JBL Pulse 3 Review

JBL Pulse 3 Review

The JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth speaker is available in either white or black. And like its predecessor, the Pulse 2, the Pulse 3 is no ordinary active speaker for wireless music streaming from a smartphone or tablet. Rather, you can use the JBL Connect app to control the numerous lighting effects. By the way, despite all the light games, the Pulse 3 is robust and waterproof (IPX7 certified). We like that very much.

Let’s turn to the control options via the app. Different light shows differ in how they are displayed, equalizer, rave, rainbow, fire, and personalized. With “personalized,” you can select up to 3 patterns from an overview and then create your light show.

There are two ways to choose a color for the Pulse 3 light show with each predefined light rhythm. Either via the smartphone’s camera, here you have the option, for example, of choosing the color from the wall in the living room or the red sofa cushion in the camera’s viewfinder and then letting them play of colors run through the pulse. Or you can choose the desired color from a color wheel displayed on the smartphone screen. Both work very well in practice, and we find these features quite fun.

If you use the party mode in the Connect app, you can connect other JBL Connect+ compatible Bluetooth speakers to the Pulse 3; for example, a connection to the JBL Flip 4 is possible. You can also form two identical JBL Bluetooth speakers into a stereo pair.


  • Great optics
  • Versatile
  • High-quality and room-filling sound


  • High price


A button right on the Pulse 3 looks like a play symbol. If you press this on the speaker, you can access Apple’s Siri directly. So, for example, if you ask how the weather will be today, the voice output of the Siri research is carried out via the Pulse 3 Bluetooth speaker.

There is criticism that you have to press the button for quite a long time – which wouldn’t be a problem on its own, but together with the fairly hard pressure point, the handling isn’t 100 percent convincing.

Firmware updates are also imported via the app; the Pulse 3 must be connected to the power supply. No problem, because not only cable but also charger is included.

The JBL Pulse 3 has Bluetooth profile 4.2 and supports A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6, HFP V1.6, and HSP V1.2. Three drivers, each measuring 40 mm, are integrated into the can-shaped case structure. The output power is 20 watts.

Frequencies between 65 Hz and 20 kHz can be displayed. Depending on the volume, the built-in battery lasts up to 12 hours. That’s fine, but not a sensation. Decisively too long; 4.5 hours, at 5V/2.3 A, the battery charges.

The 3.7 V/6,000 mAh power source is also quite large – the light show and the relatively lavish 20 watts of power pay tribute here. The very high-quality processed Pulse 3 weighs 960 grams, the design of which has been changed quite significantly compared to its predecessor.


And what about the sound? Typical JBL – powerful and dynamic, or does the Pulse 3 disappoint? We first hear “Infinity” in the new 2017 packaging by Alex Christensen & The Berlin Orchestra. Hard beats combined with classical instruments and electronic effects are very interesting. And the Pulse 3 lets it rip; the bass sounds with good spatiality and respectable emphasis.

A small gap in the sound in the lower midrange prevents even more points from going to the JBL account. The treble range is well-tuned, not sharp or aggressive, but not annoyingly dull. A very good and practical compromise is offered here. You notice the 20 watts of power directly because the achievable levels are astonishingly high.

Dynamic and emphatic, that’s the essence of the Pulse 3, as evidenced by Holmes & Watson’s 2017 “Sonic Empire” mix. Here the Pulse 3 gets going without hesitation and creates a spatially dense, clear reproduction of even complex alternating effect sequences.

In addition, the impulse fidelity has been optimized compared to the predecessor, and the construction of differentiated structures is more comprehensive. And because it’s so much fun, it continues straight away, “The Journey” by Aevion in the edit by Oliver Heldens further clarifies that the Pulse 3 is suitable for the small party in the evening at the quarry pond. Or should one say dives because, thanks to an IPX7 certificate, the speaker survives a quick trip to the lake unscathed?

JBL loudspeakers have always been experts for club music, house, trance & techno, which has “Believer” (Imagine Dragons) doesn’t lack vigor either. Sure, a lot is missing below because this track brings along an unusually deep, rich bass. And a still quite compact Bluetooth active loudspeaker cannot completely implement that. But, otherwise, things are moving forward again, and the Pulse 3 successfully detaches the sound from the housing.

“Fill Me In,” a really good house track by Loud Luxury & Ryan Shepard, is, as we expected, on the Pulse 3. It builds up the rhythm cleanly, and despite the heavy deflection due to the massive bass, the membrane beats of the driver do not show up, even at high levels. This is how Pulse 3 creates an intense listening environment. One finds oneself glancing around furtively to see if that compact BT speaker is responsible for the full reproduction.

It’s completely different now: “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon from the 007 films; “The Spy Who Loved Me” unleashes other talents of the Pulse 3. It also copes well with slower and less “driving” songs and is convincing through a charismatic vocal presentation, which surprised us. Not an isolated case because Pulse 3 also performs flawlessly in Shirley Bassey’s “Moonraker” (also James Bond title song).

The speaker works out small dynamic differences reliably and believably. And, for the third 007 title track, we choose “A View to A Kill.” Confident, clear, multi-faceted, the JBL leaves nothing desired and stands out as extremely strong when playing back different source material.

You have to live with the small weakness in the lower midrange, which we described at the top of the sound rating; otherwise, the Pulse 3 convinces acoustically without a doubt and turns out to be a powerful little music system.

On the hands-free system, this is good but not above average. Voices are perceived as somewhat monotonous on both sides of the connection, and the volume may be slightly louder for the person on the other end of the line.

Competitive comparison

The nasty competition lurks in-house in the form of the Charge 3 have to be shelled out for the powerful and uncompromising Bluetooth speaker. If you want a real designer piece with a play of light, buy the Pulse 3; if you are looking for a Bluetooth speaker with a strong sound in a robust, stylish design, you can go for the Charge 3.

The noble wireless from England The KEF MUO impressively shows how high-quality and chic a compact streaming speaker can be. It doesn’t have as much bass punch as the Pulse 3, but better detail. The material and processing quality are almost unrivaled. Only Canton and Dali can compete here – and the Harman Kardon Esquire.

As already mentioned, the Harman Kardon Esquire 2 is exactly the opposite of the Pulse 3. Restrained elegance instead of attention-grabbing plays of light, enormous naturalness, especially in voice reproduction, and a rather slim bass – the sophisticated spirit among the BT speakers impresses with a very good hands-free system and a fair sound Price.

The Advance Acoustic AIR25 is a powerful Bluetooth speaker with no real weaknesses. It has a generously dimensioned amplifier power and a classic design without frills. It offers fewer exciting features than the Pulse 3 but is even more stable and surprisingly sophisticated.

Conclusion on the JBL Pulse 3

The JBL Pulse 3 convinces the innovative light effect concept, which can be used conveniently and accurately via the app. The Pulse 3 also has a strong sound stable level, is spatially dense, and is true to impulse; hardly a wish remains unfulfilled.

The devil is in the detail. The buttons, for example, for Bluetooth pairing and activating Siri, are stiff. The hands-free system is average and cannot set any accents.

Nevertheless, the processing is very successful; the Pulse 3 is also waterproof and visually attractive. In addition, the performance of the built-in digital power amplifier is lavishly measured.

JBL Pulse 3 Review
JBL Pulse 3 Review


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