Like most cordless speakers, the JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker seems to have it all: an agreeable design, powerful sound reproduction and a mobile base that lets you blast your favorite tunes wherever you are. But does it do enough to beat out the competition, especially considering its somewhat steep price?

The JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker and its fearsome ‘Volume Up’ button

We did say that the Charge 3’s design is agreeable, but it isn’t going to revolutionize the market: the black-colored model painfully accentuates that the Charge 3 is little more than a lengthy cylinder. Things get a little better with the alternate colors – the blue and red variants are bright and definitely won’t go unnoticed no matter what sort of environment the speaker is in.

The standard features you’d expect from a Bluetooth speaker are all there, accompanied by a higher-than-usual volume output. JBL clearly wanted the Charge 3 to play louder than its predecessor, although this came at a price – at higher volumes, the sound is considerably less crisp. Still, you probably only need to crank the volume up to maximum in the sort of noisy environment where loss of sound quality isn’t a big issue. Indeed, considering that the device is waterproof and comes in several bright-colored variants, one would think JBL made this speaker with pool parties and beach gatherings in mind.

The price of around $15o isn’t spectacular – you can definitely find competent and attractive Bluetooth speakers for half the money – but if you need a loud speaker with equally-as-loud coloring, the Charge 3 is worth considering.

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