JBL Pulse 5 Bluetooth Speaker Review – Psychedelic Light Show

JBL Pulse 5 Bluetooth Speaker Review

It’s not every day I get to review a Bluetooth speaker. In fact, this might be my first, but you have to start somewhere, right? Granted I have reviewed a ton of tech for COG over the years. I’d like to think I know good audio when I hear it. So when JBL sent me this slick-looking Pulse 5 Bluetooth speaker, I was not only excited to take on a new challenge but I was curious how good this liquid light show of a speaker would sound.

Out of the box, this speaker is a stunner. It has a sleek modern cylindrical design highlighted by its 360-degree LED display that wraps around the entire speaker. It transforms the speaker into a living canvas splashing with vibrant colors. It’s a sight to behold and certainly one of the coolest portable speakers I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The colors seem to dance and intertwine with each beat. It’s truly the star of the show because let’s face it, a lot of Bluetooth speakers sound great but how many of them offer up this kind of visually immersive experience? Not many.

It isn’t just a good-looking speaker. The Pulse 5 delivers in the audio department. Overall, I found the sound quality to be top-notch, and did everything I hoped it would. Granted, I was initially underwhelmed. I found I had to crank up the base on the JBL Audio app’s EQ settings, as the default settings didn’t boom enough for me. Yet once I adjusted that bass, I was cooking with cheese. This speaker breathes life into some of your favorite tunes. The audio does come through crystal clear and sounds perfectly balanced.

Electric Hideaway

The 360-degree tube design also ensures everyone in your space will be able to enjoy the audio. Music filled the room, spreading evenly throughout the living space. Whether you are having a get-together with several friends or just chilling with your partner, the Pulse 5 has you covered by delivering rock-solid audio to everyone in the room.

What is really cool about this speaker is its ability to connect with other JBL speakers. So if you wanted to really kick up your audio game, go ahead and connect the Pulse 5 to another JBL speaker and really blow the pants off of everyone.

It’s also pretty versatile too. It is advertised as water resistant, so you should feel safe bringing it to the beach or by the pool. Granted, I never dropped this into water or brought it with me in the shower, so I’ll just have to take JBLs word for it that this thing is indeed waterproof. It is clear; however, that the Pulse 5 is well-built and durable, so if it does fall out of the back of your golf cart, it should be able to withstand the impact.

Easy Peasy

Connecting to the Pulse 5 is a breeze and the controls are super simple. Even the JBL Audio app is user-friendly and easy to navigate. With buttons located on the side of the speaker, you can power it on or off, pair and tinker with the lights. You can also connect with other JBL speakers with a touch of a button. Noticeably absent is a volume button. You can control the volume with either your phone or the app, which is a little annoying. A volume and mute buttons would have been ideal.

The battery life is decent. You get around 12 hours per charge which isn’t too shabby. Certainly not the best for a Bluetooth speaker but not the worst. For the cost (around $300 cnd), I did expect better battery power.

There is no question that the JBL Pulse 5 is a unique powerhouse of a portable speaker. It takes your Bluetooth audio experience to a new level and will surely dazzle your friends with its fancy light show. For the price, you can find better-sounding portable speakers. Yet when you factor in its durability, harmonious light show, its ease of use, and terrific sound, the Pulse 5 is worth a good hard look for anyone in the market for a new portable speaker.

***The Pulse 5 was provided to COG for the purpose of this review***


The Good

  • Slick light show
  • Water-resistant
  • Balanced and clear audio
  • Durable
  • Party boost

The Bad

  • A little too pricey
  • No volume button on the speaker
  • It’s big