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JBL Micro Wireless: The Ultimate Portable Speaker

July 1, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Technological advances often lead to more robust features in smaller packages, and mobile speakers are no exception. It’s no surprise that music aficionados now have the ability to carry rich-sounding tunes right in their pockets.

If you’re looking for a speaker with power and a small footprint, the JBL Micro Wireless might be the right choice for you. We evaluated this model to help you decide.

Design

The JBL Micro Wireless is a portable Bluetooth speaker for on-the-go use. It has a built-in bass port, a component that’s designed to make the bass more powerful.

The speaker’s tiny circular body makes it convenient to carry with you wherever you go. It measures 3.3 inches in diameter and 1.6 inches high, and weighs 4.5 ounces.

The bottom of the speaker has a compartment that stores the built-in audio cable, which is used to connect to non-Bluetooth devices. You can purchase the Micro Wireless in black, green, blue, red, pink or white.

Features

Given its compact design and relatively low price, the Micro Wireless doesn’t boast many advanced features, but it still has some appealing characteristics, including:

  • LED indicator. An LED light on the face of the speaker signals when the battery is running low and when it’s fully charged.
  • Speaker linking. Connect multiple JBL Micro Wireless speakers using their built-in audio cables to amplify the sound.
  • Carrying case. The Micro Wireless comes with a pouch that helps keep your speaker protected during travel.
  • Clip-on capability. Attach a separately purchased clip to the top of the speaker to hang it from your bag or clothing.

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Battery life and connectivity

The JBL Micro Wireless is equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It offers up to five hours of play and charges with a micro-USB cable.

Besides its ability to connect wirelessly to your Bluetooth device, the Micro Wireless can also connect to the headphone jack on other audio devices such as MP3 players using its built-in cable.

Price

The Micro Wireless retails for $59.95. Most colors are currently out of stock on the JBL website; we recommend checking other retailers, such as Amazon, where you may also find the speaker on sale.

Reviews

JBL says the Micro Wireless is an “ultra-portable” speaker with “superb bass,” but does it fit the description?

To find out, we analyzed reviews of some of the most popular speakers on the market, including the JBL Micro Wireless. We looked at expert opinions from review sites such as CNET and The Sweethome and analyzed user reviews to see what shoppers had to say about the various attributes of each speaker.

Based on these reviews, the Micro Wireless strikes the right balance between quality and affordability. Some users say it produces surprisingly loud, rich, clear audio for a small speaker. Other reviewers also noted that the speaker’s compact size and light weight make it easy to transport.

Complaints were minimal, but the Micro Wireless leaves some room for improvement. Certain listeners reported that the bass was noticeable but nowhere near “superb.” Others said they had trouble with the Bluetooth connection and ended up using the audio cable instead.

Make a sound decision

Thanks to its impressive volume, clarity and ability to fit in the palm of your hand, we recommend the JBL Micro Wireless if you’re looking for big sound in a small, relatively inexpensive package.

But audiophiles willing to spend more to get stronger bass and a longer battery life from a portable speaker might want to consider another option, like one of the Bose SoundLink models.

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Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lschwahn@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.