JBL - JBL Pulse 4


JBL Pulse 4: a Bluetooth speaker that puts a lot on the visual aspect

Aprox. 198€

See specifications

Pulse 4 finally arrived at the editorial office. The 4th generation of portable light speakers from JBL benefits from a revised design, both aesthetically and acoustically. However, it seems that the manufacturer has made certain concessions ...

Positive points

Very successful design.

Nice reserve of power.

Very intuitive to use.

Generous autonomy in moderate use, with minimum brightness.

Bad points

Sound rendering particularly focused on mid / treble and which lacks precision.

Significant latency.

Very limited autonomy with intensive use of LEDs.

Dirty glass / some slight water infiltration possible in case of immersion.

Our review


The Pulse 4 sees its technical sheet refined: unlike the Pulse 3, the hands-free micro kit and the mini-jack input disappear, and JBL puts on a single speaker to reproduce a 360 ° sound.

The manufacturer seems to have favored the visual and software part, with a revised design to optimize the rendering of the LEDs, more light effects as well as an evolution of the app. The Pulse 4 was launched at a price of € 249 and is available in black or white.



The Pulse 4 is roughly the same size as the Pulse 3, but the surface allocated to the light effects has been optimized: all the control buttons are now concentrated on very narrow plastic parts, which means that almost all of the cylinder is now dedicated to light effects. The hardened transparent plastic through which the LEDs express their magic is unfortunately very messy, fingerprints appear very quickly during handling.

It promises outdoor use, even near water points (IPX7 certification). It is even completely possible to immerse it: the enclosure continues to operate after immersion for 30 minutes under a meter of water, even if a few drops of water slip into the transparent plastic part. This is what we saw during our test period on one of the two models in our possession: after a few immersions, the enclosure still works, but water eventually infiltrate between the glass and the lighting system, spoiling the visual experience.

The lighting effects immediately light up when the speaker is on and continue even when the music is paused. Pressing the Bluetooth pairing button starts the search, which is accompanied by a blue light and an audible signal. The modification of the listening volume, achievable via two dedicated buttons, temporarily replaces the play of light with a cylinder filling gauge, which indicates the sound level; a very practical visualization. As with almost all portable speakers from the manufacturer, it is possible to go to the next song by double-pressing the "play / pause" button, but it is still not possible to go back to the previous song.

The other two commands available on the device allow you to choose your light show from a sequence of five different modes and launch the "party boost", a feature that allows you to couple and synchronize several Pulse 4 (up to 100 if the 'we believe the manufacturer). It is also possible to synchronize the rhythm of light sequences between several devices, simply by shaking them side by side; a very nice idea in a dancing environment.

Due to the abandonment of the mini-jack input, the Pulse 4 now works exclusively in Bluetooth 4.2 with a latency measured at 233 ms, too important to watch videos without being disturbed by the difference between the image and the his. There is no longer a hands-free kit on this model, but a call transfer function that cuts the music when you pick up appears.

Using the JBL Connect app allows you to change the dominant color of each of the 5 movement sequences. We can do it the traditional way by choosing the color from a color chart, or by using the smartphone's camera to capture the color of a surrounding object.

The app is also used to vary the light intensity of the LEDs, independently for each sequence, without it being possible to turn them off, unless you also mute the sound. Five sequences are offered in all, the last one being customizable. In the latter, it is possible to select 3 types of movements (among the 9 available) which will automatically associate to compose a personalized sequence.

The range of the Pulse 4 (announced at 12 noon) varies according to the volume and light intensity settings. We noted an autonomy of 6 h at high volume and maximum brightness, and an autonomy of 24 h at low volume and minimum brightness. The charge level is indicated on the app, but also directly on the speaker, next to the USB-C connector. The Pulse 4 takes no less than 8 hours to fully charge, but you can continue to use the speaker while charging.



The Pulse 4 opts for an acoustic design very different from that of its predecessor, the Pulse 3. It is equipped with a single loudspeaker located on the upper part of the cylinder, pointing directly upwards. A single passive radiator is present at the other end of the cylinder, towards the ground. Suffice to say that the perceived sound rendering depends a lot on the environment and the positioning of the speaker.

Given its placement and design, the Pulse 4 speaker relies heavily on ceiling and wall reflections for sound diffusion. The latter is guaranteed, and the good reserve of power makes it possible to add sound to a living room, for example. Unfortunately, the reflections accentuate the presence of the midrange / treble, already naturally in front, and decrease the precision of the sound rendering. This is all the more the case when one seriously pushes on the listening volume. The result is a little more balanced and more pleasant outside, in free field (no or very few reflections).

The hegemony of the mids / highs is also due to the timidity of the bass. We therefore have a notable deficit of roundness and impact. Given the positioning of the passive radiator, it is likely to vibrate the surface on which the enclosure is placed. It is therefore important to choose the place where you put it to limit noise, while trying to return a maximum of bass to best compensate for their natural shyness. We would also have appreciated a better extension in the higher frequencies, which would have allowed us to enjoy larger and airy trebles.



The Pulse 4 pushes the concept of the luminous nomad speaker even further with a very beautiful visual rendering and numerous customization options. Unfortunately, the sound performance is behind compared to the previous model (Pulse 3): if the sound power is indeed there, the lack of bass and precision in the mids / highs is felt, especially indoors. The Pulse 4 is therefore a very pretty speaker for a cozy atmosphere at home or more festive outside.