Welcome to another installment of Editor’s Review from FREESKIER. Each week our editorial staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear they’re testing on a weekly basis. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains as possible. Read up on JBL’s Pulse 2, then visit us again tomorrow for more awesome gear coverage.
I’ve been playing with a heap of gadgets lately, prepping for a gadget-centric round-up that we’ll host on the website in the next month or so. Among the many products that I’ve been testing are more than a half-dozen portable Bluetooth speakers. Of those, one in particular stands out not only for its great sound quality and its sleek shape, but for the simple fact that it serves your tunes with a side of a light show.
The Pulse 2, by JBL, boasts voice assistant integration, syncing with Siri and Google Now; offers wireless Bluetooth streaming; takes calls with the touch of a button; fills a room with crisp, clean and loud sound; is splash-proof (you can clean it under running tap water, for example, just don’t submerge it) and as aforementioned does all of this while boosting the mood and spicing up the atmosphere via its ambient lighting. There are 12 different light shows in all, from stationary-red (pictured below at the FREESKIER office), to slow-moving yellows and blues (for when you feel like listening to Sigur Rós or Enya), to dancing multi-color extravaganzas for when the music’s tempo picks up. You can easily adjust the light settings to your liking and you can even go so far as to point the JBL’s lens (yup, it has a built-in lens) at a color of your choice and the Pulse 2 will bring that color to life.
When I first ordered this product I was somewhat skeptical about the light-up functionality, wondering if perhaps it was nothing more than a gimmick. After firing up the Pulse 2 for the first time I was admittedly impressed. I dug the lights and I knew others (like you) would, too. This became evident when my roommate hosted a BBQ: I was out of town and received a text from said roommate that read, “Can I borrow your wireless speaker?” I joked about which one he was keen to take, knowing I had no fewer than six speakers on my kitchen counter (perks of the job, I know, I know), but he knew exactly which one he wanted. He’d seen the light show and that was enough to hook him. And so I came home to a Pulse 2 on the counter with scuff-marks of dirt all over it. The BBQ-goers had put the Pulse 2 to good use, I surmised. I washed it off (refer back to that splash-proof comment) and went on my merry way, knowing that I’d have to review this speaker on its own. People love the damn thing.
The Pulse 2’s capabilities expand well beyond what’s been discussed thus far: You can connect it to another JBL speaker (via an app) to create your very own music ecosystem; you can wirelessly connect up to three smartphones, tablets or laptops and take turns playing DJ; and the built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion battery supports up to 10 hours of playback (including when the light show is enabled).
Take it everywhere (775 grams and approx 7.5 x 3.3 inches) or just add a little flair and funk to your favorite room. Once you get your hands on this thing, you’re never going to want to give it up.