First Impressions of the JBL Charge 2+
JBL’s Charge 2+ has a modern and appealing design, just like its predecessor, the Charge 2. In fact, they look almost identical. Then again, why mess with something that is already great?
As with the Charge 2, the 2+ model has a metal grille across its front. It is playful in a bold orange color and has a rugged design. It can be stood on its side vertically or rest flat instead. The durable casing is made of rubber and plastic, without any sharp corners – unlike the Harman Kardon SoundSticks – that might be troublesome when carrying it around in a bag.
We like that the volume button lights up, so you’re not fumbling to find it in the dark. This button and the Bluetooth pairing button sit at the top of the unit.
JBL Bluetooth Speaker Review: A Look at the Features
To help determine whether this wireless unit is the best Bluetooth speaker or not, let’s look at its features. The orange Charge 2+ has an integrated microphone so you can pick up calls hands-free on it and you can add three smartphones or other mobile devices to it via Bluetooth.
The best features of JBL’s Charge 2+ are:
- Great Sound Performance
- Splash Resistance
- External Battery Functionality
The JBL portable speaker has both wireless and wired options and the replaceable battery charges via its USB port. The battery provides 12 hours of listening enjoyment before requiring a charge.
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Highlighting the Good and the Bad
Many benefits justify the Charge 2+ Bluetooth speaker as one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market. For example, the device pairs quickly to your smartphone or another Bluetooth-enabled device, so you won’t have to wait long for the tunes to start playing.
That leads us to the sound performance, which is excellent. The crisp, clear sound that came from such a small speaker surprised us when we played songs of various genres for this JBL Bluetooth speaker review. The highs and lows were not distorted, even when we cranked up the volume. Bass performance was top-notch too. We feel that the price tag is not unreasonable for the great sound you get with the JBL speaker.
Also advantageous is the splash resistant feature. If the portable wireless speaker is by the pool, it can withstand splashes of water. That said, it is not IPX7 Certified or waterproof like the UE Megaboom. Thus, the Charge 2+ cannot be submerged and be expected to survive.
Along with wishing it were waterproof, we also would like if the battery life were longer than 12 hours. The battery doesn’t last as long as some of the other best Bluetooth speakers that offer upwards of 20 hours of playtime.
On a more positive note, the built-in microphone enables the wireless Bluetooth speaker to double as a speakerphone. Answering calls while in the midst of a playlist is a cool function that doesn’t come with every Bluetooth speaker. Moreover, being able to tote the JBL speaker around to play music wirelessly, with a wired option available too, shows the speaker’s high versatility.
Who Will Love the Charge 2+?
As we did testing for this JBL Bluetooth speaker review, we asked ourselves who would be the ideal user. Given the rugged, portable design, the unit is likely to be a favorite with active people who want to be able to throw it in the backseat to use at the campground or stuff it into a backpack.
For the social person in the group, being able to connect multiple devices to the speaker is handy. It is great for a party, for example, when different people want to control the music via their smartphone playlists. The Charge 2+ portable Bluetooth speaker is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
This JBL wireless device will also satisfy most listeners with its fantastic sound performance that, in our opinion, is better than the Charge 2 and rivals the Charge 3 Speaker. As for the bright orange casing, it is sure to be a hit with anyone who wants to turn heads rather than be lost in the crowd.
What Makes the JBL Charge 2+ Different?
The Charge 2+ provides better sound than many of the best Bluetooth speakers in the same price range. Even when the sound is up at the 90 decibels level, there isn’t the distortion you get when some other models perform that high (if they can even reach that height).
Also, as the name suggests, the Charge 2+ can double as an external battery or charge up smartphones and tablets. The 6,000-mAh battery is powerful. Just be mindful that charging devices will reduce the battery’s 12-hour playtime.
JBL Bluetooth Speaker Review: Final Thoughts
While the orange JBL Charge 2+ is splash-resistant rather than waterproof and could use a longer battery life, the device has many redeeming qualities. For example, it is easily portable and can function as both an external battery and a speakerphone.
The sound quality is excellent too, especially given the Bluetooth speaker’s small size and mid-range pricing. It has a rich bass, and the sound doesn’t distort at the 90-decibal level. The vibrant Bluetooth speaker is wireless and durable in design so it can travel with you easily. With so much in favor of the Charge 2+, we consider it one of the best Bluetooth speakers in its price range.