Nokia JBL PlayUp Bluetooth NFC Speaker Review

Posted March 29, 2013 by Tomi in
JBL PlayUp






Total Score

Size: 18 x 118 x 128mm
Audio Formats: See Video
Other: See Video


Solid build, great sound performance.



Listening to your favourite tracks couldn’t be simpler. With a wireless NFC connection, just tap your phone on the speaker and you’re in business. Got Bluetooth? Then stream songs wirelessly from up to 10 metres away. Without a mess of cables or leads.

by Tomi
Full Article

Nokia JBL PlayUp Speaker is a  Bluetooth enabled device with  NFC connectivity readily built in to allow easy paring up with the Nokia Lumia. The PlayUp is a result of a joint collaboration between Nokia and JBL is known for their audio quality; you often see JBL speakers in retail shops, car stereo systems and some home entertainment. It’s an audio accessory  primarily aimed to come with the  Nokia’s Lumia 920 Windows Phone, but can also be paired up with the Lumia 820 or other Bluetooth devices out there.

Unboxing and First Look Video of the JBL PlayUp


Available in white, black and cyan blue, you might find it hard to decide which colour to go for, but if you are picking up a Lumia handset you could pick up a colour to go with your device.  Weighing around 760 grams and measuring 128 x 118 x 118 mm, it is portable in relative terms but when you lift it up you will feel the weight of the 3 drivers placed at the top for room filling sound.  It comes with a carrying pouch which for me makes it truly portable.

The weight is distributed so that it gives the PlayUp a complete sturdy feel when placed on any surface, rest assured when you have music blasting its full bass, you will not have a dancing wireless speaker but a device that produces great sound with not vibration or crackling sound.

At the top of the speaker are your volume rocker buttons and in the middle of them is your battery indicator light to let you know when its charging or when its running low on battery. Bluetooth connectivity offeres connection range of up to 10 meters and the Bluetooth button is prominently placed at the front of the JBL speaker; the ring around the button lights up to indicates blue light to indicate whether you’re paired with a device, white when you are not and blinks blue when you are in paring mode.

At the the top of the front side, there is a discrete Nokia logo with an NFC indicator underneath, you can tap a compatible device  like the Nokia Lumia 920, 820, 620, or an Android or Symbian phone that has NFC; your device needs to be atleast 15 mm close to be detected.  If you do not own any of those devices, it is best to check before you buy.

Sound Quality and Battery Life

The best thing about the JBL PlayUp is how well it performs; the bass was pumping and no matter what music genre was playing, it sounded solid, no crackling and over long Bluetooth range it still delivered with no interference.  If there is other unique selling point that that of the design, I’d point out the sound quality.  You can control the volume on the speaker or from your audio source.  Using it for making calls also delivered well meaning you could possibly use it for conference calls if you wish to.  Ability to use NFC to tap and connect to start playing music also added to the experience, simply set it up and you are ready to load up your favourite playlists.  The PlayUp is designed to deliver good quality sound even at high volumes which when compared to the likes of Logitech’s UE  Mobile BoomBox, its not as loud but sounds better than that from Logitech.

JBL has rated it to last for up to 10 hours and it was not far off with battery starting to drop off at about 9 hours; the first thing you notice is the sound quality and volume is affected when battery is near the end, the battery indicator also lights up to let us know that it is time to re-charge. For the average user who just wants to listen to music for short period of time on their travels or just to pop down the beach side, 9 hours is more than enough for that.


JBL PlayUP is very well designed, with variety of colours available to choose from since music is nothing but fun, they also have funs colour to go with it.  It performed well with sound tests and battery life is decent, the only thing that lets it down is the price as you can get the likes of Logitech, Braven, KitSound mobile speakers for slightly less price for the same or better performance.  Other than the price, I would recommend it to any one especially if you purchase a Nokia Lumia smartphone that supports NFC.

You can buy the JBL PlayUp here:

About the Author


I love gadgets and technology, so i write about them. +Tomi Adebayo