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Hands-on review: JBL PartyBox On-The-Go
Mon, 7th Dec 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

This is the time of year when we all want to relax and celebrate a very important birthday. Some of us love to celebrate through singing and playing music. The JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is designed for just such occasions.

It comes with two wireless Bluetooth microphones so you can accompany your favourite songs.  JBL have thought of everything, including controls to tweak the output, making you sound even better, and including a bottle opener attached to the shoulder straps to ensure your voice-enhancing tonics are easily accessible.

Right now I'm listening to Adeste Fidelis from Andrea Bocelli, just so I can warm up my vocal 'chords' with a reasonably adept accompaniment. There's nothing quite like singing a Christmas carol in Latin to get you in the mood. Even my darling wife is getting in the spirit by quoting Dickens. Who was it who famously said, “Bah, humbug!” again?

For a reasonably sized portable speaker, the PartyBox On-The-Go is surprisingly easy to lug, thanks in part to the built-in handles and the easily attached shoulder straps. At 10 kg's it's light enough to lug down to the beach or to the poolside.

The sound quality is just as described in JBL's NZ website where, they say, you can “Find your beat with 100 watts of powerful, booming JBL Pro Sound. Indoors or out, the JBL PartyBox On-The-Go delivers crisp highs, pure mids, and heavy bass—with Bass Boost to keep the good times going all night.

I'm enjoying the synched light-show feature, which will look brilliant in the dark.

In our part of the world, we are fortunate to get two Bluetooth microphones, ideal for all you aspiring rap duos out there. It has even more outlets for a wired microphone, USB device and your guitar. JBL have you in mind when you're in party mode.

The PartyBox On-The-Go also features IPX4 splash protection, which means that you will set up for that pool party without worrying about a splash or two. IPX4 rating is the equivalent of a low-pressure water-jet, so don't take your PartyBox in the water with you.

The Bluetooth range is up to 10 metres, more than adequate for those of you who like to interact with your audiences when performing.  The microphones take AA two batteries, so make sure to have some handy. A handy LED screen tells you which channel you're on and what the battery strength is.

If you're running off battery power, expect around six hours of hassle-free listening from the Lithium-ion 18Wh (7.2V @ 2500mAh). You need to allow up to 3.5 hours to fully charge your PartyBox. The microphones promise up to 10 hours of use but remember to have a supply of AA batteries handy.

The control and connection specifications make interesting reading. The Bluetooth transmitter frequency range is a healthy 2.4 – 2.48GHz with a physical range of 10m. Equipped with USB and added microphone inputs, you can plug in your guitar and wow your audience even further. Output power is 100W RMS with a signal-to-noise ratio of >80dBA.

JBL has made the PartyBox On-The-Go easy to use. To use the microphones, simply turn it on. Connecting to your Bluetooth devices is just as easy, and the controls are all lit and easily identified. I have sung myself raw this afternoon, much to my darling wife's delight. I may have to wait until the weekend for my impromptu neighbourhood concert. I hope I pass the audition.

A quick search showed prices ranging from $597 through to around $650 depending on the retailer. This will be one Christmas gift that will keep giving, with your party experience only limited by the quality of larynxes in attendance. I've been trying singing along to some of the many instrumental tracks available on Spotify.  Without a doubt, I haven't had so much fun in ages.

With the beautiful tone, connectivity and decent battery life, your PartyBox On-Th-Go will quickly become an essential must-have for your post-COVID-19 socialising. Right, in the short time left, it's time to put my dark glasses back on and keep rehearsing Pretty Woman. Mercy!