JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof Speaker Review

After a long wait, I finally got my hands on the much anticipated new JBL Xtreme 2. The original Xtreme has been one of JBL's most popular Bluetooth speakers, and many JBL fans have been waiting eagerly for the new model. In this post JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof speaker review, I will look at what's new with the new Xtreme 2 and see what improvements they have made.

I think the new JBL Xtreme 2 is going to remain a portable Bluetooth speaker staple. Priced a little higher than some competitors, but what you are paying for is a solid fully IPX7 waterproof speaker that has a proven track record. The improved sound ( especially after firmware update) is clearer with great bass and volume. The Xtreme 2 battery life is not as long as some others on the market. But on average you will get from 10 to 15 hrs of playback time which I find will get you through a full day of playing.

JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof Speaker Review.  

JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof Speaker Review

Build and Design

The JBL Xtreme 2 has been improved in many areas inside and out. The new Xtreme 2's waterproof rating has been upgraded to IPX7 and can now be completely submerged in water without worries. The sound on the new Xtreme 2 has also been improved. It has a broader frequency response than the original Xtreme.

The frequency response of 55Hz - 70Hz bass gives the Xtreme a better bass than the original but this takes more power, and battery life is slightly reduced because of it.

The Xtreme 2 looks very similar to the original version but with a few key changes that make the new Xtreme 2 a more refined speaker. The new version weighs 281 grams more than the Xtreme and is available in three colours: black, blue and green. I was not sure I like the colour selection, but the green version I received is a very rich green and is nicer in person than in photos. I really like it!

​The smaller size and colour offering make it easier to fit with any decor, unlike the JBL Boombox that can be a little large in some spaces.

On the top of the Xtreme 2 are two rings that have been made a little larger than the previous model. They are used to attach a long strap with a bottle opener that is provided with the speaker. This makes it easy to put on your shoulder and easily carry it on your hip.

This feature works great when out walking around or taking the speaker to the beach, but I find around the house it seems more awkward to grab and move around as compared to the JBL Boombox that has a handle. Maybe a shorter handle accessory that could be clipped on could be added when the long strap is not needed. ​This is not a major issue but I liked the firm grip the Boombox handle offered so you didn't need to carry it like a football.

The rear port compartment has been upgraded to a fully waterproof gasket seal giving the Xtreme 2 an IPX7 waterproof rating which means it can now be fully submerged in water.

Battery indicators lights are located on the bottom. 5 LED lights tell you how much charge you have left. 

They have reduced the USB charge ports down to one as compared to two on the original Xtreme. I don't think this is a problem because do you want to charge devices or listen to music. It is nice to have it as an option, but I would prefer to use battery life for listening to music. Don't forget overall battery life is not forever. A battery only has a set number of charge cycles in its lifetime and eventually the batteries will not recharge or charge for long and will have to be replaced.

They changed the base of the Xtreme 2. Making the base/foot/pedestal a little bigger than the original Xtreme. I would like the feet to be a little bigger. I found the speaker rolled forward or back when setting it down on an uneven surface, unlike the solid feel you get with the JBL Boombox. See my JBL Boombox Review

Features

The new JBL Xtreme 2 is similar in size to the original weighing about a half a pound more and slightly larger. They have also added a few new features.

New Features

  • The backport area now has a rubber gasket cover that gives the new Xtreme an IPX7 rating. Meaning it can be completely submerged in water. 
  • The Xtreme 2 has the new JBL Connect+ and can now pair with over 100 other JBL Connect+ compatible speaker
JBL Xtreme 2 waterproof port

JBL Xtreme 2 waterproof port

The new Xtreme 2 has the standard JBL controls layout

  • First button is the Bluetooth pairing button. 
  • Next is Volume down  
  • Power Button
  • The next button is the  JBL Connect+ button. This allows you to pair with up 100 JBL Connects Plus compatible speakers. This means that if you have an older JBL Speaker it will not work with this newer system. Maybe an update in the future may fix that. Most likely not.
  • Next is the Volume Up
  • Last button is the forward and speaker phone. Works well when answering a call but picks up a background noise. 
JBL Xtreme Controls

JBL Xtreme Controls

Sound Quality

The sound quality has been improved from the original Xtreme. But it took a little tweaking. Since its release, many customers complained that the new Xtreme 2 is not as loud as the old Xtreme. They have already issued a software update this spring and this update gives the Xtreme 2 more volume and more bass over a wider volume range. I did hear a little distortion on some frequencies when listening at top volume.

I found the JBL Boombox at about 65% volume was equal to the Xtreme 2 at 100% volume, but I did hear a little distortion on some higher frequencies when listening at 100% volume with the Xtreme 2. I found if the volume is turned down to about 80% the distortion is reduced.

The sound quality of the Xtreme 2 is the typical JBL sound profile. It has a punchy bass with clear mids and crisp highs with no distortion. I found the high end is not overly crispy like the JBL Boombox and pairing the two together creates a real nice balanced sound.

Firmware Update

JBL has issued a firmware update that adds a significant improvement. The update does not happen automatically, it happens when you open the JBL Connect+ App then you will be prompted to update the firmware. To do the update you are required to plug in the Xtreme 2 into a power outlet and keep your phone close to the device during the firmware update. The process takes about 10 minutes. The old Xtreme is not compatible with the new JBL Connect+ App so this update will only work for the new JBL Xtreme 2 and does not work with the old Xtreme. 

Sound Frequency analysis

Bass

The sound on the Xtreme 2 is typical JBL sound signature, but I find it is getting a little more refined with every new model. The bass has the kick people have come to expect from the JBL Bluetooth speaker line. The new firmware update gives the Xtreme 2 more volume and more bass over a broader volume range.

Mids

The mids are pushed slightly forward, and vocals always come through and have good definition between instruments. At times, at 100% volume, I heard a little distortion on high vocals.

Highs

In my experience with the JBL signature sound the highs can at times get a little much. But with the new firmware update for the Xtreme 2, the highs have been toned down a bit, and I find the sound overall very detailed and not as crispy as the JBL Boombox.

As I have mentioned before in other JBL speaker reviews, I wish they would incorporate a little equalizer in their JBL Connect+ App so you could make slight adjustments. They do have an indoor and outdoor mode on the JBL Boombox that would have been nice to incorporate into the new Xtreme 2. I find that JBL speakers always shine with modern well-recorded music and older recording sometimes get a little muddled.

JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof Speaker Review

JBL Xtreme 2 on Nightstand

JBL Xtreme 2 on a nightstand. The clean look fits into any decor

  • General
  • package content

JBL Xtreme  stats vs JBL Xtreme 2

JBL Xtreme 2

  • Bluetooth® version 4.2
  • Support A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
  • Transducer Woofer 2 x 2.75 inch
  • Tweeter 2 x 20mm
  • Rated power 2 x 20W RMS Bi-amp (AC mode)
  • Frequency response 55Hz–20kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio>80dB
  • Power supply 19V 3A
  • Battery type Lithium-ion Polymer 36Wh 
  • Battery charge time 3.5 hours
  • Music play time up to 15 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
  • Single USB charge out 5V/2A 
  • Bluetooth® transmitter power 0-12.5dBm
  • Bluetooth® transmitter frequency range 2.402 – 2.480GHz
  • Bluetooth® transmitter modulation GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Dimension (H x W x D)136 x 288 x 132      mm
  • Weight (kg) 2393g

JBL Xtreme

  • Bluetooth® version 4.1
  • Support A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
  • Transducer Woofer 2 x 2.48 inch
  • Tweeter 2 x 35mm
  • Rated power 2 x 20W Bi-amp (AC mode)
  • Frequency Response 70Hz – 20kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio>80dB
  • Power supply 19V 3A
  • Battery type Lithium-ion Polymer (37Wh)
  • Battery charge time 3.5 hours
  • Music play time up to 15 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
  • Dual USB charge out 2 x 1A
  • Bluetooth® transmitter power 0-4 dBm
  • Bluetooth® transmitter frequency range 2.402 – 2.480 GHz
  • Bluetooth® transmitter modulation GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Dimension (H x W x D)126 x 283 x 122 mm
  • Weight (kg) 2112 g
JBL Xtreme 2 waterproof

The new JBL Xtreme 2 now has a IPX7 rating

Pros and Cons

JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof Speaker Review

Pros

  • Improved sound with better frequency range.
  • 15 hours of battery life
  • Full waterproof IPX7 rating
  • JBL Connect+ link up to 100 JBL Connect+ devices

Cons

  • No equalizer adjustment
  • A little tippy on uneven surfaces 
  • Little bit pricey

JBL Xtreme 2 Unboxing and Review

Should you buy it?

I like the new Xtreme 2 speaker. I think this speaker is a convenient size and has great sound and volume. The old Xtreme speaker has a proven track record, and many older models are still working great, so you know this speaker will last and take a few bumps along the way.

Comparable speakers on the market like the UE Boom, priced a little less, but has a flatter sound profile and a shorter battery life. The new Xtreme 2 is a bulletproof speaker ideal for someone that listens to pop music and likes a little extra bass and highs in their music. 

I do love my JBL Boombox, but I think for many people the Xtreme 2 is all the speaker they will need. If you have experienced a Boombox and mostly listen at about 50% volume then the Xtreme will work great for you. It is also much lighter to carry around and has plenty of volume. On a flight you can bring the Xtreme 2 as carry-on baggage, but the Boombox is too big for that. Plus with reduced flight weight restrictions the Boombox would eat up a good chunk of your luggage weight. 

I tried the Xtreme 2 down at the gym for my bootcamp and it preformed very well. I have used the JBL Boombox in the past and really like it but I found the Xtreme 2 for its size will work almost as well. It has enough volume for my class and it's lighter to carry around. 

If the IPX7 waterproof rating and the Connect+ features are not important for you, the old version Xtreme will be on sale and will be a great deal. But keep in mind they don't sound as good, and you will not be able to connect to other speakers with JBL's Connect+. This feature is only available on JBL's newest speakers.

JBL Xtreme 2 Waterproof Speaker At The Lake

JBL XTREME 2 WATERPROOF SPEAKER at the lake

JBL XTREME 2 WATERPROOF SPEAKER REVIEW

Conclusion

The new Xtreme 2 is a nice improvement from the older version. When originally released in the spring it was not as loud as the original, but the recently released firmware update increased the volume and improved the sound. The sealed port compartment makes it a little more durable and versatile than the previous model.

If you really want a lot of volume I suggest spending $150 more and getting the JBL Boombox, you will not be disappointed. If you keep an eye out, it will cost only $50 more. I have seen the Boombox on sale for as low as $349. If you are a more moderate listener than the Xtreme 2 will be plenty loud. If you have a friend with a JBL Connect+ speaker and have a party you can pair them for more volume when needed.

The price for the JBL Xtreme 2 is a little premium. There are a few comparable speakers that cost the same or a little less, but the JBL Xtreme 2 in sound comparisons often comes out as the preferred speaker. This speaker is a proven durable speaker that you can take anywhere and will not disappoint. I think they will continue to be a favourite portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker with customers for the near future.

Price: $299.95 US
Where to buy: Amazon Canada Amazon USA
Source: The sample of this product was provided by JBL.com

Streamingpete

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Streamingpete

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