First and foremost, if you are looking for a bluetooth speaker that is just that, a bluetooth speaker, keep looking, there are plenty of great options on the market, especially in this price range or above. But if you are are looking for a speaker that is a step in the direction of a Smart or voice assistant device, this is definitely the one.
When it comes to the sound quality, its near top notch. Comparing it to my bose speaker that is nearly the same size, and also round, the difference in very small between the two. Depending on what you are listening to, the difference is sometimes not even noticeable at all. I would say the JBL is only a hair behind in bass boost and an overall clear sound. Another thing I noticed is it is not completely an even sound all the way around, if you stay in one spot and spin it in front of you, there are three or four spots where it sounds slightly muffled.
The overall build quality of this speaker is impressive, I would not recommend it as it would probably be cringeworthy, but it seems like it could definitely handle an accidental drop or two. I have also used it under humid conditions in the bathroom while showering and it does not even phase it. Also a plus is this really is a nice looking speaker. There are some speakers out there that are not all that great or sleek looking, but this one is honestly very nice looking. Also seems to be made out of nice materials, materials that will not scratch or break easily, and the fabric over the speaker area is solid too! Another plus is the fact that JBL made this speaker able to charge thru a micro usb plug, the most common charge plug out there these days, I LOVE that it does not come with its own special power adapter that adds to wire clutter, I can simply plug it into my phone charger when needed. *Note, its does come with a charger; a power block for the wall outlet and a usb cable, however any other one you have for other micro usb devices do the job.
When it comes to the voice prompts and smart features, once you get it all set up with your device and such, it is great! I never thought I needed to speak to my devices or needed a “smart” device for home other than a smart tv, but I was wrong. Not only can you ask all sorts of questions to google and get an intelligent response nearly every time, but you can also control what is playing. If your hands are busy or messy, if you are in the shower, if you are in the pool and the speaker is several feet away, you can easily say hey google, next song, or volume up, or switch to spotify or pandora. Functions like that are far more impressive and useful to me than being able to ask what the weather is like or asking for google to tell you jokes.
Also worth noting is how long the batteries charge seems to last, playing at a medium to high volume level I get nearly ten hours of solid playback before it starts asking for more juice.
Only two minor complaints I have on this speaker, first one being the start up time. It takes a good 15-20 seconds before it starts making noises like it is on and either working on connecting to your phone or is connected. I understand it may take longer due to it having to also connect to wifi. Just worth mentioning. Biggest complaint overall though, is how often this speaker stops music playback for absolutely no reason. As I have typed out this review, it has now done it five times. The battery is fine, had 4/5 dots of power but I plugged it into the charger anyway, did not make a difference. The wifi in our house is excellent so that is not the issue. My phone is literally only six inches from the speaker, so it is not a distance thing. And I am playing music through google play that is on my phones memory card, so I am not trying to stream anything thru a music app. I connect my phone to my bose speaker for hours and hours at a time and the same pause never happens so it is not my phone. I do not understand why it keeps doing it but it takes quite a few times of hitting play on both the speaker and the phone to get the music to resume. Not major when both devices are right here in front of me on my desk, but come summer time when I use this out by the pool, I sure hope a software update comes out by then to fix this annoying bug. Overall, a very nice speaker and well worth the price.