If you are an insatiable music lover, looking to take his tunes wherever he goes and enjoying sound with no effort indoors or outdoors, owning a pair of portable speakers may just be the right solution. The modern portable speakers today do not need any wiring, so your experience will be much less messy. All you need to do is to pair them via Bluetooth or wifi on your smart device and you’re all set. Most of the ones available today are compatible both with iOS and Android operated devices.
Imagine you are having a picnic with your friends on a hot summer day, high in the mountains where there’s no electricity whatsoever. This does not mean that you should give up on music while enjoying the nature. All you need to do is to bring your Bluetooth and battery-operated wireless smart speaker and get the party started. In the following part, I will present to you two models of Jlab speakers I had the pleasure to experiment with, JLab Audio Block Party and House Party wireless speakers, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
JLab House Party and Block Party Pros and Cons
JLab House Party
Here are the most distinctive pros and cons for the JLab Audio House Party wireless speakers. Let’s start with the pros:
- Very affordable, compared to other market options
- Great undistorted powerful stereo sound for the size
- Can be upgraded to a multi-room system (up to eight pieces)
- Simple to set-up with no cords
- Great rubberized modern looking design
- Universal controls – play music into one room and pause it into the next
- Sleep (Idle) mode available
- Same set of buttons to be used for few purposes (even though this is an option often frowned upon)
- Indoor/outdoor EQ modes
And of course, same as any other product, the JLab Audio House Party wireless speakers come with a dark side as well. Here’s the list of cons:
- Lack of speakerphone function
- No plug adapter for the charging cable, only a USB port
- Constant reminder when battery is going low
- The outdoor EQ mode, tend to have a squeakier sound output
JLab Block Party
I would like to lay out some distinctive pros and cons as well, making the JLab Audio Block Party wireless speakers review complete. First the pros:
- Easy to set up and use
- Modern and elegant design
- Option to connect up to 8 units
- Powerful and clear sound with the EQ indoor and outdoor modes
- Well-made and cool handle to carry the unit
- Multi-room wireless audio experience
- Rubber patches on the bottom side of the speaker, preventing it to slide or damage your floor
- Built in rubber cover over the ports on the back side, maintaining a good appearance while keeping the ports protected
- Compared to similar models, this Jlab speaker does not disconnect past 30 feet when connected via Bluetooth to your phone
- High-quality materials used for the exterior of the speaker
- Has both a power adapter and a USB port (for charging external devices)
And the cons:
- No speakerphone option (even though it is not a big deal)
- The battery lasts between 6-7 hours (not 9 hours as promised) at 50% volume, and higher volumes exhaust it even more
- The voice usage for turning the speaker on and off, which can be irritating. This option can be best avoided for future models by the manufacturer
- Low battery reminder at frequent intervals. The effect can be accomplished by setting a reminder off at 2-3 minutes instead of 10 seconds
- You need to hold the power button for nearly 7 seconds to turn off the speaker – and this is a bit ridiculous
- No charging indicator at all. When you plug the unit in, the ring is briefly purple and turns off, leaving you with no clue when it is fully charged
- Lacks track navigation controls, but you can do this from your phone anyway
JLab Audio House Party Wireless Speakers
Owning the House Party Jlab speakers gives you access to a lot of freedom, making your day better. You can easily move from one room to the next, carrying that powerful sound with you with no sweat. You actually won’t need any wifi connections, apps downloading and setting or physical wires, making your experience even smoother. Jlab offers the option for you to connect up to eight speakers throughout the house, equipping you to rock your parties in any corner of the home. All you need to do is to pair the Jlab speakers with your smartphone via Bluetooth up to 30 ft away, and then link all other speakers from up to 100 feet away.
Using the Speaker
These Jlab speakers use a 5.8 GHz frequency, eliminating the need to connect via wifi. Since no wifi is needed, you can take your speakers anywhere outside the house too. The wireless speakers work with any music streaming app or online source like Pandora, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music or from music library from your smart device. The Jlab speakers use the universal controls approach, meaning that you can play music into one room and pause it into the next. You can adjust the volume in the same view, simply by using your smartphone. The best thing is the sleep (idle) mode, enabling you to keep the Bluetooth connection paired while the speakers are idle, and continue from where you left off once in the mood. The Jlab speakers come with a nine-hour battery as well, which can be a huge deal if you are using them to entertain your kinds outdoors. Just imagine, now they can jump and sing by the beat of their favorite songs, instead of jumping all over you for the next hours. Even more so, they will be tired and ready to sleep once you return home.
In terms of design, this Jlab speaker weights 1.7 lbs making it easily portable even for the weakest pair of hands. The speaker comes in a black and metallic cube shape with elegantly rounded edges (with dimensions of 4 x 4 x 3.5 inches). The overall surface is rubber-like, keeping the speaker steady in place, regardless of the bass intensity. This means that you can place the speaker on any kind of surface, even really smooth one, and not worry that it will move or fall over. The best part is that the speaker is splash-proof, meaning that you can freely rinse it whenever you need to, but remember to never sink it under water since it is not completely waterproof. For only $99.99 on Amazon, you can instantly fill your room with mighty stereo sound coming from a really small pack. Pretty neat!
The top of the Jlab speaker is a rubber-like surface with a control panel placed around the main button, which is easily pressed for Play or Pause. Buttons for Power, Volume (Plus and Minus as multifunction buttons are also used to switch between indoor and outdoor EQ modes) and a Bluetooth pairing button are also there. These Jlab speakers have 3 speakers on 3 of the speaker’s sides, and each speaker has a DSP processor and two drivers.
As the name implies, the best use for these Jlab speakers is during a house party, however, the experience is best when owning a set of eight. Just picture it – you have all your friends coming over to your birthday party on Saturday, the drinks are kept cold and the food is set. All you need to do is to easily rearrange the speakers around the house and the yard (yes, you can place them indoors and outdoors at the same time!) and start gradually progressing through your playlist.
However, as with all of the technology today, this tiny pack comes with some negative sides too. The Jlab speakers are lacking a speakerphone function, however keeping their main purpose in mind, maybe this is not such of a big deal. A real drag is the lack of a plug adapter for the charging cable. There is only a USB port available, making it a bit difficult to charge a set of eight speakers scattered into different rooms. On top of that, when the battery is going low, the speaker reminds you every ten seconds, so this can be annoying – especially if you are at the bath tub for example and can’t reach the speaker immediately. Most probably the first urge would be to shut it off completely.
JLab Audio Block Party Wireless Speakers
Same as with the JLab Audio House Party wireless speakers, the larger counterpart – JLab Audio Block Party wireless speakers, come with a powerful sound for your home, and with a Connect 8 Technology, or the option to connect up to eight Jlab speakers at the same time. Identically, these speakers don’t need any cords as well. All you need to do is to pair your smart device with the speaker via Bluetooth up to 30 ft away, and link all other speakers from up to 100 feet away.
These Jlab speakers also use a 5.8 GHz frequency, not needing any wifi connection at all, once again meaning that you can take your music on the go. Being very simple to use, these Jlab speakers work well with any stored music on your device or with online music sources, like Pandora, iTunes, Spotify or Amazon Music. The battery’s life is up to nine hours ideally, making it easy for you to transport the speakers and use them outdoors. Using the same technology, this model comes with universal controls too, meaning that you can hit play or pause for all speakers simultaneously or individually, and use the sleep (idle) mode too.
The Jlab speakers weight 6.3 lbs, making them significantly heavier than their little brother. The design is completely the same, however, the dimensions for this model are different: 12.6 x 9.6 x 7.1 inches. As a plus, there is a built-in strap fastened to the back side of the speaker, where connections for the power adapter, USB port (for external devices charging) and 3.5 mm Aux input can be seen. This section is well protected by a rubber cover. I’m free to say that the manufacturer fixed the power plug issue with this model. Same as with the previous case, these Jlab speakers come with rubber-like sides to prevent them from slipping and add that black-metal-matt industrial look. Once again, the main button (being the Jlab logo) operates Play and Pause functions, having a built-in status indicator. A row of buttons can be also seen: Power, Volume (Plus/Minus, also used for a battery level check or shift between indoor and outdoor EQ modes) and a Bluetooth pairing button.
The sound output from these Jlabs speakers is crisp, while the bass is clean and deep. If you consider the price (currently $149.99 on Amazon) and the size of the unit, such sound combination is pretty amazing. When you adjust the volume, this does not interfere with the bass – a case with most Bluetooth-operated speakers, remaining clear even at the highest volume level. The Block Party Jlab speakers have two passive subwoofers, one facing downwards and other facing front, making a nice bass reflection from the bottom one which has a built-in hard surface. It has enough power to entertain a full yard of your friends all night. Just make sure to plug it in for prolonged usage.
To make one thing clear – if you wish to enjoy a really high sound quality then purchasing a top-notch speaker found on the higher end should be taken into consideration. The main purpose of this Jlab speaker is to be transported around the house, the yard, at a picnic or at the beach. Thus, being tinier compared to some top shelf gear, it is less powerful but easily portable and convenient. However, it doesn’t mean that the speaker is not loud. On the contrary, it is very loud, depending on the size and look of the room it is being placed in. if you use it in the kitchen for example, be ready to rock that spoon hard!
The highs and mids are very good too, and their clarity is not being messed with as you turn up the volume. Some songs may create a muddy sound if you turn them up to the max, but this is not always the case. You can easily use these Jlab speakers to watch a movie too. In general, it is a mighty little beast coming in a compact size. Same as with the House Party model, the Block Party Jlab speakers are splash-proof as well. The same warning remains though – try not to dunk it in water, but only rinse it.
On the downside, this model also lacks a speakerphone, but taking he purpose into consideration (especially the multi-room aspect) this is not a significant flaw. Some users had difficulties understanding all the functions accessible via one or two buttons, preferring button-per-option access. If you use the unit at 50% of volume continuously, the battery will not hold for 9 hours as promised, and the lifespan shortens as the volume level goes up. On top of that, when the battery is going low, the same annoying reminder kicks in every 10 seconds. This flaw alone is very annoying and it can often kill the party spirit. To make things even less clear, there’s no charging indicator, so you have no idea when the unit is completely full. Aside from these downsides, the Block Party Jlabs speakers are excellent to use around the house or at parties, within the range of expectations from the category, of course.
Wrap it up
If you look at the House Party Jlab speakers independently, these are small, mighty and affordable Bluetooth speakers providing more than a decent sound for the size and price. If you consider these Jlab speakers as part of a group, tiny as they are they can fill a room with sound with no effort at all. You won’t need cables or cords and no sweat in setting up the multi-room experience.
But, if you are looking for more power, better bass and loudness, the Block Party Jlab speakers are your choice. By combining up to eight of these little beasts, you can transform your house into a disco floor in under 15 minutes.
When considering your home audio experience, the first thing you need to decide is the purpose of the speakers – do you need them for casual home atmosphere, an indoor party or a back yard party, or maybe for a larger event looking for more sound power. If you are in need of a unit excluding the latter category, both Jlab speakers will do you justice, especially considering their price range on the market today. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more refined experience with a better and higher sound quality, then exploring on the more expensive side should be on your list prior to purchase.