JBL has announced four portable Bluetooth speakers at CES 2022, in a variety of styles and budgets. These new speakers are the JBL Boombox 3, Partybox Encore, Partybox Encore Essential and, finally, the JBL Pulse 5.
The JBL Partybox Encore Essential will be the first of these Bluetooth speakers to launch, releasing in March 2022 for $299.95. The compact party speaker makes use of JBL's signature Lightshow tech to get the party going – while an upgraded JBL Partybox Encore is also on the way, launching in "Summer 2022," so expect to see this version tentatively releasing between the months of June and September this year.
The new Partybox Encore also comes with two wireless microphones and boasts a ten hour battery life over the Essential's paltry six. And at $399.95, it could be a great pick if you and your friends are karaoke lovers. Both speakers also feature an IPX4 splashproof water resistance rating, making them ideal for use in outdoor environments.
Next up is the JBL Boombox 3, also launching in "Summer 2022" for $499.95. A little on the pricier side, but we were big fans of the JBL Boombox 2 with its thumping bass profile, very high water resistance rating and 24-hour battery life.
The Boombox 3 sounds like it could be an improvement over its predecessor, then, boasting a new 3-way speaker system that features a "racetrack-shaped" subwoofer, two mid-range drivers and two tweeters. Not only that, but the Boombox 3 is also set to feature Bluetooth 5.3, the codec's latest and greatest version. If the speaker is anywhere near as good as the Boombox 2, then we could be listening to a ludicrously powerful sound from the Boombox 3 when it launches later in the year.
Finally, the JBL Pulse 5 will be the next entry in the company's long-running party speaker line-up. Launching in "Summer 2022" for $249.95, it's the cheapest option of these four new JBL announcements, but differs in that it will feature 360-degree immersive audio and – like its predecessors – an ambient lightshow that can sync to your favorite tunes.
Previous models like the JBL Pulse 3 and Pulse 4 have been solid, but improvements could be made. The Pulse 5 matches the previous model's 12-hour battery life, which certainly isn't the best we've ever seen, and there's no mention as to whether we'll see the return of the 3.5mm aux cord that made the Pulse 3 such a good purchase. However, we do expect the new speaker to match or surpass the powerful, balanced sound profile we're used to from these portable speakers.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.