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When ever I do a versus video I always take price into consideration… but not today. Today we’re going to compare the three most popular 360 degree speakers right now. We have one of my most favorite products, the JBL Pulse 3… the elegant Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus… and the somewhat improved UE Megablast. These 3 speakers don’t just look very different, they also have very different approaches to how they produce their 360 degree sound.
The JBL Pulse 3 is the cheapest speaker here and retails for $200… but its usually on sale for about $170 these days. The UE Megablast retails for $250 but you can usually get the Black version for about $190. And finally theres the Bose Soundlink Revolve Plus which is the most expensive speaker here retailing for $299 and almost never goes on sale. If you want to pick either of these speakers up I’ll have links in the description below… and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. And also checkout the new merch shelf down below.
Even though all three of these speakers are portable speakers, one is tougher than the others. The Bose Revolve Plus is the most fragile speaker here due to its easy to scratch aluminum body and it only has an IPX4 certification, but it is the most refined looking speaker here. The JBL Pulse 3 carries an IPX7 certification which means its water proof for the most part… but due to its acrylic top you also run the risk of scratching or cracking it if you travel on a regular basis with this speaker. If you need a tough speaker then the Megablast is your guy, it has an IP67 certification so its both dust and water proof, and thanks to its fabric and rubber body this speaker can definitely take a beating.
When it comes to ports, both the Revolve Plus and Pulse 3 have easy to reach micro USB ports and Audio jacks for wired listening. The Megablast also charges via a micro USB port but it doesn’t have an Audio Jack. Not having an Audio jack on the megablast doesn’t bother me these days but what does is just how hard it is to reach its micro USB port. Since this port is so indented it limits the amount of USB cables you can use to charge this speaker. The point of having a universal standard like a micro USB port is so that you can mix and match cables and if you need a replacement you can easily buy one. But with the Megablast you can really only just charge this speaker with its included cable, so if you lose or damage this cable it could be a headache in the future. I just feel this is a sneaky way of UE trying to get you to buy their $40 power up charging cradle. And I also hate the fact that you have to stand the meagbalst upside down when you’re going to charge it. I just feel that its sloppy design.
But UE also decided to omit physical control buttons in favor of Amazon’s A-L-E-X-A voice control on the Megablast which also bothers me. You can use the Megablast as a sup’d up Echo and it works pretty well
But you can only use voice commands to play or pause your music or to skip a track if the megablast is connected to wifi and if you’re streaming music from Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, and a few other streaming services. But if you plan on streaming music over bluetooth either cause you’re using Apple Music, or Google Play Music like I do than the only way you can control your music playback is from your phone. The only physical buttons the Megablast has are the comically large plus and minus buttons on its front for volume controls, a power button that blinks when Alexa is talking, and bluetooth button up top. The Revolve Plus and Pulse 3 don’t have smart speaker capabilities like the Megablast, but they both have a full set of control buttons. And I feel this is important to have on all speakers cause sometimes its just easier to push a button than use to voice commands, or if you’re with friends someone can stop or skip a track without having to tell you to use your phone.
Now lets talk about speaker sets ups cause like I said earlier, they are all very different. The JBL Pulse 3 has 3 40 millimeter transducers all located underneath the fabric portion of the speaker. And there are dual passive radiators on the top and on the bottom of the speaker. The Bose soundlink Revolve Plus has a single downward firing transducer that gets evenly spread out by an acrostic deflector. And in the neck portion of the speaker there are dual passive radiators as well. And finally the UE Megablast has the most hardware out of all of these speakers. The Megablast has dual 55 millimeter transducers and dual passive radiators which are pretty common for a speaker of this size… but the Megablast also has dual 25 millimeter tweeters which do help out in the highs. Before we get into the sound test just know the Megablast is set to its standard EQ settings.
If I had to line these speakers up from best to worst regarding sound quality it would go Megablast, Revolve Plus, and Pulse 3 in last. The JBL Pulse 3 has a natural sound signature and has a good amount of bass, but it doesn’t sound as clear or as full as the other two speakers, And it also gets the least loudest here at max volume. The Bose Revolve Plus has a sound signature that puts and emphasis on vocalists and there is also a lot of treble. Although it has a good amount of bass the Revolve plus does suffer a little when it comes to instrument separation. And at higher volumes there is a considerable amount of distortion. And then theres the Megablast… when I first reviewed it a few months ago my biggest problem with the megablast was that it has was too much bass and no mids. But now UE has changed that… and I actually really like how the megablast sounds now. Instrument separation is really good and when this speaker is set to max volume distortion isn’t a problem.
And through UE’s app you can now adjust the Megablast’s EQ settings. You can either use one of their pre made ones or you can make your own, so you can make this speaker sound how ever you’d like. Through the UE app you can also see other things like your battery status, or network status, and more importantly you can you can mute the speaker Mics. Bose’s App is also pretty useful, my favorite thing about it is that you can remotely turn on your Bose speaker, thats something these other speakers cant do. And you can also pair up another Bose speaker straight from the app as well. But if you get the Pulse 3 chances are you’re going to be using this app the most. From the JBL connect app you can adjust the brightness of the light feature, you can select from a few different lighting modes, and you can also adjust the color to your liking. Even the Pulse 3 isn’t the best sounding speaker here, its definitely the coolest looking speaker here that easily livens up a room when you’re playing music with it.
But due to the Pulse 3’s light feature its battery life is always changing. Even though JBL advertises a 12 hours battery life on the pulse 3 depending on the brightness of the light feature and which mode you're in you can get anything from 3 hours of playback time or sometimes even more than the advertised 12 hours of playback time.
Battery lives on the Revolve Plus and megablast are a little more consistent. With the volume set at 80% both the Revolve Plus and megablast should last you about 9 hour of playback time
Now even though the Megablast is the most durable speaker here, sounds very good, and has a pretty good battery life… just know that you cant pair it up to another other UE speakers. Which is another major feature this speaker is missing. Where as with the Revolve Plus you can pair it up to one other Bose speaker. And then theres the pulse 3 which is rocking JBL connect plus, not only can you pair up to 100 JBL speakers together… its by far the easiest and best way to pair multiple speakers together. You just press one button on each speaker and they will figure the rest out by themselves.
So, which is the best 360 degree speaker here? Objectively I have to give it to the UE Megablast. Its extremely durable, its has a really good battery life, it gets the loudest, and it sounds the best here at a very reasonable price if you can get it on sale. But there are so many quirks with the megablast that you need to know what you’re getting yourself into before you get this speaker. Like I mentioned earlier I hate that this speaker doesn’t have a full set of physical control buttons. Alexa is cool, but not the most convenient. I hate how the micro USB port is so hard too reach for no reason, and not being able to pair this speaker up to another speaker sucks if you’ve already invested into the UE eco-system.ppelfan