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JBL On Tour Mobile review: JBL On Tour Mobile

JBL's On Tour Mobile is a lightweight, portable speaker for those on holiday or down at the beach, but the sound quality isn't great.

Jeremy Roche
Hi, I look after product development for CBS Interactive in Sydney - which lets me develop a range of websites including CNET Australia, TV.com and ZDNet Australia.
Jeremy Roche
2 min read

When closed and standing up on its end, JBL's On Tour Mobile has the contours and shape of a large hip flask. It's not quite as pocketable, though, with the dimensions of 171mm by 89mm by 38mm making it the size of a large purse. At around 450 grams, it doesn't add too much heft to your luggage or backpack when travelling.


JBL On Tour Mobile

The Good

2.5mm, 3.5mm and mini-USB connections. Battery-powered option. Compatible with iPods, MP3 players and mobile phones. Can be used as a loudspeaker for calls.

The Bad

Akward positioning of plugs. Glossy black surface scratches and smudges easily. No remote. Tinny sound and limited bass.

The Bottom Line

JBL's On Tour Mobile is a lightweight, portable speaker for those on holiday, but the sound quality isn't great.

The exterior of the On Tour Mobile is a glossy piano black making it prone to fingerprints and smudges, but when given a quick wipe it comes up quite tasteful looking. Sliding back the top cover reveals two metallic mesh covered speakers with a JBL logo in the centre. Three cables come bundled in the pack to connect mini-USB, 2.5mm and 3.5mm audio sources such as an iPod or a mobile phone. The speakers are powered by either 4 x AAA batteries under the cover or the AC adaptor.

The On Tour Mobile edition we looked at was made especially for Motorola, making it compatible with all of its music phones, as well as MP3 players, laptops or CD players.

The bundled instruction sheet is clear and concise: connect your mobile device to the back of the On Tour Mobile with the appropriate cable and adjust the volume controls next to the right speaker to set the desired sound level. When connected to a mobile phone via mini-USB, you can also answer calls with your phone and use the On Tour Mobile as a hands-free loudspeaker.

We tested the On Tour Mobile with an iPod Nano. The sound quality was clear but not terribly impressive for a AU$170 pair of portable speakers. It's suited mainly for travellers; for portable desktop speaker systems, check out LaCie's periscope-like FireWire speakers.

As the two speakers are only centimetres apart, any stereo effect is negligible. It can't reproduce low-end sound, so it's not the best pair if you want to be pumping out hip-hop or dance tunes on the beaches of Ibiza. It's more suited to playing background music on a relaxing holiday or a picnic. Mid-range sound is crystal clear, only distorting at very high volume. There's no remote control bundled so you have to manually adjust volume and power. A final gripe we have is the positioning of the power and audio connections -- they're at the rear of the speakers under the top cover, so you have to unplug all the cables every time to slide the lid close.