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Today, when you’re looking for the best Bluetooth speakers, you will not run out of options. A quick search of this product on Amazon will give you more than 40,000 results. But while you may have almost endless options, not all of them are worth your money. Some will be so-so, while others are not even worth the consideration.
There will be products that will have a tinny sound, while some will not be very durable. There is only a small fraction of what’s available that can give you your money’s worth.
If you want the best, let us help you narrow it down to two: JBL Xtreme and Fugoo XL. Both of these products are on the larger end of the portable Bluetooth speakers’ space, but they make good use of that additional bulk by putting in hardware that gives you excellent sound quality. Which one is the better buy?
There are currently two Fugoo XL speakers available on the company’s website:
- Fugoo Tough XL
- Fugoo Style XL
However, there should be not much of a difference between these two except for the way they look and how rugged they are. Each of these Fugoo XL models uses the same core speaker.
Fugoo Style XL
The Fugoo Style XL is the dapper yet rugged sibling in the XL series. It uses a tan mesh fabric as its cover, which makes it look more elegant than the boring and industrial look that most speakers have today.
The rectangular speaker is huge and heavy, especially if you consider the fact that it is a portable speaker. It measures 11.3 by 4.5 by 3.8 inches and it weighs a hefty 3.25 pounds, effectively making it almost double the size and weight of the original Fugoo Style. Needless to say, it lives up to its XL label.
The Fugoo Style XL has six physical soft buttons at the top, which allow you to control the volume, activate the speakerphone or voice control features, and control track playback so that you can skip tracks.
It has a blue LED light that tells you if the speaker is powered on and which turns green when it is charging. It also has a range of voice prompts. For instance, if you want to know how much battery juice is left, you can press the power button and the speaker will tell you its current battery level.
Just how rugged is the Fugoo Style XL? For one, it has an IP67 rating, which makes it dust- and water-proof to a certain degree. You can submerge the speaker in up to three feet of water for as long as 30 minutes and it’s going to be fine. But who would want to do that, right?
While accidents happen and you might find your Fugoo Style XL falling into the tub or the pool, your initial reaction will be to fish it out of the water. Plus, the good news is that this particular speaker floats.
You can also take the Fugoo Style XL out in the snow for those chill (literally) parties during the winter months. Or run it through the mud. Wherever your adventure takes you, the Fugoo Style XL can handle it.
Fugoo Tough XL
The Fugoo Tough XL promises to be your toughest speaker ever. The encasement is made with fiber-reinforced plastic and solid aluminum. FRP is basically plastic that is strengthened by fibers, the same ones used in fiberglass, basalt, and aramid.
The polymer and aluminum material makes the Fugoo Tough XL especially resistant to damage. What’s more, it has an IP67 rating that makes it impervious to water and dust. It is also shockproof. It is one of the most durable speakers you can own.
Now let’s talk about performance. The Fugoo XL series have the same speaker inside. The core speaker has eight drivers that provide you with a balanced bass and treble, as well as perfect highs, mids, and lows.
What’s more, the speakers are placed at an eight-degree angle, making the sound travel upwards. Fugoo’s core speaker gives you 360-degree sound, with its tweeters, woofers, and passive radiators being placed all around the rectangular speaker.
The XL line speaker is one of the company’s loudest speakers. It can get up to more than 90 decibels in normal mode, which is like hearing a motorcycle running at 25 feet away. Even at that level, you will not notice any distortion in the sound that it produces. Most other Bluetooth speakers tend to have distortions when it goes past 85 decibels.
If you have a large room, you can turn on the 360-degree sound mode and enjoy room-filling music with the Fugoo XL.
The Fugoo XL line has an internal power brick that can give you more than a full day of running time. You can get up to 35 hours of music playback and you only need 3.5 hours to fully charge the battery.
The Fugoo XL uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect with your mobile devices. What’s more, it has a very long-range, being able to connect with devices up to 120 feet away. It also connects to a remote control accessory via Bluetooth Low Energy. You can use supported audio devices to control your speaker via the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile 1.5.
The Fugoo X series also comes with the following profiles:
- Advanced Audio Distribution Profile 1.3
- Hands-Free Profile 1.6
- Headset Profile 1.2
Lastly, it includes a 3.5mm stereo input that you can use for wired connections, a micro USB that allows you to download firmware updates onto the phone, and a DC-in jack that you can use for charging the battery.
The Fugoo Style can be used as a power bank. It has a USB Type-A charge port that can charge your smartphones and tablets quickly. You can also use it as a speakerphone and you can answer calls with just a press of a button. You will love that the Fugoo XL works better than your phone’s speakers.
What You Would Like About the Fugoo XL
There is no denying that the Fugoo XL works rather well. It delivers excellent sound quality that can go louder than most of its competitors without any noticeable distortion. The fact that it has two enclosures gives you variety. You can get the rugged and chic looking Style XL or opt for a sturdier Tough XL. You will also love how it is not easily damaged and how it can resist dust, dirt, and water.
What’s more, you would love the battery life on these speakers as they offer you up to 35 hours of playback. Plus, it has a long Bluetooth range at 120 feet. In short, the Fugoo XL gives you everything that you want from a speaker.
Fugoo XL: What Can Be Better
The Fugoo XL can be heavy, which makes it less attractive if you are looking for a portable speaker that you can carry around anywhere.
You probably would not want to put it in your backpack if you are going for a long hike. Being carried around in a cramped space along with other items could take its toll. Carrying it by hand would have been ideal if it weren’t for its size and weight.
Good thing you can buy official Fugoo accessories such as the hand strap or shoulder strap. Yet, on top of these accessories not being available on the company’s website, they are also going to cost you anywhere from $7 to $10 when you get them from retailers.
Now, even if you are willing to shell out the money and you were able to find the accessory you want and need, it still won’t solve the problem of needing to carry the charger around. The Fugoo XL’s core speaker has a power brick embedded, and you cannot use your regular micro USB charger for it, unlike their smaller counterparts like the Style S.
What’s more, the Fugoo XL doesn’t have an official companion app that allows you to control the speaker from your phone. There is also no equalizer function and you cannot connect two Fugoo speakers together. These extras are found in other speakers, and it may disappoint users to find them absent from the Fugoo XL.
There are two JBL Xtreme speakers that are out right now, and they are aptly named JBL Xtreme and JBL Xtreme 2. But since the original Xtreme has been discontinued, we will be focusing on the JBL Xtreme 2.
JBL Xtreme 2
The JBL Xtreme 2 is one of those speakers that bill themselves as portable speakers but can be used to blast music outdoors. However, like the Fugoo XL, the Xtreme 2 is not really as portable as we would have liked. You can probably put it into your backpack, but you would always know it’s there.
This speaker is heavy, hefty, and huge for a portable. It measures 5.6 by 11.3 by 5.2 inches and weighs 5.3 pounds. That makes it bigger and heavier than the Fugoo XL.
JBL knows that it is big, which is why they added in a free shoulder strap. This accessory allows you to save space in your backpack or bag by just slinging it by itself. The strap also has metal adjustment pieces that can double as a bottle opener.
Buttons and Ports
The JBL Xtreme 2 has the playback and power buttons on top. The placement makes it very easy for you to change the tracks. JBL hid away the ports behind a waterproof flap, allowing it to stay safe even when submerged in water.
The JBL Xtreme 2 uses a durable fabric that helps waterproof the device, giving it an IPX7 rating. It has an embedded stand at the bottom that prevents the speaker from rolling away when you place it down on a table or on the floor.
The JBL Xtreme 2 uses Bluetooth 4.2, which gives you a good connection from some 30 feet away. You can connect your JBL Xtreme 2 speaker with other JBL products, too, using the JBL Connect+.
The JBL Xtreme 2 promises up to 15 hours of music playback on single charge and given that you don’t charge anything using its built-in power bank.
But how does the JBL Xtreme handle playback? It has excellent sound quality for the low, giving you rich bass that isn’t overdone. However, it does not always have a clear sound when it comes to highs and mids.
The Difference Between JBL Xtreme and JBL Xtreme 2
The JBL Xtreme 2 replaced the original JBL Xtreme, and it is seen as an improvement. The differences, however, are merely a few. For instance, Xtreme 2 has more drivers, two passive radiators, and a wider range for the frequency response. The original Xtreme also did not have Bluetooth connectivity and relied only on a 3.5mm stereo input and a USB Micro-B connector.
However, JBL Xtreme 2 is a bit bigger and heavier than the first Xtreme. The newer Xtreme is also waterproof, while the older and now-unavailable model is only splashproof.
A side-by-side comparison between these two JBL speakers can let you see how each is different from the other.
|Model||JBL Xtreme||JBL Xtreme 2|
|Speaker Output||40 W||2 x 20 W drivers|
|Drivers||2 x 1.4″||
|Frequency Response||70 Hz to 20 kHz||55 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Bluetooth 4.2 Connectivity||No||Yes|
|Wired Connectivity Inputs||
|Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum Running Time (Hours)||15||15|
|Dimensions (W x H x D, Inches)||11.1 by 5.0 by 4.8||5.4 x 11.3 x 5.2|
Comparing Fugoo XL and JBL Xtreme 2
It is easy to see why the Fugoo XL speaker is compared with the JBL Xtreme 2. Both are huge speakers even when they fall under the portable category. Both deliver better-than-average sound quality, too.
Where the Fugoo XL Wins over the JBL Xtreme 2
While both the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Fugoo XL are waterproof, the Xtreme is not dustproof. The waterproof flap that hides the ports on the Xtreme 2 can be quite challenging to pry open. Also, you won’t find any good codec compatibility on this speaker. This means that you will miss out on the lossless quality that you can get from aptX, AAC, and other similar high-quality codecs.
The Fugoo XL also promises 20 hours more playback time than JBL Xtreme 2. It’s also comparatively lighter and smaller than JBL’s speaker. Another area where the Fugoo XL wins is the long Bluetooth range. It allows you to connect your devices to the speaker even if you are 120 feet away, which is four times the range provided by the JBL Xtreme 2.
JBL Xtreme will not allow you to use voice commands with Google Now or Alexa the way Fugoo XL does. Lastly, Fugoo XL is more affordable than the JBL Xtreme 2, which retails for around $350 on Amazon, making it way more expensive than the $200 price tag of the Fugoo Tough XL.
Where the JBL Xtreme 2 Wins over the Fugoo XL
On its own, there is no denying that the JBL Extreme 2 is an excellent speaker. However, when compared to the Fugoo XL, it simply pales in comparison. Perhaps, the only area where JBL Xtreme 2 wins over the Fugoo XL is that you can connect several JBL speakers together via Connect+.
Choosing Between JBL Xtreme and Fugoo XL? Go with Fugoo
JBL is a known brand when it comes to speakers. It has its fans who would pay a premium to buy a product from a company that they trust. Plus, the JBL Xtreme 2 is not a shoddy piece of work; it is an excellent speaker that will surely impress you.
But if that is not what’s important to you, then the JBL Xtreme 2 quickly loses out to Fugoo’s XL line of speakers. Not only does the Fugoo XL have two different skins to suit your style, but it also has better sound quality and it is more durable than JBL Xtreme 2.
What’s more, Fugoo’s speakers are more affordable than the JBL Xtreme 2. For this comparison, the choice clear: Fugoo gives you the better speaker while also charging you less for it.