JBL Pulse 4 Review: A Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Light Show
JBL never fails to surprise its users. No wonder, why it has gained huge popularity in a short period. I have seen and heard a lot of JBL speakers and I must say the sound quality and the vibrant lighting is a stunner! Today I'm here with a complete review of another most hyped JBL speaker - Pulse 4. Let's see if it is worth the hype or not!
It is gonna be very interesting, so make sure you read it until the end.
What is the JBL Pulse 4?
As you may know, the house of JBL is famous for its party speakers with maxed-out bass output and stunning light features. It is the unique selling point of the company. Undoubtedly, it has taken the audio market with a huge storm. JBL Pulse 4 is a similar kind of portable high-end speaker which has gained a substantial fan base over a little time. The company claims it to be the best in series and calls it a "youth-oriented" speaker.
Hands down! What a great design!
I am actually in love with its aesthetic design. It is 8.2in tall and in a capsule shape. The shape and size fully complement its light show feature. When the light array runs along with its height, it adds as a great décor. It looks gorgeous!
Further, it is available in two base colors - Black and White.
Unlike its predecessors, there is no cloth grille wrapped around the speaker but it gives off an even sound distribution in all the directions.
It offers a well-balanced bass which is not at all overpowering like most of the speakers of this kind. The sound quality as such is excellent.
The biggest disappointment is the absence of 3.5mm auxiliary-in input and built-in microphone and voice assistance. These were the most expected features especially after paying such a heavy price.
It is a fairly hefty device that weighs whopping 1.2kg and comes with an excellent IPX7 waterproof rating. This simply means the speaker will survive even if it's dipped in about 1 metre of water for about 30 minutes.
Again a plus point, it is dust and sand proof. Thus, you can take it everywhere from a pool party to a beach get-together without worrying about it getting damaged due to water, dust or sand.
While a majority of similar devices come with tiny plastic flappy lids on the inputs, Pulse 4's input socket is totally uncovered. I feel that the flappy caps are great in the way they cover the sockets and protect them from dust and water. Although it claims to be fully waterproof, I advise you to be careful while subjecting it to unexpected splashes. Also, make sure it is completely dry before plugging it into the switchboard.
To begin with the most stellar feature, the light show is killing it. You will find all the control buttons at the rim of the speaker. You can use these buttons for controlling playback, volume, lighting etc. You can even sync it with other JBL speakers using the most hyped "Party Boost" feature. It allows you to create a quasi multi-room speaker series with more than 100 compatible speakers synced at a single time.
It comes with Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and covers a wireless range of about 80ft which is not bad at all.
You can control the light show using the physical buttons, but what I liked the most is the fact that it can be controlled using JBL iOS and Android mobile apps.
Additionally, the old models of Pulse have sported up to 10 different light modes but this model offers only 4 as such.
There is also a "Spiritual" setting which inclines towards meditation, and yoga sessions which is okay-ish. Moreover, coming back to the light show there is a "Wave" mode to mimic aquatic scenes, campfire themed flames and and "Equaliser" that works as an audio analyser display.
Coming to my most favorite feature, the JBL Android and iOS apps work pretty amazingly in tracking the battery level, controlling lights and sound. Even better, you can personalise the color scheme via the mobile app, using a wide array of available color options. You can match the lights of speakers with the set up it is kept in.
If I have to explain its sound quality in one word, it would be - MIND-BLOWING!
Pulse 4 is well-tuned and offers an amazing bass. When the passive bass radiator gets combined with the driver, it gives out a crisp and warm sound very evenly. It propels just the right amount of bass - neither too overpowering nor too weak. Further, at an output of 20W, it can fully jazz up a larger room which is what matters the most.
However, when I played it above the 90% mark, it got a bit harsh on my ears. Nevertheless, it is not a big issue as a majority of the speakers get cranky when played at full speed.
This speaker boasts 12 hours of battery life when fully charged and used with lights running. While it gets charged fast, it is the low overall battery life for the speaker like this. The battery drains out pretty quickly when used with the lights on.
Pros and Cons
- Stunning light effect
- Good sound quality
- A bit expensive
- Lacks built-in speaker and 3.5mm aux input
- Lacks voice assistant support
- Insufficient battery life
- Ease-of-Use: 5/5
- Features: 3.5/5
- Value for Money: 3/5
As far as the performance is concerned, Pulse 4 has been impressive. To be honest, the sound quality is better than expected. Also, the light show is a win-win feature as it looks stunning. Although JBL hasn't provided the voice assistant feature and even the basic inbuilt microphone, Pulse 4 doesn't seem like a youth-oriented speaker. Also, its pricing is a bit higher and can burn your pockets.
Overall, it is a decent product for those who don't mind the lack of two key features (voice-assistant and inbuilt microphone) and the high price