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Hands-on review: JBL Partybox 110 Bluetooth speaker
Thu, 28th Apr 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

My first review in a long time is sure to create a lot of noise, if the experience in my household has been anything to go by. Since returning home in March, I have been applying myself with gusto to playing a wide range of music on JBL's Partybox 110. I had been offered the 110's big brother to review, but my beloved wife, when hearing its dimensions, exercised her veto in favour of the 110.

Until now I have been used to Bluetooth speakers that sit comfortably on my desktop. The Partybox 110 will only do this if I clear the deck. Weighing in at just under 11 kg/ 23lbs and with dimensions of W295 xH568 x D300 (mm) this is a behemoth. It has a sound to match.

Besides the usual Bluetooth connection, the Partybox allows you to plug and play your USB stick loaded with your party-mix. For the vocally gifted you can also plug in your microphone. But wait, there's more. You can also plug in your electric guitar and use it as an amplifier.

I didn't download the JBL Partybox app until later, being quite happy to use my phone's Bluetooth and Spotify account to keep me entertained.

My nephew was quite excited when he saw the speaker. He has an identical one in a busy engineering work-shop, where it happily competes with CNC machines and the like, keeping the cogs of industry happily engaged as they work to make our society a better engineered one. So coping in my suddenly silent home was not a problem. Currently I am pumping out Lauren Daigle singing, “You Say,” with her powerful voice that reminds me of a very strong cup of coffee.

The lovely bass back-beat was awesome, even without turning on the bass, which surely would have rattled my double-glazed windows. Now I'm moving into something a little more worshipful with Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes' “The Blessing,” which has got me singing along, “May his presence go before you… in your weeping and rejoicing, He is for you.” It's fortunate for my neighbours that they are either at work or unable to hear my voice over the Partybox 110 speakers.

I am enjoying several aspects of these speakers. One is the clarity of the vocals and the instrumentals. I just caught a wonderful ‘cello piece in “Be Still My Soul” which had me regretting parting ways with this wonderful instrument when I left school. I sadly had a series of broken G-strings, an occurrence both embarrassing and unusual. As a result, I switched to the guitar and boxer shorts.

The beauty of the Partybox 110 is that it not only plays beautiful music, it adds to the visual ambience through the built-in and customizable strobe lights that dance along to the music. The lights will accompany you as you sing along with the mic and your guitar plugged in, ensuring an unforgettable listening experience for you and your friends as, in the words of JBL, you “rock out.”

Once fully charged, the Partybox will give you up to 12 hours of music playback. If you're down at the pool, you don't need to worry about the occasional splash, but this isn't one of the speakers you have floating in the pool. A few splashes won't bother it, however. Another little feature that may come in handy is that you can use the USB port to recharge your mobile device.

I haven't talked about the built-in controls, which are very easy to use. You can boost the bass, alter the colour scheme, adjust volume, and pair with your Bluetooth device.

With a retail price of around $599, I can see this beauty becoming a go-to for those of us who miss the days when it wasn't a party without at least one person turning up with a boom box mounted on their shoulders. The ease of use, versatility, the lighting effects and the great sound make the Partybox 110 a must-have for all of us who are just a party waiting to happen.