Like many people, once this pandemic is over, I plan on hosting a lot of parties. Across the world, people will be gathering together once again in large crowds. It seems fitting to start reviewing new tech products that will help set the stage for all the post-pandemic parties of the future.
I’m reviewing the JBL PartyBox 100 Bluetooth speaker. This has to be one of the most epic speaker names ever. The PartyBox 100. With a name like this, can it literally live up to its name? Is it really a party in a box? Let’s find out.
Notable features of JBL Partybox 100 speaker
The JBL Partybox 100 speaker is a wireless speaker that connects to your smart device via Bluetooth. It measures 29 cm (11.3 in) wide by 55.1 cm (21.69 in) high and has a depth of 28.8 cm (11.34 in). It weighs 9.7 kg (21 lb).
- 160-watt wireless speaker
- 45 Hz–18k Hz
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 12-hour battery life
- Offers connection for two compatible speakers wirelessly with True Wireless Stereo
- RGB LED light patterns or synced-with-the-music light
- 3.5mm audio input
- 1 USB port
- Microphone/Guitar input with volume control
- Mountable so you can place it anywhere
Design of the JBL PartyBox 100
The PartyBox 100 is constructed with plastic and features a metal grille on the front with LED lights protected in the middle. It has a durable build with rubber feet located on the two sides and on the bottom. The back features two handles on the top and bottom with rubber coatings for a secure grip. It’s comfortable to hold but at 21 lbs it feels surprisingly heavy if you try to hold it for a long time.
Larger than a boombox
As a Bluetooth speaker, the PartyBox is large, especially compared to other speakers I’ve reviewed before. It measures approximately 22 inches in height x 11 inches in width X 11 inches in depth. I tried to hold it on my shoulder like the old 80’s boomboxes, but it was too big and awkward to hold. JBL really needs to create the BoomBox 100. I’d buy that in a heartbeat.
Plays music off thumb drive too
On the top, you’ll find all the common control buttons including power, volume, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, lights, and Bass Boost. The back panel features a USB port that can play music off a thumb drive. It can also be used to charge external devices like smartphones and tablets. Also on the back are Aux in- and outputs, and microphone/guitar inputs with gain/volume controls.
Using the JBL PartyBox 100
In a perfect world, I would have hosted a BBQ for this review. That’s what I call hitting two birds with one stone. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, there will be no party in the PartyBox 100 review.
Place it anywhere
The first mistake I made is trying this speaker out indoors in my kitchen. It’s powerful and can easily fill any room with sound. Personally, I think it should be used primarily outdoors. I liked the ability to place it either vertically or horizontally.
Horizontally it looks like an oversized Bluetooth speaker. Vertically, it reminds me of a guitar amp or PA system. In either position, the rubber feet do a great job preventing it from moving around. Even with the Bass Boost on max, it did not vibrate off the table.
RGB LED Lighting adds to the atmosphere
It goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of RGB LED lighting. The PartyBox 100 will sync to the music which really adds to the party atmosphere.
Battery life on JBL PartyBox
What really impressed me was the battery life. That’s one of the advantages of having a large speaker. JBL says it has a 12-hour battery life but many factors such as Bluetooth connectivity, volume level, inputs, and RGB LED lights can affect it.
I used it outside between 6-8 hours without having to charge it. This makes it a great speaker for camping or at the beach where a power source is not readily available.
JBL PartyBox 100 sound quality
The PartyBox 100 features two 2.25-inch tweeters and two 5.25-inch woofers to produce a total of 160 watts of sound. What really impressed me was the dynamics. There are a lot of speakers that can produce a loud output. However, I judge a speaker’s sound profile at max volume to better understand its dynamic performance.
This speaker can get loud and still sound good without any noticeable audio compression. Without a doubt, it’s made for parties and large events that require a loudspeaker.
The overall sound profile is balanced making it suitable for a wide range of music. The Bass Boost feature makes it particularly appealing for bass-heavy party music. With it turned on, the sound profile becomes bass-heavy.
Connects to two Bluetooth devices at the same time
One thing I know about parties is that everyone wants to play DJ. Thankfully, the PartyBox 100 connects to two Bluetooth devices at the same time. I tested it playing Spotify on my smartphone and tablet interchangeably without any issues.
I connected both my microphone and guitar to the PartyBox 100 and got a good, clean signal. However, I don’t have an effects pedal so I couldn’t rock out with some distorted power cords to see how it compares to a guitar amp. Still, I think this speaker is versatile enough for live performances. The Aux out even allows you to daisy chain to other speakers.
Connect to another JBL speaker
Another connectivity option is wirelessly connecting another compatible JBL speaker. This can produce a wireless stereo sound for any party. One thing missing, however, was a USB-C port. Many phone manufacturers like the Apple iPhone are coming with USB-C cables. That would have been a much-used port, especially during parties.
Final thoughts on JBL PartyBox
Soon enough, there will be a lot of parties happening and now’s the perfect time to prepare for it. As a party speaker, the JBL PartyBox 100 lives up to its name. It’s an incredible loudspeaker with a neutral sound profile. With Bass Boost, it provides a ton of low-end for party-centric music.
With long battery life, it has plenty of juice to keep the party going late into the night. The RGB LED lights also help set the party atmosphere mood turning any outdoor space into an outdoor club.
One notable feature missing was voice assistant compatibility. I have a smart speaker installed on my backyard deck. During parties, everyone uses voice commands to play specific songs and playlists. It’s definitely a great feature to include in a party speaker.
I really like the microphone input. It’s great for late-night drunk karaoke sessions. Being able to connect a microphone to the PartyBox 100 gives it a lot of versatility as a portable PA system. I could see this being used at weddings or busking on the street. Basically anytime people need to make a public address, the portable PartyBox 100 is loud enough to address large outdoor crowds.
They really designed this speaker for all the party planners out there. The lights, portability, connectivity options make it work in a variety of situations. If you’re looking to host a lot of social gatherings and need a versatile, wireless system with ample battery power and sound, the JBL PartyBox 100 is worth checking out.