JBL Pulse 4 review
Speaker Reviews

JBL Pulse 4 Review – Feel and See the Pulse!

JBL Pulse 4 Review

Yes, yes I know, another cheesy LED portable speaker. However, in my JBL Pulse 4 Review I’ll let you know exactly why this speaker may be just cheesy enough for the best of us!

Remember lava lamps when you were a kid? Here’s the new lava lamp!

This newer Pulse 4, upgrading from the Pulse 3, is a complete 360′ LED light show that can shake a table even at 50% volume. Although the price might make you choke, this speaker is sure to deliver on the sound you want from a speaker of its size.

The LED lights that span fully around the speaker are a mixture of neon and pastel colors that actually don’t look as silly as you would think, and are boarder line one of the classier light up speakers on the market today.

In my JBL Pulse 4 Review, I’ll speak to an overview of the speaker, as well as some comments on the design and sound quality. As always I want you to consider both the great things, and the not so amazing features of this product so that you can make an informed choice.

I hope my JBL Pulse 4 Review helps you narrow down your purchasing needs!


JBL Pulse 4 Overview

The Pulse 4 was designed as a party speaker, however, unlike most party speakers this portable speaker features a full 360′ LED wrap around core. No matter where you’re sitting in the room, you’ll be able to see the neon and pastel waves, patterns and designs on this speaker.

The lights can be changed through a button on top of the speaker, or through the JBL Connect app available. Whether you’re looking for waves of colors, patterns or certain designs, this speaker will deliver.

The Pulse 4 was released in Fall 2019 and was designed to take the place of the Pulse 3. Although most upgrades of a speaker include more, surprisingly enough, the Pulse 4 eliminated a few features that the Pulse 3 had. Features such as a built-in microphone for hands-free calling and Smart Assistant capabilities were eliminated. We also did not see an increase to the mediocre 12-hour battery life.

The biggest difference between the two speakers is that the LED lights encompass the entire speaker instead of just the top part. The new Pulse 4 is a bit wider, but shorter compared to the Pulse 3.

Unfortunately, we saw a significant price increase, and for what I believe to be very little increase in features and performance. If you’re looking to upgrade to the Pulse 4, you’ll be paying about $70 dollars more.

Design & Specs

The Pulse 4 is available in black or white, and has a IPX7 rating similar to the Pulse 3. This speaker has Bluetooth 4.2, which obviously isn’t the best you can get but is sufficient for a portable speaker that you don’t plan on going far from.

This portable speaker has a rounded cylindrical build and measures 3.8 x 8.1 x 3.8′. It weighs just under 3 pounds, which is actually a little heavy.

Buttons along the top ring of the device allow you to turn it on, pair Bluetooth, turn volume up/down, play/pause, a button that controls the lights, and the JBL classic party boost button to pair with up to 100 other JBL speakers.

There is a single USB-C port near the base for charging only. It is not covered with a rubber flap as most IPX7 rated speakers are, which means if you do drop it in water, you’ll want to wait for it to dry first.

There is no AUX input.

There are no quick charge features or power banks to charge other devices with. In order to get a full charge from an empty battery, you’ll need up to 4 hours. That 4 hours will give you 12-hours of play time. At full volume it would be less, however, by turning the lights off you’ll get better battery life.

Whats the point in that case?

You can use this device with the connection of the JBL connect app, where you can control the lights, switch to party boost, or set it in stereo mode. There are no manual EQ abilities.

Sound

The speakers in the Pulse 4 are allocated a bit differently from the Pulse 3.

You have a 2.25′, 20 watt driver that is projected from the top of the device. The lower panel has a large radiator for big bass sound.

You can get the speaker to go loud, and project a lot of sound. However, the bass response drops off ever so slightly at higher volumes. A lot of reviews mention keeping it to 60% volume to get the best results.

Regardless of what volume you have it at, the sound stays true, clear and crisp. You will not be disappointed with the bass or the high frequencies coming from this speaker.

Cons and Other Considerations

JBL Pulse 4 Review

It seems odd that this Pulse 4 lost some features from its younger sibling the Pulse 3.

I guess when building a party speaker, do you really want to have a mic? Who wants to be answering calls during your party?

I was disappointed there wasn’t more battery life. And to stop for 4 hours to charge it, with no quick charge, would really dampen the mood of a party.

I love the lights, and find the covering of the entire body with LED’s to be almost memorizing. It eliminates a lot of the cheesiness from the product and actually adds a value that listeners can appreciate.

This product is good for any splashes, spills or dust it may come into contact with. Don’t worry about drunk people getting it dirty with the IPX7 rating.

The price really gets me, and I feel you’re paying more for the lights than anything. Personally I don’t think I crave the lights enough to fork up extra money.

My Verdict: A neat product for the purpose

All in all, this product produces for its purpose. It was created to be a party speaker, and between the bass and the lights it really delivers on just that.

Is it a speaker I am looking for? Not really. I think the lights are a bit much, and despite them being a bit classier on the JBL Pulse 4, I just don’t see me wanting to use them a lot regardless of what party I am at.

The sound is great, and fits the purpose, but you’re paying a premium for the lights so if you don’t want the lights I know for a fact you could inverst in something more like the JBL Xtreme 3 and pay a similar price for a better sound profile.

Let me know your thoughts below!

Until next time,

-B

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