JBL Pulse Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with LED Light Show: First Impressions

We are living in an era where almost everyone has a Bluetooth speaker at home. Thus, it gets tricky for companies to differentiate. JBL is one of the leading companies in the Bluetooth speaker department, and it offers speakers with good quality, great sound, and a nice design. The philosophy of the JBL Pulse portable speaker is to impress with a posing light show that responds to the music playing. It glows and flashes to the beat of the tunes, making it an excellent music visualizer and party speaker. It’s really something that almost everyone wants to have because it looks amazing.

The JBL Pulse for was presented at IFA 2019, which is one of the highlights in the tech world every year. JBL has presented the Pulse for along with a wide range of true wireless in-ears. The Pulse for replaces the JBL Pulse free, which also expands the size of the light display for a more full-body feel. At the retail price of around $280, it looks like a big lava lamp, and the main change from the previous model is the external design.

The Pulse bar goes all out on the full-body display, minimizing the bezels and offering a much bigger LED area than the previous versions. Also, the LED panel inside looks way smoother and sharper than on the previous version. You get, as JBL calls it, 360-degree audio, making it ideal for group gatherings or poolside parties. Additionally, it is IPX7 water-resistant, making it very splash-proof, and it’s also shock and dustproof. It has a Type-C port for charging, and its maximum output is 20 watts. Unfortunately, there is no 3.5-millimeter input, but to be honest, who needs that on a speaker nowadays?

The buttons at the top of the Pulse for allow you to adjust the volume, play and pause, turn it on and pair, and also change the LED lights. Like the rest of its line, the Pulse for has a light show mode in which its LED can adopt several patterns or colors as it streams the audio. It does so by a Bluetooth 4.2, which enables it to connect to one or two devices simultaneously. The LEDs are controlled through the JBL Connect app, and it’s even possible to use a phone or tablet’s camera to replicate a favorite picture, for example. The Pulse for supports the new JBL PartyBoost system, which allows more than a hundred compatible speakers to be paired together or a stereo system to be created from two speakers.

Regarding the sound performance, there’s a 6.5-millimeter driver coupled with a passive radiator. Based on first impressions, the Pulse for sounds great for its size, with good all-around sound, nice and not too heavy bass, and good mids and highs. There will be an in-depth sound test soon, so stay tuned for that.

With around 12 hours of battery life, there is only little technical improvement on the Pulse free, but you should easily get a full day or night use out of it. Overall, the JBL Pulse for is a nice follow-up model with enough of a visual difference but only small improvements. It sounds pretty decent with nothing overpowering, and the so-called 360-degree audio can really impress. It’s definitely an eye-catcher, and the waterproof rating makes it the perfect all-around Bluetooth speaker and portable party light. However, if you rely on JBL Connect to pair speakers, you will be a bit disappointed.

In conclusion, the JBL Pulse for is an excellent Bluetooth speaker with a unique visual experience. If you want a portable party speaker that doubles up as a light show, this is the one for you.