of the settings on the Xtreme 2.

Winner: JBL Xtreme 3

JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Price

Like most tech trinkets, both the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3 had higher price tags when they came out than they do nowadays. Today, you can find the JBL Xtreme 2 on Amazon for between $150 and $175. The JBL Xtreme 3 sells for anywhere from $250 to $320. Almost double that of the older model.

Even though we feel like you’re not getting that much of an upgrade to justify that much of a price difference, the benefit of having device support in the JBL app is worth it.

Winner: JBL Xtreme 2

Conclusion

In essence, not that much has changed when you compare the JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3. If you’re on a budget and have an older JBL device that uses the JBL Connect+ protocol, go with the JBL Xtreme 2. If money isn’t an issue, or it’s your first JBL portable purchase, choose the JBL Xtreme 3. The JBL Connect+ protocol will become completely obsolete soon enough.

Both devices provide great audio, so it comes down to your taste in how they sound. If you can, find them before purchasing and listen to them using the same track. If you can’t, there are a lot of sound comparisons on YouTube, but listening to a recording of how a speaker sounds is not an effective way of hearing the differences.

Don’t forget you’ll be missing some functionality if you purchase the Xtreme 2 due to the discontinued support on the JBL app – a real dealbreaker for me.

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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