JBL extended an invite to NXT Singapore for a product launch event of a kids speakers product, but none of the editorial folks have children except me, so I got the privilege to attend. JBL JRPOP (pronounced as “junior pop”) is JBL’s first Bluetooth speaker designed for kids.
We know there are many portable speakers in the market, but there seemed to be none from the major audio brands that are designed to attract the kids interest. Then again, there is no real need actually, since a speaker can be used by anyone, young and old. It’s just that somehow the adult speakers just look too “serious”, or perhaps the features are a little too rich for the younglings. Plus, kids like eye-catching designs.
How does JBL JRPOP appeal to the kids?
Kids Friendly Design
The speaker is covered with rugged materials and a thick fabric strap, so it’ll withstand bumps. It is also compact enough for small hands use, and lightweight at 121 grams.
The speaker is IPX7 water resistant, so kids can buckle it on their bags without worrying about getting wet. Interesting though, that the micro USB charging port does not have a rubber cap.
The speaker has a ring of colourful LED lights that dances with the music in random moves. Not to worry, the lights can be disabled.
When music stops and the Bluetooth connection remains active, the lights flash slower but does not turn off. The speaker will not auto power-off even when there is no Bluetooth connection. It’s probably a design decision to allow the lights to continue moving, which works in their favour, say, as a night light, or when walking in the streets at night. But if the lights are off, there is no way to tell if the speaker power is still on, so the battery may drain out.
Just like the other JBL Kids Headphone series, the JRPOP package includes fun stickers for kids to customise.
The buttons are indented instead of protruding like adult speakers, which makes pressing them difficult for an adult – unless you have small thin fingers. Being kid-friendly, the power button will power up and down the speaker just by tapping it briefly, instead of holding it.
The speaker can last 5 hours. Not long enough for a whole-day 8-hour event, if you ask me. Then again, would kids need to listen to music for more than 5 hours?
The sound quality reminds me of the JBL Go speaker I reviewed in 2017. There is warmth in the overall sound and delivers clarity in the treble. Percussions and vocals sound crisp, midrange is mildly chesty, mid-bass offers commendable effort in achieving some musical substance, albeit lacking in sub-bass feel. Modern genres have sufficient balance in depth and clarity for its size. It’s not as hyper-clear like Creative Metallix, but neither is it considered dark.
If you are wondering what gifts to buy for kids, the JBL JRPOP is your answer. Toys are not practical these days, while gadgets are cool. At S$59, the price is reasonable, and offers good balance of fullness and clarity. The JBL Kids Headphones series are good options too, and I just found out that Lazada is offering a bundle deal at S$99 (affiliate link). The JR300BT already retails at S$79.90, and the JR Bag is made of good quality material with padded back panel (the zipper is super smooth!). It’s a very presentable gift, and a great deal. Click the photo to get to the page.