JBL Pulse 5 – Hardware Review
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Developer: JBL
Publisher: JBL
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JBL Pulse 5 – Hardware Review

Good: Design, Sound quality, Deep bass
Bad: Premium price, Fingerprints easily visible
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

While we wouldn’t call ourselves experts just yet, we have tried out a load of different wireless earbuds over the last two years. We have tried out several models in different price categories that varied heavily in sound quality, comfort, and battery life. There is also a variety of things to take into account when purchasing wireless earbuds, and this is also true if you’re looking for a proper portable speaker. We were lucky enough to try out JBL’s Pulse 5, a premium-priced wireless speaker that is sure to light up every party. That being said, flashy lights are not everything and we were also curious about the actual sound quality of the Pulse 5.


Let’s start off by saying that the Pulse 5 is an extremely good-looking portable speaker that has a very unique look. The tubular shape of the speaker might not be extremely original, but its translucent shell and the different lighting settings are. You’ll be treated to a speaker that will provide you with a great audio experience but also a fun visual experience. Except for the top and bottom of the device, the Pulse 5 can light up completely. The device has different LED settings that work well for different scenarios, be it active and flashy lights for a party or more calming lights for a meditation session. Other than that, the device has a few buttons on its backside and the JBL logo is visible on the front of the device, albeit in a fairly subtle way. The device also has a small strap, which allows you to easily carry the device.


In terms of comfort, this speaker is pretty much similar to other devices. You have a few buttons with which you can control certain aspects of the device, and that’s basically it when it comes to its base features. We did enjoy the addition of the aforementioned strap, as well as the soft rubberized legs under the device. These small rubber padded legs ensure that the device has a solid grip on the surface you place it on, and it will also not damage the device or make scratches on the surface of your choice.

One thing that was a bit annoying perhaps was the fact that fingerprints and other smudges are clearly visible on the device. They are also rather hard to wipe off, which makes the upkeep of the device a bit more tedious.


The Pulse 5 is a very easy device to set up, as you simply need to pair the device with your smartphone and you’re good to go. The speaker can be used as is, but you can also download the JBL Portable app to tweak certain settings further. The app is mainly used to alter equalizer settings, change light patterns, and so on. You can decide if you wish to have a specific light pattern for any type of situation, and you have several standard profiles to choose from. There is even a small feature that allows you to create some background noise for a relaxing setting, such as hearing the crackling of a fireplace or the waves of the ocean. Even though it’s not necessary, we do recommend downloading the app to tailor the device to what you like the most.

Cool aesthetics aside, sound quality is also a very important factor when buying a speaker such as this. The Pulse 5 has crystal clear audio, and we were surprised with the punch it packed. You can easily blast tunes through the speaker to entertain a small party, or simply for other media purposes. Most of these speakers sound a bit flat when it comes to the overall quality of the bass, and the Pulse 5 scores quite well here too. Even when watching certain shows on a handheld device of choice, we were very impressed with what the speaker could do. JBL promises around 10 hours of playback time, and when we weren’t messing around with too many settings, this was for the most part accurate. When we started tweaking the LED settings, the battery life was reduced quite a bit.

The speaker is also able to link with other JBL speakers with the ‘party mode’, but we were unable to try out this feature due to the lack of another compatible speaker.


JBL’s Pulse 5 is a very fun device to work with. Not only will you easily become the light of the party, but the sound quality of the device is also impressive. We were surprised by the deep bass that came out of this fairly small speaker, and the overall build quality was also commendable. We did notice the device got dirty quite quickly and that it wasn’t that easy to wipe off all fingerprints. That being said, this is an overall small gripe when looking at the overall picture. This is certainly a great device to look into if you like having special features on top of a great audio experience. For casual users, however, this one’s price tag might be slightly too high.

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JBL Pulse 5 - Hardware Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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