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JBL reveals Wi-Fi-enabled Boombox 3 and Charge 5 speakers

Added Wi-Fi connectivity allows for higher-quality streaming on the Charge 5 and Boombox 3, with the latter also gaining Atmos support

JBL has announced upgraded versions of its Boombox 3 and Charge 5 speakers that can connect over Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth.

Wi-Fi speakers have a few distinct advantages over their Bluetooth-only counterparts. First, they’re not at the mercy of Bluetooth’s limited range; once they’re hooked up to the same network as your audio source, you can move around freely and control what’s playing from your handheld device without any constraints.

Second, and more importantly, Wi-Fi connectivity unlocks improved sound quality, with both devices now able to stream audio at up to 24-bit/96kHz. Meanwhile, support for Apple AirPlay 2, Alexa Multi-Room Music, Chromecast and Spotify Connect means you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to streaming options.

The speakers also benefit from new “self-tuning” functionality, which automatically detects when you move them to a new environment and optimises their sonic output accordingly. Another exciting improvement to the Boombox 3 comes in the form of Dolby Atmos support. It becomes the first portable JBL speaker to support the object-based spatial sound format and should be a more immersive listen than the base model as a result.

Bluetooth connectivity has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.3 on both the Boombox 3 and Charge 5, and they’re more environmentally friendly too, with speaker casings made from 90% post-consumer recycled plastic and speaker grilles constructed from 100% recycled fabric.

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We’ve not tested the original JBL Boombox 3 but thoroughly enjoyed the outrageous bass delivered by its predecessor, the Boombox 2, and awarded it four stars in our full-length review. We were also very impressed by the original JBL Charge 5, giving it five stars and a coveted Recommended award.

The upgrades made to both speakers only serve to enhance their appeal but do come at a cost. The JBL Boombox 3 Wi-Fi will retail for £550 – £100 more than the regular model – while the Charge 5 Wi-Fi has an RRP of £230, £80 dearer than the Bluetooth-only variant. The pair will be available directly from JBL’s website from mid-May.

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