Accessories Audio

JBL Go Review: Still a Great Speaker!

Bluetooth speakers have really carved out space in the consumer electronics market. Brands like Bose, JBL, and even industry giants like Sony and Marshall have each launched their own product lines. But you gotta admit though, a lot of these are pretty darn expensive. And some aren’t even pocket-friendly.

Well, if you’re after portability and affordability, look no further than the JBL Go – a couple of years in, and the Go remains a great portable speaker. JBL is no stranger when it comes to audio equipment, and the company is well known for creating quality products, and the JBL Go, in particular, is no exception. But should you get one? Read on and find out. 

Before we get started though, JBL has already developed two sequels, namely the JBL Go 2 and JBL Go Plus. But for this review, we’ll be focusing on the first generation JBL Go.

Build Quality

The JBL Go has great build quality. It’s tiny, it’s sturdy, and it’s tight. The speaker’s design features a rubberized matte finish which comes in different colors, with ours being black. It’s also pretty compact, as it’s smaller than a coffee mug. The speaker has a pretty minimalist design, resembling a little black box.

The top features the power button, Bluetooth switch, volume buttons as well as a dedicated phone button. The other sides are bare, save for a lanyard slot, aux input port, and micro USB charging port. On the front is the speaker grille, adorned with the JBL logo.

The speaker also features a LED light in front, which lights up during use and when hooked up to a charger. It also turns red when your battery level is low, which is quite handy.

Usage and Performance

Using the JBL Go is pretty simple. Just turn on the Bluetooth switches on both the speaker and your device, and you’re good to go. It’s compatible with a lot of devices, although I’ve noticed that it has difficulty connecting to my Windows 10 laptop – it does end up pairing though after a few tries. 

Connection issues aside, the JBL Go can produce great sound quality for something so small. Playing tunes through the speaker sounds good and doesn’t give off the impression that you’re playing your music through a tin can, unlike with some lesser branded speakers. Personally, I think it really outshines the tiny speakers on my laptop and phone.

Movies and other media are more enjoyable if you’re the type of person who values audio quality. Of course it won’t give you “perfect” sound quality, but it does bring out some of the deeper sounds in music and movies, which normally wouldn’t be fully heard on most devices.

Battery 

As for the battery, inside the speaker is a 600 mAh battery, which can last between 6-9 hours of playback time, depending on your usage. As for charging, the JBL Go takes around a couple of hours to fully charge via the micro-USB port on the side.

The Bottom Line

In closing, it’s great to see products like the JBL Go that offer great quality and performance at an affordable price. For just around twenty bucks, you get good audio playback, and slick design as well.

Will you be getting one? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Mike Viray

A writer with a fondness for consumer tech, Mike is also a music lover, and an avid gamer as well. He and his wife are big fans of Mario Kart.

12 Comments

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  • This is a timely review, thank you Mike! We are in the market for a portable Bluetooth enabled speaker and the one we were initially looking at is much bigger. So thanks for letting me know about JBL Go. It seems like such a great value from a small box considering the features you get – compact size, affordable price, and sound quality. Battery life isn’t bad either. I love that you can bring this anywhere since it’s so compact. Thanks again!

    • Likewise, thank you too!

      It was such a good choice when I was looking around for bluetooth speakers. You have a nice mix of brand name, affordability, and performance. Add portability as well!

  • Hi Mike! I really like this JBL Go! Cool design, good quality sound and affordable price.

    I travel a lot and I have been seeking for a speaker with good sound but at the same time as simple as possible. I also appreciate your honesty when mentioning the difficulty you have encountered connecting to your Windows 10 laptop. I may figure a way around.

    Are these the only three colors? I’d like some kinda shade of green. Thank you.

    • Hi Henry. It really is a steal at that price, I got for my wife during the holidays. We’ve taken it on several trips since!

      We’ve been able to connect it to the laptop many times now. I guess the first set-up was the fiddly part.

      As for green, I think teal is the closest it’s got. But the JBL Go 2 has a somewhat dark green color!

  • Dear Mike,

    Thanks a lot for the helpful review.

    Being a Sunday class teacher I was looking for portable speaker to help me play the songs and video to my Sunday class children and found your review very helpful.

    The features are amazing, bluetooth streaming and 5+ hours playing sounds great. And the pricing is affordable and comes under my budget. JBL GO Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is on my list. I loved how easy the review makes it for readers and no additional research needed. You left no stone up-turned in explaining how it all works.

    Warm Regards,

    Paul

    • Thank you Paul, glad you found it helpful!

      It certainly is loud! We live in a somewhat small apartment and when using it, it tends to fill the entire place. Pretty useful when I have to do stuff in the kitchen but still want to watch Netflix on my phone.

  • Hi mike, great content you have here and excellent review of the JBL Go—its nice. I am an outdoor person who spends most time working outside the comfort of my home’s four walls and I am a music addict. I do have a Bluetooth mobile speaker but its too big and its very inconvenient for me whenever I’m on my way out so, I think this JBL Go could serve as a good replacement. I love the fact that its very small but can bask sounds on par with some bigger speakers. That is a plus. The price seems very fair too and it shouldn’t be s problem to get one. Thanks for your review

    • Thank you for checking us out! It is pretty handy and offers clear and loud audio playback. I have zero regrets using this one.

  • This would be a great little speaker for taking with you to the park, a camping trip, a picnic, etc. I checked the price on Amazon and it’s actually a lot more affordable than I expected, and I love how it comes with 8 different colors. Although you said that the audio quality is good, I wish I can try it at home to see how it really is. Since it’s so small and so inexpensive it definitely seems like a good option. Thanks for the review.

    • Thanks for dropping by! Yes, it should prove to be a handy companion on those trips where you might need music.

  • thanks Mike! Great content here – I’ve been looking for a portable speaker – for the price, this JBL is pretty awesome!! Aux input is the top of my list – even my huge blue tooth speaker tower doesn’t have one of these which I find incredibly annoying. Thanks for this review – I know I can rely on you to make my tech research easy – Thanks Mike, you’re rad