So who wants a Bluetooth speaker by JBL that doesn’t fail to live up to its hype? Unlike the JBL Pulse, which is all looks but no amazing listen for the money, JBL’s new Charge 2+ speaker actually delivers on the “hoopla”. A new Bluetooth portable with tons of volume and a pretty decent range.
It’s actually quite similar to the previous model that released last year (the Charge 2) outside of the fact that they added water-resistance to the mix. The new speaker retains most of the same features as the last model, such as a 6000mah internal lithium battery that offers up to 12 hours of playback and the ability to charge external devices, such as your smartphone.
A great selling point of any Bluetooth speaker is its ability to handle wet situations. The JBL Charge 2+ is not waterproof but it is rated as resistant (splash-proof). Something we love to test out on products every chance we get. This round we broke out a number of things to see if it survives. Starting off we took a small spray bottle to it, covering it from every angle while streaming Beach Boys to it from a Nokia Lumia phone. To our expectations, it survived the humid attack of mist. Next, we grabbed a 1 liter bottle of water and gently splashed it from multiple sides. Finally we took about 3/4 of the bottom and dumped it all over the speaker. There are some areas where the water was able to penetrate, but it didn’t stop the speaker from functioning. At this point, it had performed beyond our expectations. We dared not traverse any deeper, as throwing it into the water directly would no longer be a fair test of its claimed water rating.
As for the internal battery, it did give us an average of 11 to 13 hours of playback time. We tested this by playing a very large playlist of music and letting it sit around for a number of days. Music with a lot of low-end seemed to tax it a bit harder, causing you to lose a little charge, but nothing terrible. There is a separate full-size USB port on the side where you can plug in your smartphone (or other external device) to keep its battery juiced while listening. Using this feature does of course reduce its playback time on that charge.
How about sound though? 15-watts of sound within the small of a tin can, it can really pack a punch when it comes to volume. It fills an office environment pretty well and has a solid amount of bass to it. From rock to hip hop, everything sounds quite impressive while not giving the idea that the range is unbalanced or carries any amount of distortion with it (unless of course you max out the volume of both the speaker and the device supplying the music to it. Volume and range is something we love to look for because nobody wants a weak speaker. For the longest time, only a handful of speakers such as the Boom series by Logitech/UE made the cut for great sound and volume. This one makes the list, which means it would work great both indoors and out.
Since it is a Bluetooth speaker and does have a microphone, that means it also functions as a speakerphone. If I could just count the amount of gadgets laying around here that could act as a speakerphone. If only you could wirelessly connect them all together so that you can walk around a building (or house) talking to someone without having to carry your phone with or have a headset wrapped around your head–there wouldn’t be a room in this building you couldn’t continue your conversation in. These can’t do that, but it at least provides you with the ability to answer a call if one comes in while your listening to your music. The microphone’s performance is average and doesn’t catch too much if you walk away from it. It does work fine if you are sitting right next to it.
In distance, you have about 30 feet or so before you start to lose connection between the speaker and your device. It’s not as good as the Boom series by Logitech/UE, but 30 feet isn’t bad since it does fall within the average. Keeping within the distance gains you a pretty solid connection to the speaker without any dropouts in sound.
On the side there is a Bluetooth button for pairing it with devices (smartphones, tablets, etc). Pairing is simple as any other Bluetooth device and it only takes seconds before you start listening in. Along with the Bluetooth button, there is also volume up and down buttons as well as a power button. All of which are located on the side next to the Bluetooth button.
The design of the speaker is pretty solid as well, offering a durable enough build for most situations you’d be willing to bring a Bluetooth speaker into. It comes in 8 different colors to choose from, all of which are solid color tones (black, grey, blue, teal, red, pink, orange and yellow).
The Charge 2+ is not a bad speaker when comparing it to other brands such as Logitech, Bose, AR and Sony. It performs well, has plenty of volume, a solid range and tight bass. Definitely a good speaker to throw in your backpack and drag around. Battery life is right where it needs to be and compliments most music genres. The final score was 8 out of 10.
- Power Output
- Bluetooth Version
- Bluetooth Support
- A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
- Power Supply
- 5VDC USB output: 5V 2.1A (maximum)
- Battery Type
- Lithium-ion Polymer (3.7V, 6000mAh)
- Battery Charge Time
- 4 hrs @ 1.8A
- Music Playing Time
- up to 12 hours (varies by volume level andaudio content)
- Bluetooth Transmitter Power
- 0-4 dBm
- Bluetooth Transmitter Frequency Range
- 2.402 – 2.480 GHz
- Bluetooth Transmitter Modulation
- GFSK, ?/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio
- Greater than 80 dB
- Frequency Response
- 75Hz – 20kHz
- 2 x 45mm
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out. f