JBL Pulse: Feel the pulse

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Dec 12 2013, 19:51pm hrs
SpeakerA powerful speaker with a built-in LED light show that pulses to your music.
Some of us who have grown up in the early 80s will recall the pulsating disco music, widely popularised by Nazia Hassan. Melodic with a regular bass beat and intended mainly for dancing at discotheques with laser lights in the backgroundthe Pakistani pop singers music is just as relevant today as it was decades ago. JBL is letting music lovers install a bit of the dance floor in their homes with the Pulse. It is a powerful Bluetooth speaker with a good feature set and a built-in LED light show that pulses to your music. Imagine bringing your music to life with glowing, multi-coloured visualsthat too, with no wires!

Bluetooth speakers are the latest advancements in the wireless world. The Pulse is the latest member of the portable JBL speaker family. Basically, it combines a powerful wireless speaker with a programmable light show. This portable wireless speaker has been designed for easy connectivity with

mobile phones, laptops and tablets. It has very minimal controls and is meant to be controlled via the media source.

The review box came with a single Pulse portable stereo speaker, a USB adapter and USB cable and a quick-start guide. Out of the box, the cylindrical speaker instantly caught my eye with its LED walls. In terms of specifications, it has a frequency response of 100Hz20kHz, power output of 2 x 6W and a signal-to-noise ratio of 86dB. The LED-laden speaker has two 40 mm drivers powering its sound and near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth for quick device pairing and audio streaming.

At my end, I was able to pair the Pulse easily with Bluetooth-friendly Android and iOS devices. You simply hold down the Bluetooth button on top of the speaker and it goes into pairing mode. After you select JBL Pulse from the Bluetooth setup menu on your phone or other device, after a few seconds you should be linked up wirelessly to the speaker and be able to stream audio to it. In all, the connection was pretty stable.

In my opinion, the JBL Pulse is perfect for house parties. It has five programmed light themes with more options available to download. According to the manufacturer, they can be played to match the music and customised to produce unique patterns of brightness and colour. It works in conjunction with the JBL app which allows users to control the audio and the brightness and colour of the light show blaring from the device. It can play upto 10 hours of music or five hours of music and light.

The JBL product has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. I would also like to mention that the Pulse does not come with a remote. You can simply control the volume from the device that you are streaming the music from.

In terms of its working, the Pulse plays incredibly loudly for its size. Its wireless connectivity is pretty good. It sounds great and can

actually fill a medium-size room with high quality audio. Base response is much stronger that you would expect from such a speaker. It is suitably loud, has great clarity and bass. What is also impressive is that the sound doesnt distort at higher volumes. There is no rattling or shaking of the speaker whatsoever.

My takeaways: There are dozens of Bluetooth speakers out there, but the Pulse has the capability to change the way you enjoy your favourite soundtrack. It is an impressive, well-built product that performs pretty well, has a good feature set and is priced moderately at R15k. Above all, it takes us back to the disco era of 80s.

SPECIFICATIONS

* Type: Portable wireless

stereo speaker

* Power supply: DV 5V2.3A

* Battery type: Polymer Li-ion 3.7V 4000mAh, 14.8Wh

* Frequency response: 100 Hz 20 kHz

* Singal-to-noise ratio: 86dB

* Power output: 2 x 6W

*Transmitter power: 0 ~ 4dBm

* LED lights: 64 LEDs with 5 pre-programmed light patterns

Estimated street price Rs 14,990