JBL is a Harman Brand, which is a subsidiary of Samsung. The companies produce high-quality audio and visual electronics that are used widely in many mobile applications including car audio systems, mobile phones and portable Bluetooth speakers.
The Charge 3 and Pulse 3 are both high-powered portable Bluetooth speakers which are built to pump your tunes for hours on end. Both speakers have 3.7V lithium-ion batteries providing 22.2-watt-hours of power. The Charge will play music for about 20 hours and is able to charge other devices like a smartphone or tablet via a USB cable, though this reduces music play time. While the Pulse lacks device charging capabilities, it makes up for it with a colourful display. With both the lights and music going, the Pulse will last about 12 hours.
Two similar JBL portable Bluetooth speakers, each with their own unique features.
Both the Charge 3 and Pulse 3 are waterproof so you need not worry about spilly friends or inclement weather. The IPX7 rating means the speaker can be immersed in water up to 1m deep for up to 30 minutes, so you can even feel good about bringing your tunes to the lake or to placing it precariously on the edge of a hot tub. All the ports are hidden and sealed by a waterproof enclosure.
While both speakers are made to be last, the Charge is built to take a beating. A rubber housing and durable fabric material make the Charge a rugged companion. And while tough is great, sometimes it takes a little something different to lighten to mood (pun intended). The Pulse offers a 360º light show that is fully customizable through the JBL Connect app.
The JBL Connect system allows multiple JBL Connect enabled speakers to be wirelessly synced together and amplify the listening experience. To take it to the next level, the Pulse features Connect+ which allow more than 100 JBL Connect+ enabled speakers to be connected. When multiple Pulse 3 speakers are connected, even the light show can be synchronized simply by shaking the device.
Both the Pulse and the Charge are able to connect to multiple devices via Bluetooth so DJ’ing responsibilities can be shared amongst the friends. The Charge is able to connect to up to 3 smartphones or tablets at a time, while the Pulse can connect to 2. The Pulse also features the JBL Connect App so that you can customize light sequences and adjust other settings from a distance. The Pulse is also compatible with Siri or Google Now for completely hands-free control.
Last but not least, the sound produced by these speakers is super clean and each speaker features bass specific speakers at each end. If you need to take a phone call, both speakers offer crystal clear speakerphone settings at the touch of a button. The speakers offer noise and echo cancelling speakerphone so you can talk hands-free without worrying about the quality of the audio.
If you’re looking for a wireless Bluetooth® speaker, JBL has two great options for you. The Charge 3 and Pulse 3 offer a variety of features to suit your personal preferences. If you prefer a more bombproof design that doubles as a backup battery bank for other portable devices, then the Charge 3 is a safe choice. If you’re looking to light up the party and enjoy greater connection options, opt for the Pulse 3.
Both speakers have excellent battery life and great sound quality. The downside to this long battery life is that the speakers take a long time to charge when the battery is low or depleted. With only 1 bar of battery left, I plugged the speaker in overnight. It charged all night (over 10 hours) and wasn’t fully charged when I went to grab it that morning. While I initially found this a little concerning, it wasn’t a big deal as I could still use the speaker all day at without it starting at 100%.
I think the coolest feature offered these by speakers is the JBL Connect. The ability to connect multiple speakers means you can amp up the volume for bigger crowds and create a surround sound experience with 360º sound. With JBL Connect+ offered in the Pulse 3, more than 100 JBL Connect+ speakers can be synched up to throw a party anywhere. Another great connection feature in both speakers is the ability to connect multiple smartphones or tablets so that
I found the sound in both speakers to be of excellent quality. Another big bonus is the waterproofing; they can be fully submerged or left out in a storm and be right as rain.
The light show offered by the pulse is sort of cool, but I never found myself in a position where I wanted to use it. It has quite a few settings to suit the situation. You can switch from a bit of a lava lamp sort of theme, or something that’s attempting to look like fire, or a variety of other colour themes.
If I was to choose between the two, my preference would be the Charge 3. While the LED light show is sort of cool and could be cool in the right scenario, I would be much more likely to keep the lights off. The inability of the speaker to sit horizontally is also a bit of an inconvenience as the speaker is much more stable (less likely to fall over) lying down. The price point is also lower on the Charge 3, and the ability to charge other devices is a welcome feature.
JBL Charge 3
Price: $219.99CAN / $145.95US
Music play time: up to 20 hours
Battery charge time: 4.5 hours
Dimensions: 21.3x8.7x8.85cm / 8.4x3.4x3.5in
Weight: 800g / 28oz
JBL Pulse 3
Price: $269.99CAN / $169.95US
Music play time: up to 12 hours
Battery charge time: 4.5 hours @ 5V 2.3A
Dimensions: 22.3x9.2x9.2cm / 8.8x3.6x3.6in
Weight: 960g / 34oz
|Ease of use 2/2
Sound Quality 2/2
Form Factor 1.5/2
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.