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JBL's PartyBoost is why I'll never buy another Bluetooth speaker

Would you rather hire a sound system or make the most of the speakers you already own? I know my answer.

Published onAugust 20, 2023

jbl connect stereo mode

There are plenty of ways to choose a Bluetooth speaker. Maybe you’re chasing durability, or perhaps you’re after the best sound quality money can buy. One thing that’s easy to overlook, however, is bonus features. After all, most Bluetooth speakers are the same at heart — connect your phone and play your music. Well, I’ve found my bonus feature, and it’s locked me in for good. JBL’s PartyBoost is the reason I’ll never buy a Bluetooth speaker from another brand.

I got 99 speakers…

jbl connect spotify

I bought my JBL Flip 4 a few years before I started at Android Authority. Without realizing it, I started a wave that ran through my entire family. One speaker became two, which became four, and now we’re in deep. Mind you, this was without anyone considering PartyBoost. We all just liked the sound quality and IPX7 rating. Then, I realized that we could be doing so much more with our collection.

PartyBoost — known as Connect+ on older JBL speakers — is a feature that shouldn’t need an introduction. It should be so key to JBL’s marketing that it’s the reason you buy a Flip, Charge, or Xtreme. But it’s not. Instead, you have to build up a fleet of speakers and download the JBL Portable app to realize what it can do. Once you get it set up, however, you’re in for a treat.

PartyBoost turns all of your JBL speakers — up to 99 of them — into a single unit at the push of a button.

JBL’s PartyBoost turns your collection of individual speakers into one robust network with the push of a button. You can add each new speaker — up to 99 in total — and enjoy a far greater range than Bluetooth’s traditional 30-foot limit. PartyBoost even gives you flexibility in terms of how you listen. It works in either Party or Stereo modes, with Party mode embracing your entire collection of speakers and Stereo shining if you have a few matching units.

See price at Amazon
JBL Flip 6
JBL Flip 6
Easy to use Bluetooth pairing
Loud output for parties
See price at Amazon
JBL Xtreme 3
JBL Xtreme 3
IP67 water resistance
Four drivers with dual-passive radiators
Can charge other devices

Life of the party

jbl connect pixel 6 pro on speaker

PartyBoost can be tough to use in everyday life, but that’s not really its purpose. It’s more than worth every penny the minute a family gathering comes around. Instead of hiring professional sound setups for events like bridal showers and wedding cocktail hours, we’ve started looking inward. A few well-placed speakers and a carefully curated playlist later, and you have more control — and freedom — than if you paid for a DJ.

Why drop the cash for a professional sound system when you can use the speakers you already own?

You’ll probably find yourself turning to Party mode in JBL PartyBoost for most large gatherings, as it plays from each speaker equally. It’s the best way to fill a party with sound, but the Stereo mode is worth trying if you have a smaller space. It puts you in the middle of your music, at least if you have more than one of the same speaker. In our case, we have half a dozen Flip 4 units, so there’s no shortage of stereo options.

It doesn’t hurt that JBL Bluetooth speakers are less obtrusive than a big-time setup. They’re easy enough to hide in a garden or under a table without losing connection. The IPX7 rating comes in handy, too, in case something ironic happens, like rain on your wedding day. All you have to worry about is ensuring that your speakers stay charged and that everyone gets their original speaker back when the party is wrapping up.

Could I ultimately switch Bluetooth speakers to another brand like Bose or Sonos? Sure, but my entire family would have to switch with me. I don’t see that happening any time soon, and some new JBL speakers are calling my name.

Would you buy a Bluetooth speaker specifically because it matched speakers your family has?

427 votes