JBL has upgraded two of its best-loved wireless speakers. The JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi and Charge 5 Wi-Fi add wi-fi to the wireless skillset, so you can stream direct to the speaker from your favourite music service. They support 24-bit/96kHz playback over wi-fi, and the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi also supports Dolby Atmos through Tidal (as long as you use the JBL One app).
The addition of wi-fi means your phone doesn't have to be in the same room as the speaker for music to play, so you can roam around the house at will. And if you do head to the bottom of the garden, or to the park, you can switch to Bluetooth and keep the party going.
Both the Charge 5 Wi-Fi and Boombox 3 Wi-Fi also boast AirPlay 2, Alexa MRM and Chromecast built-in over Wi-Fi, giving you plenty of options of how to listen. They self-tune depending on their surroundings too, optimising the sound to wherever they are.
The Boombox 3 Wi-Fi is the first JBL portable speaker to get Dolby Atmos, for a more spatial, immersive sound (though it's only available through Tidal via the JBL One app). Both speakers have Bluetooth 5.3, which is the same as the Boombox 3, but an upgrade for the Charge 5 Wi-Fi (the non-wi-fi model had Bluetooth 5.1).
Both speakers retain the impressive battery life of their non-wi-fi versions (20 hours for the Charge 5 Wi-Fi, 24 for the Boombox 3 Wi-Fi), and the same IP67 water- and dust-proof rating. But they have a new black finish with gold highlights. And they're very eco-friendly – the speaker casings are made from 90 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic, while the speaker grilles use 100 per cent recycled fabric. This ethos extends to the packaging, which is made from FSC-certified paper and printed with soy ink.
Just like their non-wi-fi versions, they're compatible with the JBL One app. But they cost a little more. The Boombox 3 Wi-Fi costs £549.99 and the Charge 5 Wi-Fi is £229.99 – that's a fair bit more than the standard Boombox 3 (£446) and Charge 5 (£140). US and Australian pricing is TBC.
We haven't reviewed the Boombox 3, but the Charge 5 picked up a 2022 What Hi-Fi? Award. We're looking forward to these wi-fi versions.
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