In the world of audio equipment, Sony and JBL have made a name for themselves as industry leaders. Companies like Soundboks have made a statement recently with their products, showing that you don’t have to be a massive corporation to make solid products. Though when looking at all three, we start to see how each separates itself from the competition.
To give you as a consumer the best idea of which product will work for your needs, we are going to take a comprehensive look at these hefty portable speakers and compare them on sound quality, design, durability, battery life, features & software, and briefly go over price. By the end of this page, you will not only know which product is superior to your needs but why.
Bear in mind that while I have combed through quite a bit of information on all three speakers, at the end of the day my own opinion might differ from other reviewers or consumers. With that said, let’s go over why someone might purchase each of these speakers individually.
I like the Soundboks 3, from the decibel level all the way to the company behind it. I admire that three kids from Denmark had a vision and saw it through with inspired results. I enjoy the fact that a smaller company can pump out a speaker that can compete with the global industry leaders, although I feel the price is a bit higher than what this item is worth. Its battery life and volume are incredible, its ability to pump out ground-level bass is impressive and it is a very solid speaker. With that said, this piece of equipment is absurdly high in price compared to its competitors, with the MSRP of Soundboks Gen. 3 barely landing in the sub-$1,000 range.
Sony has made a very solid speaker with the XP700 at a reasonable price. Sitting with an MSRP shy of 400 USD, this is considerably more reasonable than the Soundboks 3 and stays competitive with it despite the lower price. The soundstage is relatively competent, it can get pretty loud, it has crisp, clear audio (though the bass leaves a bit to be desired), good battery life, and the ability to play stereo sound. It is a bit bulky and cumbersome, but for its price point it is absolutely a good purchase.
The JBL Partybox 310 is very skilled at what it is meant to do and does so at a price range that feels justified with a sticker price over $500 but still far short of the Soundboks’ price tag. It has a very charming aesthetic and thoughtful design that offers wheels and a handle for this speaker that is in the ~40 pound range. Its sound quality is very good despite some light distortion at higher volumes. It also offers some serious personal customization with lighting in the app and has space for two microphones and a guitar. It may sit a bit on the expensive side, but it’s well worth the added cost.
When looking at speakers like this that barely qualify as portable, it’s important to note that volume and sound quality should be significantly higher than more lightweight options. Due to the added weight and dimensions, what can be fitted underneath these bigger systems is almost always going to be more impressive.
I like the fact that all three offered an adjustable EQ either in their app or on the speaker which will make all speakers sound more pleasant to the individual taste of the consumer.
The Soundboks (Gen. 3), as the marketing suggests, is going to be the loudest speaker of the three. This speaker is wildly deafening at max volume and if Soundboks’ technical specs are correct, it can touch 125 dB. It also can touch the lower-end bass that several speakers of its size struggle to replicate and it does it well.
Unfortunately, this is at the cost of slightly flooded vocals and at max volume, the sound quality really begins to get sketchy. On top of this, the soundstage feels narrow in projection, and the speaker will only be able to play sound in mono unless another speaker is connected to allow a new channel.
Moving over to the Sony XP700, you have to understand that while this product is the quietest of the three, all three speakers can get very loud. Its soundstage is superior to the Soundboks and can play stereo content. Although, despite its omnidirectional party sound claims, the range of audio projection can feel limited. It presents a good amount of bass and very crisp acoustics though it will experience distortion at higher volumes.
The JBL Partybox 310 is an exceptional “portable” speaker that is second in volume only to the Soundboks (Gen. 3) which at the time of this article is the loudest portable speaker in the world. To my auditory judgment, the Partybox has the most impressive clarity of sound outside of lower-end bass and a very similar soundstage to the XP700. This product is also the least altered at higher volumes, though still does deal with light distortion towards the max volume.
Verdict – The JBL Partybox 310 for sound quality and the best overall package. It gets great volume, decent sound direction, and sounds far better at higher volumes.
All three of these speakers feel like they could do unspeakable damage to my knees and back over time. All weighing in quite comfortably over thirty pounds, they are on the larger side of portable speakers. The term portable also feels very loose when you look at their absurdly bulky dimensions, so we will be judging them based on other factors in their design. It should be said, however, that all of these are pretty big.
The Soundboks 3 feels like it was designed to survive a lot of party fouls and that sentiment is reflected in the design. It comes with clever rubber balls that surround the corners in case of it being tipped over and has an IP65 rating so it won’t turn into an expensive brick if rainy weather comes. Personally speaking, I like the square design as it feels like it is less likely to be knocked over though that does come at the cost of added bulk. It weighs around 34 pounds and sits at 31.5 x 19.69 x 15.75 inches.
Looking at the Sony XP700 we get a tower-shaped portable speaker that offers an IP4 rating and comes with aesthetically pleasing low-light illumination. It has a rooftop handle for easy portability but at 37 pounds it hardly feels optimized to offer one sole handle. One thing really worth mentioning about the XP700 is that the sound quality doesn’t drop off depending on how it’s positioned (vertically or horizontally). Considering the robust nature of the speaker, this is very much a benefit to the owner.
Lastly, the JBL Partybox 310 is another monolith-shaped speaker that is decked out with two RGB circular lights that encompass the perimeter of the woofers and an IP4 rating. The RGB can change color through the JBL Portable app and it offers the ability to stand horizontally or vertically. It comes included with an expandable handle and wheels so you can lug it around far more conveniently.
Verdict – Design goes to the Partybox 310 which is very sleekly designed and brings a thoughtful solution to its hefty size.
Durability goes to the Soundboks 3 which feels tougher, more resistant to liquid, and designed with resiliency at the forefront.
Before going into depth on the long-lasting batteries that a good portion of these products have, I’d like to cover a few ground rules about speakers. The higher the volume, the quicker their battery drains. So while these numbers are likely accurate at moderate volumes, if you decide to keep the neighborhood up for several hours, the battery may not perform as consistently.
The Soundboks 3 once again finds itself in a league of its own. This speaker sits at nearly 1,000 USD at the time of this article and it feels like a good portion of that cost went to the battery. This speaker can hold a charge for 40 hours and shouldn’t take more than three to four hours to recharge the battery. While it doesn’t offer a battery-saving feature (will not auto turn off), such a long battery life is simply remarkable and worthy of praise.
The Sony XP700 has an estimated battery life of around 25 hours, which is actually really good, despite it being outclassed by the Soundboks. To its credit, the XP700 claims 3 hours of playback for every 10 minutes of charge and does offer a power-saving feature that the Soundboks does not. So if you are on the forgetful side, this may be preferable. Not only does it auto turn off after a few minutes of not being used, but it also possesses a “stamina” feature that allows it to put a bigger emphasis on battery life over LED and bass output.
The JBL Partybox 310 has a battery life of 18 hours which isn’t bad and includes a power-saving option that turns off after about twenty minutes of inactivity. It will take about three hours to fully charge the battery, which seems to be the average charge time across the board for these products.
Verdict – The Soundboks 3 absolutely decimates this category with a battery life that is not only almost twice the size of its competitors but also has a better volume output. This allows you to listen to music louder, for longer.
We have really gotten into quite a bit of detail in the previous categories so I will look to be brief and informative here. All three come with an auxiliary input to double as an amplifier, they all offer Bluetooth Compatibility (5.0) as well as wireless multispeaker connectivity, and some type of audio equalizer either on the speaker itself or through an app.
As far as apps go, JBL Portable app is my favorite of the three. The Soundboks app is a bit convoluted and confusing and while some may like the “upgrade” feature, it feels like an unnecessary extra step that I personally don’t enjoy.
The Music Center and Fiestable apps that Sony utilizes aren’t terrible, though they do seem to have a lot of user interface issues and minor glitches. JBL Portable is okay; none of these product-related mobile apps ever feel great, though it does what it is supposed to well enough, despite familiar glitches we see throughout these speaker apps.
These speakers all tend to focus more on their ability to put out sound, maintain the battery and remain pleasant to the eye while also being practical. Which is nice to see — at the end of the day we are looking to buy a speaker, not a thirty-pound iPad.
Verdict – JBL for the amount of customization, though all three cover the practical needs one might have.
We will give the nod to the Partybox 310, though none of these products are subpar. While some products might be a bit overpriced (looking at you Soundboks), they all are built for a distinct purpose that they perform remarkably well. But for my money, the JBL Partybox 310 excels at what it does the best.