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JBL has been a leader in the world of Bluetooth speakers for many years thanks to the sound quality present in all the many products in their catalog.
Just take a quick look at the company’s website and you will see that there are dozens of Bluetooth speakers to choose from. The selection may seem a bit daunting, but surely there is a device that fits your specific needs.
If you want an ultra-portable speaker, take the small JBL Clip 2 (Check on Amazon.com). If you want good bass and portability without spending an exaggerated amount of money, buy the JBL Charge 3 (Check on Amazon.com).
But what if you want a Bluetooth speaker that sounds great and offers extra unique features? JBL has us covered with the JBL Pulse 3 (Check on Amazon.com).
- JBL Pulse 3
- USB charging cable
- Wall adapter
Design and build quality
We have to start by saying that this JBL Pulse 3 is waterproof and IPX7 certified, which means that can be immersed in water up to 1 meter (3.28ft) deep for up to 30 minutes. Its body is made of smooth plastic, which acts as an excellent diffuser for the visual effects generated by the integrated LEDs. The Pulse 3 is similar to the JBL Charge 3, but it is wider.
The bass radiators at the top and bottom of the speaker are visible and are not protected by a mesh. You should avoid touching them because they can be damaged but they are also fun to watch as they vibrate with the music. Speaking of audio, the JBL Pulse 3 offers 360 degrees sound diffusion, so you get the same listening experience wherever you stand, with no dead spots, and thus it is great for outdoor use.
All JBL Pulse 3 controls are located on the back. There are buttons for power, volume, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, and the voice assistant. There is also a button dedicated to the JBL Connect+ technology and a button to change the light animations.
Given the dual nature of this speaker, we did not expect much regarding the audio quality. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the balanced sound. This speaker sounds great.
Unlike the JBL Charge 3 which has a predominant bass, the JBL Pulse 3 manages to keep things remarkably balanced. The highs are still slightly undertone but instruments like violins are still distinct. The bass is full-bodied, but the middle range less so.
360-degree audio is excellent and gives everyone the same listening experience. You can also pair it with other JBL Connect+ compatible speakers at the same time. The bad news is that it requires the use of Connect+ technology so it will not be possible to pair this with older JBL speakers that support the older standard Connect (no + sign).
The battery life reaches 12 hours with the lights on. Other rivals behave better, such as the UE Boom 2 (Check on Amazon.com) offering 15 hours or the JBL Charge 3 with its massive 24 hours of autonomy.
Read more: UE Boom 2 Review
The JBL Pulse 3 is a pleasant surprise. In addition to the visual effects offered by the built-in LED lights, it offers a very balanced sound reproduction: the highs have a good extension even if not perfect, the bass is consistent, and the mids so and so. If you are not an audiophile, the end result will be extremely pleasant.
If you want a Bluetooth speaker with exceptional sound, waterproofing and that stands out from the crowd, the JBL Pulse 3 (Check on Amazon.com) is the one to buy.