JBL is a well-established brand when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. With a wide range of speakers, JBL has a speaker for everyone’s need. From portability to strong sound to Lighting gimmicks, they have everything in their platter. JBL Pulse 3 is one such speaker in their portfolio that not only sounds great but looks great as well. The light show of JBL Pulse 3 is definitely the USP of the speaker.
The Pulse first version has been there in the market since 2014, but Pulse 3 is the one that really lights up (literally as well). Not only this version looks better but also sounds great, lasts long and is waterproof as well. No doubt the lighting dance in the speaker is so fancy that you will love to see that dancing on your favorite tunes along a pool side.
So what’s in the box?
- JBL Pulse 3
- Power adaptor
- Micro USB cable
- Quick start guide
- Safety sheet
- Warranty card
Before going into detail review of JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth speaker, let’s quickly look at the technical specifications:
- Weight – 960 gms
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 223mm x 92mm x 92mm
- Bluetooth version: 4.2
- Battery life – 7 Hrs @ 50% volume
- Charging time – 4.5 hrs
- Waterproof – IPX7 certified
- Output Power – 20 W
Let’s review JBL Pulse 3 in detail:
Unlike most of the JBL speakers, in which metal mesh covers most of the area. JBL Pulse 3 has the metal mesh just at the bottom 1/3 of the speaker. Upper 2/3 of the area is acrylic covering for the light show.
Cylindrical in shape, JBL Pulse 3 looks more like a water bottle in shape and size as well. The controls are at the bottom of the speaker. Acrylic covering (that looks like a glass) in the upper part of the speaker acts as a transparent medium for the led lights. The control panel at the bottom has the Power ON/OFF button accompanied with play/pause, volume controls, Bluetooth pairing, multiple speaker linking and a dedicated button to switch between various lighting options.
The volume controllers and the pause/play button are not back lit, which makes it a bit difficult to distinguish at night. Had these buttons were slightly raised, it would have helped them locate much easily even in dark.
Alongside these buttons, we have the standard 5 pin pointed LED’s that indicates the battery life. Each point represents 20% of the battery. The 3.5 mm audio input and micro-usb charging port are hidden beneath a rubber flap.
At the top and bottom of the speakers are the two bass radiators that aren’t protected by any metal mesh. It’s not advisable to touch them but they are not delicate either.
The speakers are located at the bottom of the device and have a 360 degree sound. So no matter where you are standing with respect to the speaker, it has the same sound quality and loudness.
The most beautiful part of the JBL Pulse 3 is the lightning. It’s bright and interactive. The light moves according to the beats of your music. You have an option to switch between various lighting like Jet, Fireworks, Equalizer, Rave, Rainbow, Campfire, and Wave. You can also customize the lights based on your preferences, but the default options are quite good enough to light up your party.
More interactive feature of JBL Pulse 3 is the customization of the color based on the picture you take from the JBL Connect + app. You can take a picture and the color pointed in the picture would be shown on the JBL Pulse 3. It works like a color scanner and is pretty much accurate as well. Cool feature indeed!
JBL Pulse 3 is IPX7 rating, which means it can submerge under water for 30 mins upto a depth of 1 meters. With our tests, when submerged under water it functions absolutely fine. So if you are planning to have a pool side party you don’t need to worry about water splashes on it. Another good thing is that the speaker floats on the water, which gives you a peace of mind when taking it on beach or pool side.
Like other recent speakers from JBL, Pulse 3 also have an option of JBL Connect +. So you can connect 100s of JBL Connect + enabled speakers and have them all play at the same time. If you are planning a big party and want it to be loud enough, you can connect different JBL Speakers and make it sound much more immersive.
Jbl Pulse 3 uses Bluetooth 4.2 and the connectivity is quite good as well. It easily connects with the music device within a range of 65 feet, even with couple of walls in between. One of the missing feature is the NFC pairing, which helps in easy pairing of the devices.
The charging time is a bit disappointing. It takes 4.5 hours to charge this lighting beauty. The play back time is good, if not impressive. JBL claims a battery life of 12 hrs. With our tests at 50% volume and lights on, JBL Pulse 3 lasted for 7.15 hrs.
Well, the battery life is comparable with the other speakers in the markets within the same range. Given the beautiful lighting show, one can compromise a bit on the battery side. It’s a tradeoff between the lights and the battery backup.
Let’s get down to the most important thing in a Bluetooth speaker – Sound quality. The beautiful bright lights might be the USP for the JBL Pulse 3, but thankfully that does comes at the cost of the sound.
It is loud enough to fill a small and medium sized room easily. For large rooms, you will still hear the sound but would be more like causal listening rather than tapping on each beat. Initially, when you play this speaker right out of the box, it might disappoint you at first. It sounds quite flat and the bass is not steady as well. But after playing 4-5 songs at a higher volume, it gets into the groove and sounds like a JBL Speaker is expected to do.
The bass if not average, would be slightly better than that. If you love the bass dominated music like hip-hop, edm or pop-music, then Pulse 3 might not disappoint you but would not be over whelming as well.
If you do not care about the bright lights and bass is the key for you, then you might be looking for other options in the same price range like – Sony XB30, which have a great bass and sound quality. Alternatively, you can also go for JBL Charge 3, which can give you a depth and solid bass that you are looking for.
The mids are clear and clean in JBL Pulse 3. The vocals are clear in mid and high range as well. At mid volume the speaker sounds exactly like JBL Charge 3, but at higher volumes Charge 3 gives you much brighter sound.
If the speaker is kept in the middle of the room, then you will experience the same sound quality all across the room. The 360 degree audio experience with a good sound quality and bright lights make this a perfect speaker for mid-range audio. The speaker phone works quite seamless as well, while taking up the calls. The vocals are crystal clear even from a distance of 5 – 10 meters.
At higher frequencies, there is a bit of distortion but listening to rock and classical music is pretty much good. The JBL has played quite safe with Pulse 3, good audio quality with lighting brings music to life. It is not the best audio quality speaker out there, but if you value the lights, it is hands down a winner in this price range.
Undoubtedly, it is a good performing speaker. The customization of lights does complement the surrounding and adds a kick to music as well. The audio quality is quite good, if not the best. The IPX7 ratings, which makes Pulse 3 water proof definitely adds a feather to the cap.
The 360 degree sound with the light show is the show stopper for this Bluetooth speaker. The battery life is just satisfactory and is one area that could have been improved for Pulse 3. With JBL Connect+ app, you can connect multiple speakers and light up your party.
If you are not too much into bass and want a good looking Bluetooth speaker, then this one is for you. You will surely love to play with the lights and seeing them dancing on your favorite song is a delight.