Seriously improved over the last gen. And hands down, the BEST LED speaker on the market.
Hey Team JRR. Thanks for recommending this speaker to review! I see your comments out there. =) We’re looking at the OG of LED Bluetooth speakers, the one that gives you the most color and brightness. This is the JBL Pulse 4 Review. I will admit, the audio on the previous generations were never the best, as majority of the speaker are the LED lights, but… let’s see how much is the tradeoff… and hey, maybe the audio is good enough. As always being transparent, JBL did send this in for review, however my assessment was not altered in any way. I’ll be going over both pros and cons. I’ll also leave my affiliate links above. Click on those links for the most updated prices in real-time. You never know when this thing might go on sale.
Going over the physical features first, first off, this thing has some weight to it. A good bit of weight coming in at nearly 3 pounds. (2.78lbs) Accompany that with the acrylic or glass used, and it does give me a bit of caution when holding. It’s not slippery per say, but I am conscious about it. It actually feels fragile. Not that it’s a flaw, but something to be aware. I mean, damn, look at the lights, how else are you going to get a lava lamp looking speaker. Also, it’s very fingerprint prone.
SNEAK PEAK AT THE DRIVERS
On the bottom is the passive bass radiator and on the very top is the actual driver, pushing out 360 degree audio. What I do like about this speaker over the previous generation, there’s simply more coverage for the lights all the way around. Regarding audio, we’ll get into that shortly.
THE BUTTONS AND FEATURES
Continuing with the physical features, there’s three sides to the Pulse 4. The first one has your volume up and down with pause and play. I love the fact when you adjust volume, you can see how much you pumped it up or lowered it down with the LED’s. You can also skip a song by pressing play twice, but you can’t go back.
WHAT YOU DON’T GET WITH THE PULSE 4
What you also don’t get is voice assistant. There’s no Google or Siri built in and since the JBL Pulse 4 doesn’t have a microphone, the speaker can’t piggy back off your phone to use those assistants either. And last, since there’s no microphone, there is no speakerphone option. Again, not a negative, but it is subjective if you’ll be using those features or not. Those features are typically found on other devices in general.
Rotating to the second side. Simply Power and Bluetooth pairing. Bluetooth is rated at Bluetooth 4.2. Which is good for really average use. This year, I’ve been really pushing for companies to offer Bluetooth 5.0. With my testing, I’m able to walk about 80% of my apartment before the music started to crackle. That’s good for Bluetooth 4.2 and also testing this with video on my Android Pixel 3a and iphone ten, I surprisingly didn’t have any syncing delays. That’s really good, although I prefer Bluetooth 5.0. Last, you can only pair to one device at a time which is a bummer.
NEW PARTY BOOST FEATURE
Rotating to that third side, we have this thing called Partyboost. If you can find another JBL speaker that has Partyboost, you can pair them together and have stereo sound. If you or your friends have more than two, pair them altogether and they play at the same time with zero delays. The older speakers that use Connect Plus instead, are not compatible. Huge let down there, but JBL in the past has provided an update to make their Connect Plus speakers work with older models before then as well. We’ll see.
PULSE 4 LIGHTING FEATURES
Last button here is the JBL lighting setup. Now, this is the justification to forgo some of the features I mentioned earlier. There’s no other mainstream speaker that is even close to what this speaker can do in regards to lighting and customization. Pressing this cycles through the five presets available.
THE LIGHTING MODES
The five are : Spiritual. Campfire. Equalizer. Wave. And Custom in which you can change which direction these LED’s are shining and how many.
Keep in mind, each of the five, you can change the color through the app, but the feature I love the most. Use the camera mode and scan your favorite color. This helps a lot if you want matching decor and it’s shockingly, very accurate. You can control how bright you want the LED’s to be as well and of course you can always revert it back to the factory settings.
For those who have the previous generation, the Pulse 3, I don’t think it’s worth the upgrade if your sole reason for buying this is the lights. The Pulse 3 has the same exact patterns as the Pulse 4. You’re really just paying for more LED surface area. It is indeed brighter and more visually appealing, but unless you have money to blow, I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise. (Read the audio section, that might sway you) 😉
MY PULSE 4 BATTERY TESTS
Moving on, battery level indicator below which looks cool but could be a bit more detailed. And last is a USB-C connection which deserves several points. I’m aware more people are using these speakers wirelessly, but there are a few out there that still use the 3.5mm cord. We don’t get that here.
But speaking about power. JBL claims upto 12hrs of use which is on the low-end for Bluetooth speakers in general of this price range, but… again, you get the camp fire. With my testing, the same test I do on all my Bluetooth speakers at 50% volume, I was able to achieve 14hrs and 39 minutes to be precise.
JBL WATERPROOF’s THE PULSE 4
Last but not least, the water test. This is IP7 certified meaning this can be submerged under water for upto 30 minutes and upto 3.3. Feet of water. The bigger question… if you were to drop this into a body of water, does it float? With my testing, thankfully it does. And I’m assuming the USB port is ok to be exposed to water too since there’s no flap on here.
JBL PULSE 4 AUDIO TESTS
So far in this review, the Pulse 4 looks really good but left many of the other features that makes this super versatile. In my opinion, the LED’s look really darn good and if that’s the priority, let’s move onto the audio section to see if JBL can seal the deal.
And there you have it folks. Audio recorded on my end and then played through your speakers are not the best depiction of audio quality, but hence my review here.
WHAT SHOCKED ME
The Pulse 4, holy cow, shockingly this has a good amount of bass. It’s not like a subwoofer where it shakes the table, but for a Bluetooth speaker, dang, this thing sounds really good. Bass hits surprisingly low, doesn’t make the mid range muddy, and the amount of bass supplements the experience really well.
WHAT SHOCKED ME… AGAIN
The second shock factor, and honestly, I think I wasn’t expecting much after reviewing the JBL Charge 4 and JBL Flip 5, but the mid-range and vocal work is impressive on this model. Although it’s not a direct firing speaker – again, the speaker is on the top firing up at the ceiling and not at you – I didn’t think the audio would fill up a room.
You can put this at maximum volume and have no distortion and have it loud enough fill up a living space. It’s perfect for single room use that ranges from small to even large. If you can afford two of these, holy freak. I’m telling you, it’s going to be an experience.
I will admit though, if you go into another room, it’s loses its emphasis quite quickly and I’m very certain it’s because audio bouncing off the ceiling does help. Or simply being in the blast radius of the top-firing speaker is a must. I also placed the Pulse 4 on the ground and it proved to send out even more audio to the environment. Whatever driver they’re using for this speaker, this needs to be in their other speakers.
The high frequencies, I blasted this at maximum volume and it was never sharp, never raspy. Overall, the Pulse 4 is really that damn good. And honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been amazed, shocked, but this is truly a good quality speaker.
360 DEGREE AUDIO
Last and before I forget to mention, indeed, you do get full 360 degree sound. Walking around or rotating the speaker does provide even distribution of audio throughout.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
The JBL Pulse 4 is indeed missing several features, no voice assistance, no speakerphone option, no 3.5mm port, no Bluetooth 5.0, no multi-pairing… Indeed, those can deter you from purchasing. I would say, ask yourself if you’re ok with those features missing. It’s clearly still a well functioning speaker from my testing. The audio was not sacrificed and if anything, sounds really good in my opinion. To help you make that purchase decision, if you value the lights as first priority, then are ok with a 360 degree audio sound signature instead of being direct, this is a great purchase. It’s honestly your call and if you do purchase this, with my testing, what works, simply works well.
Folks, let me know in the comment section below what you think. Remember to add me on Social Media at JimmyLuongOfficial on Instagram and JLuongOfficial on Twitter. Like and Subscribe and be sure to throw some fire emoji’s my way. Everything helps support my work. You guys take care. See you on the next one. BYE. And by the way, keep recommending me products. I see you guys out there. Alright, bye.
– Jimmy Luong
JBL Pulse 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Light Show - Black, JBL
|Current Price||$249.95||January 27, 2021|
|Highest Price||$249.95||July 10, 2020|
|Lowest Price||$149.00||October 11, 2020|
Last price changes
|$249.95||January 17, 2021|
|$199.00||January 14, 2021|
|$249.95||January 8, 2021|
|$199.00||January 7, 2021|
|$249.95||December 25, 2020|
|Current Price||$148.00||January 27, 2021|
|Highest Price||$199.00||September 3, 2020|
|Lowest Price||$78.77||November 14, 2020|
Last price changes
|$148.00||January 26, 2021|
|$149.00||January 23, 2021|
|$149.95||January 21, 2021|
|$149.98||January 4, 2021|
|$149.99||January 3, 2021|
JBL Charge 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker with 20 Hour Battery - Black, JBL
|Current Price||$179.95||January 27, 2021|
|Highest Price||$179.95||July 13, 2020|
|Lowest Price||$88.45||August 12, 2020|
Last price changes
|$179.95||January 4, 2021|
|$129.95||December 2, 2020|
|$119.95||November 20, 2020|
|$129.95||November 1, 2020|
|$139.95||October 1, 2020|