Get Them Here
Where the majority of JBL’s newer speakers have subtle differences underneath the hood like the JBL Flip 4 to the JBL Flip 5… The JBL Pulse 4 is completely different from the JBL Pulse 3 in almost every way. The JBL Pulse 4 looks completely different and has a completely different speakers set up compared to the JBL Pulse 3. Over all yes the JBL Pulse 4 does out perform the Pulse 3, but I don’t think you have to run out and upgrade if you already have the Pulse 3.
Just like before, the Pulse 4 retails for $200… the same as the Pulse 3 when it first came out. Which means the Pulse 3 is going to be going on sale now. And for comparison the Pulse 4 is $50 more than the JBL Charge 4. If you want to pick any of these speakers up they’ll be linked down below.
Now first off lets talk about the Pulse 4’s new design cause in all honesty this thing looks amazing when its both off and turned on. The Pulse 4 is slightly bigger than the JBL Pulse 2 but its smaller than the Pulse 3. But the first thing that took me by surprise when I first unboxed this speaker is just how dense it is. The Pulse 4 weighs in at a hefty 2.7 pounds compared to the Pulse 3 which weighs in at 2.1 pounds and that’s partly because the Pulse 4 has a slightly bigger battery than the Pulse 3. But more importantly like the pulse 3, the pulse 4 has a mostly acrylic body but obviously there’s no fabric mesh on the bottom like the pulse 3 this time around. So the Pulse 4’s new design just gives off the illusion of having this light feature suspended in mid air that’s visible in every direction. Now obviously the light features on the Pulse 3 and Pulse 4 are their biggest selling points… and the Pulse 4 has a few different lighting modes to choose from. You can either cycle through them directly from the speaker or you can use JBL’s app and even customize it a little bit. But what I did notice is that the Pulse 4 doesn’t have as many light modes as the Pulse 3. But I’m willing to bet JBL will be adding more lighting modes through software updates and if not, they should.
But regardless, I do want to point out a few draw backs of the lights features on both of these speakers. Even though the Pulse 4 looks amazing at night or in your bedroom… when used in direct sunlight the light features on both of these speakers is basically pointless. And also the light features on both of these speakers is a drain on their battery lives. JBL claims the Pulse 4 has an advertised battery life of 12 hours but real world use with the volume set at 80% and with the light feature set to medium high I’m getting more like 6 hours of battery life. So like the Pulse 3, the Pulse 4 is going to live mostly on the charger. But this time around the Pulse 4 charges via a USB C port which means if you’re an android user you can charge your phone and speaker with the same cable. But it is important to point out that this USB C port can only be used to charge the speaker. You can’t us it as a wired connection and you can’t use it to charge your own devices.
But now I do want to touch on durability on the Pulse 4. Now JBL claims that this speaker is IPX7 rated meaning that it should have no problem getting wet or submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes. But after submerging my Pulse 4 in water for a few seconds its suffered from water damage. This speaker will now randomly shut off, the buttons won’t work accurately, it constantly resets it self and you can see there’s some water trapped inside.
Now seeing my Pulse 4 suffer from water damage did come to as a surprise to me cause I’ve never had any issues with my other JBL speakers when they get wet. But on the bright side, this did give me the opportunity to see how JBL’s costumer support will handle this situation.
And in short JBL’s costumer support handled it very well. It was very easy to get a hold of an actual human and when I told them hey your water proof speaker has suffered from water damage they said we can either refund you the money or get you a replacement. So obviously I’m getting this speaker replaced. Now to JBL I was just a regular customer trying to get a broken speaker replaced because I used a separate email from my business email. So I like to think they’re not just giving me special treatment.
But over all what I’m getting at here is this speaker is better suited to be used mostly at home or in your dorm room. I don’t recommend you take it on the go with you cause its acrylic top does get scratched very easily, and from my experience even though JBL says this speaker is water proof I don’t recommend that you get it wet, but if it does suffer from water damage its very easy to get a hold of JBL and get a replacement.
But with all of that out of the way lets get into speaker set ups cause just its very different from the Pulse 3 and pulse 2. The JBL Pulse 2 is a normal front ward firing speaker that shoots music out the front through is dual 45 millimeter transducers and dual passive radiators that shoot out the top and bottom of this speaker. The Pulse 3 is a 360 degree speaker that has 3 40 millimeter diameter transducers all housed in the fabric portion of the speaker and dual passive radiators on the top and bottom. And thanks to the Pulse 3’s triple transducer set up it legitimately evenly blankets a 360 degree area with music whether used indoors or outdoors. Where as the Pulse 4 has a single upward firing 57 millimeter diameter transducer at the top and a single passive radiator shooting out the bottom of the speaker. Technically the Pulse 4 is a 360 speaker but if you want to get the best sound out of it you’re better off using it indoors where sound can bounce off the ceiling… cause the 360 degree affect isn’t as dramatic on the Pulse 4 compared to the pulse 3 when used out doors. But over all, the Pulse 4 does sound better than the Pulse 3. So we’re going to jump into a sound test, just so that you know this sound test was performed before the Pulse 4 suffered any water damage.
So when used indoors, yeah the pulse 4 sounds better than the Pulse 3. Specifically the Pulse 4 has better clarity than the Pulse 3 and it also has noticeably more bass. Which honestly was a surprise to me cause the Pulse 4 has a single passive radiator that’s the same size as the passive radiator found on the Flip 5. But defiantly the mids and vocals are much more pronounced on the Pulse 4 than on the Pulse 3 which I personally really like. Now when it comes to max volume the Pulse 4 and Pulse 3 are pretty neck and neck but since the mids on the Pulse 4 are more pronounced the pulse 4 does give off the perception of sounding louder. Now for the curious people who maybe wondering… what happens if you were to place this speaker upside down? Will it improve its sound quality or 360 degree sound affect?
No, no it doesn’t. The Pulse 4 is obviously designed to only be used right side up. But honestly I did have the same question.
Now when it comes to controlling your music playback, one of the smaller changes that I really like on the pulse 4 is that its control buttons are now textured so they’re much easier to find this time around. Obviously you can adjust the volume and skip through your music but when it comes to bluetooth connectivity this speaker is still using bluetooth 4.2, it can be connected to 2 devices at the same time so you and a friend can both be DJ, and just like all other JBL speakers… the Pulse 4 only supports SBC.
But finally lets talk about speaker pairing protocols. Just like the Flip 5, the Pulse 4 now has Partyboost. You literally just press one button on each speaker and they’ll pair themselves together. You don’t gotta open up any other apps, it just works. And if you were to have 2 Pulse 4’s you can have them play in left and right stereo mode. But unfortunately since the Pulse 4 uses party boost you can’t pair the pulse 4 to older JBL speakers using JBL connect plus. Now JBL connect plus is currently found on the Pulse 3, charge 3, Charge 4, Flip 4, Xtreme 2, and Boombox. So for right now you can only pair the Pulse 4 to another pulse 4 or to a flip 5, but as JBL announces newer speakers they’ll obviously come with party boost. Although it does suck that party boost isn’t compatible with JBL connect plus, party boost does have better range and a stronger wireless connection between two speakers resulting in less signal drops when used in a house with multiple walls or when your speakers are far away from one another.
So over all, with all that being said… I think the JBL Pulse 4 is a great at home or dorm room speaker. Its literally going to light up your room. But I do want to drive home that the Pulse 4 is better suited as an at home or dorm room speaker cause its not all that durable, its constantly going to need charging, and if you want to get the best sound out of it you should use it indoors where its music can bounce off of your walls. Now yeah the Pulse 4 will get the job done when used outdoors, but it do it was good as the Pulse 3 and its triple transducer set up. But if you’re in between getting the Pulse 3 and the Pulse 4, I do recommend you go with the Pulse 4 cause it sounds better and it is future proof for the time being. It uses USB C charging and you have the option of pairing it with future JBL speakers that come equipped with Partyboost. But if you currently have a Pulse 3 you don’t need to rush out an upgrade.