SOUNDBOKS 3 Review: The Portable Outdoor Speaker Made for the Summer Party Season

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The Lowdown

At $999, the SOUNDBOKS 3 is clearly not the $49 portable Bluetooth speaker you’d find on Amazon — it’s better. If you want your friends to take your music selection seriously when you invite them over to the pool this summer, play your tunes on this bad boy. 

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • The loudest Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used
  • Portability is great, I can easily carry with one hand short distances, or two for longer
  • Bluetooth connectivity is seamless

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • I’d like to see a USB Type-C option for direct plug & play from a smartphone or tablet
SOUNDBOKS 3 Review: The Portable Outdoor Speaker Made for the Summer Party Season Listen to this article

We’ve previously covered SOUNDBOKS speakers, so when the latest SOUNDBOKS 3 Bluetooth Speaker arrived at my doorstep, I already knew this wasn’t the typical “Portable” Bluetooth speaker.

SOUNDBOKS 3

Built for performance, the SOUNDBOKS 3 speaker looks more like a monitor you’d see in front of a stage at an outdoor summer concert. It’s truly a massive speaker at 31.5″ tall by 19.69″ wide by 15.75″ deep, and it weighs about 35 pounds.

The SOUNDBOKS 3 has carrying handles built on two sides — perfect for dragging it to the pool or toting from the parking lot to the beach to truly turn up to the tunes while playing Smashball with your friends. SOUNDBOKS 3 comes with an aluminum frame that can withstand a few scrapes in the back of a pickup or trunk and fully protects the wooden frame inside of it.

There are four rubber feet on the bottom of the SOUNDBOKS 3 that allow it to be slightly raised from a flat surface. So even if you’re throwing a house party, your neighbors won’t feel the vibrations from your one-person dance party. Having hardwood floors, I was concerned that sliding it across my floors might scrape them, but the feet keep that from happening.

But where the SOUNDBOKS 3 truly shines is outdoors.

SOUNDBOKS 3

Image(s) shot and owned by Ryan Valasek.

While it is not waterproof, the SOUNDBOKS 3 has an IP65 rating, so it can withstand a poolside splash or pick it up and maneuver it with wet hands. Unfortunately, our apartment’s pool isn’t yet open, so I couldn’t take it there to test, but I have to admit that it would be pretty funny to see someone carry this to their local pool instead of a more portable speaker they could toss in their beach bag.

SOUNDBOKS 3

Internally, the SOUNDBOKS 3 can truly blow your socks off. The SOUNDBOKS 3 sports three drivers — two 10-inch 96dB woofers and a single compression tweeter that can top out at a sound that can fill a room indoors or that can be clearly heard from 30 feet away — perfect for annoying the couple tanning and reading on their Kindle at the beach.

There’s a rechargeable battery that takes about four hours to charge from 0 to 100% from my testing. For a speaker its size, I expected it to take roughly 6-8 hours, so that was a nice surprise.

SOUNDBOKS 3 Review: The Portable Outdoor Speaker Made for the Summer Party Season

Onboard, some controls sit in a recessed portion of the SOUNDBOKS 3: An “On” button, a volume rocker that glows when plugged in, and a single button to switch between using a single SOUNDBOKS 3 speaker or pairing with others.

I only have one SOUNDBOKS 3, so I cannot test the pairing functionality, but pairing two together would be a great way to fill an outdoor gathering with sound. We have a family reunion every two years, and we typically pay a DJ to keep the music flowing while we’re at the park eating and congregating.

But with the SOUNDBOKS 3, I could confidently tell my mom that a Spotify playlist and a charged phone would suffice to keep the party going. According to SOUNDBOKS, you can get roughly 40 hours of battery life at 50% volume, but with the speaker’s booming sound of up to 126dB, you likely wouldn’t really need to go past 50% unless you were throwing an outdoor birthday party or cookout.

Usually, at those family functions, there’s always that uncle — or in my case, my Grandmother — who is the “Pass the Aux Cord” person with songs that just HAVE to be played because they are their favorites. The SOUNDBOKS 3 has an Aux-In port, an Aux Out port, two ports for a microphone (which would be great for live podcasting whenever the world opens back up), and a 3.5mm output that you can connect to whatever your heart desires.

The Bluetooth connectivity is so good that I don’t have a reason to plug things into the SOUNDBOKS 3 unless I was using the microphone portion for small karaoke sessions or live audio.

There is also an elevation pack/stand available for purchase that includes a SOUNDBOKS 3 speaker. With it, you can get your speaker higher off of the ground for better sound dispersion, clearer bass response, less interference of the wireless range in TeamUp mode, and the added benefit of giving off the “concert-look.”

SOUNDBOKS 3

The SOUNDBOKS 3 is hands down the loudest Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used, even compared to its predecessor, the SOUNDBOKS 2. My daughter’s birthday is in a few weeks, so rather than search for a DJ, my wife and I fully intend on playing all of the Bubble Guppies and even more of the Mio Mao & BabyFirst theme songs as she turns one.

If there were anything I could improve on the SOUNDBOKS 3, I would add a USB Type-C port for quickly plugging your devices into it. USB-C is the standard, with many phones and tablets adapting to it. With USB Type-C as an option, if you wanted to play your favorite songs in truly lossless audio quality without lugging around a 3.5mm/Lightning adapter for your iPhone. That option would send this speaker above and beyond, and in my humble opinion, I’d be the best DJ ever.

There’s a companion app that allows you to do the basics like adjust your EQ and play music directly from within the app. Still, I’m a huge proponent of just sticking to the settings within my streaming services, but the SOUNDBOKS app is there if you’d like to use that option.

At $999, the SOUNDBOKS 3 is clearly not the $49 portable Bluetooth speaker you’d find on Amazon — it’s better. If you want your friends to take your music selection seriously when you invite them over to the pool this summer, play your tunes on this bad boy. 

The SOUNDBOKS 3 sells for $999; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit

What I Like: The loudest Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used; Portability is great, I can easily carry with one hand short distances, or two for longer; Bluetooth connectivity is seamless

What Needs Improvement: It’s expensive; I’d like to see a USB Type-C option for direct plug & play from a smartphone or tablet

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About the Author

Greg Alston
Diehard Apple fanboy, and lover of all things tech. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Greg enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and friends, live sporting events, good bourbon, Tetris, and pizza. In that order.