JBL Pulse Portable Bluetooth Speaker with LED Light Show

We’ve taken a look at a vast array of portable Bluetooth speakers and have found that most include similar features but sound quality and reliability can vary greatly. That’s why we eagerly awaited the arrival of our JBL Pulse, because it dares to be unique in a sea of familiarity. A dazzling display of LEDs encompasses the entire unit, bringing your music to life by dancing along with the beat. We put this new speaker to the test to see if this LED-studded speaker is just a novelty or if it has a lasting impact on the way we enjoy our music…

jbl-pulse-bluetooth-loudspeaker

Overview
The Pulse is much smaller than I imagined it would be. After reviewing the press images and promo videos, I was expecting the speaker to be about the same length as a football, but it’s actually only about 6-inches long. Its diameter is just over 3-inches, which is just small enough that it fits in large cup-holders.
The speakers and LED lights wrap nearly 360-degrees around the unit except for a thin strip that is home to a micro-USB port for charging (cable/wall adapter included) and AUX port to hook up an audio source directly. The speakerless strip is conveniently flattened so the unit can balance on a flat surface. Both the end caps and the port strip are covered in a rubberized black matte finish that seems to hold up well to scratches and bumps.

The speaker is covered by a tight metal mesh that’s thin enough to let the LEDs shine through but also feels solid and protective. All of the buttons reside on one end of the unit, including the power, volume, Bluetooth sync, and LED controls.

Sound Quality/Light Show Impressions
The design and build quality of the speaker is top-notch. In no way does it feel fragile or cheap. I wouldn’t be comfortable bringing it along any extreme adventures, but I wouldn’t think twice about tailgating, camping, or picnicking with it. You definitely do not need to handle it with kid gloves.

As for overall sound quality I would say it’s good. It certainly packs enough “oomph” to fill a small to medium-sized room with great sounding music, but when I tested it outdoors, tailgating at a Jimmy Buffett concert, I found myself wishing it was louder. Although, when the party moved underneath a tent it was plenty loud enough to get everyone moving. No matter the listening environment, I never found the sound to be distorted in any way, but I did wish it had just a bit more punch for bass-heavy songs.

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Via 9 to 5 Mac