I'm trying to decide if upgrading to include jbl is worth it.
Obviously I should get in one with and then one without to see which I like better.. But I'm just hoping for some opinions on how much of a difference there really is.
The head units are functionally the same. The JBL system adds an amp and different speakers. Take a USB thumb drive with you with a few favorite MP3 on it and listen to them. User reviews are mixed. Of critical importance is setting up the 3-band EQ for your personal taste.
I'm a little disappointed with the premium JBL, but it is servicable. Before buying, we rented one that had the standard Entune stereo. It was not very good in my opinion, and I would have been looking for a replacement. Based on that, JBL was an absolute requirement for me. We got it on our Rav4 Hybrid Limited.
After getting it dialed in, the JBL sounds pretty good in the front. The weird thing is that fading it towards the rear reduces the volume in front but doesn't seem to increase it in the back. If you fade it all the way to the rear the sound practically disappears and it sounds thin with no "oompf".We keep the rear seats folded down, so maybe that has something to do with it. Also the rear sub doesn’t seem to output much. Trying to boost it with eq just makes it boomier and muddier. Faded to the center or slightly forward, the system overall sounds decent.
This is all based on playing music via Bluetooth.* XM isn't very good on either version, but that's XM, not the head unit. FM HD, if you can get it, sounds pretty good and better than XM for music.
Re. the Entune apps, I think they are the same for both versions. They don't seem very useful to me.
(*The same setup sounded pretty great in our 2010 Prius with JBL premium. )