Full disclosure I am a JBL fan boy. I have always loved JBL gear, I use them for my professional sound system. This is why when given the chance to check out JBL’s Charge 2 blue tooth speaker I jumped at it. Truth be told I already own a top of the line Bluetooth speaker. What I was hoping to (and did) hear is the JBL difference.
The design of the Charger 2 is pretty slick. It is about the size of a pounder, for you non-Bostonians that is a 16 oz. can of beer. There are speakers on either end of the unit giving this little powerhouse nice stereo separation. Most of the Charge 2 is wrapped in high quality rubber. Not only does this protect the unit but helps prevent the unit from rattling when you crank it up on a hard surface. One downside of my current bluetooth speaker. Score one point for the design team at JBL.
The top of the unit has backlit laser cut controls indicating power status, blue tooth status, and share and telephone mode. The back of the unit houses the power jack, aux in and usb out. The usb out is the “charge’ component of the Charge 2. As you are enjoying your music you can also charge any usb device on the unity including your cellphone or tablet.
Using the Charge 2 is effortless. My android phone and my iPad easily paired with the device. Despite being a self-described JBL fan boy I threw everything possible at the Charge 2. I hit the unit with a variety of rock, country, low tuned djjent metal and even classical. No matter the style of the music the unit delivered a wide spectrum of sound. The Charge 2 produced punchy lows, bass drums were clear and undistorted while the actual bass guitars sounded clear enough to be in the room with me. Pulling my attention to the cymbals and other high frequency elements I found they still retained that warm sizzle despite the thundering bass.
To further test the bass I pumped a bit of jazz great Ron Carter through the Charge 2. As expected it sounded beautiful, not just Ron’s bass, the piano and flute had such a realistic vibe. I am having a bit of trouble writing this review because I keep getting lost in the music. Switching gears I gave the Netflix app a run. The audio and video synched up perfectly.
Giving the JBL Charge its final test I fired up my MOOG synthesizer app on my iPad. MOOG are known for their teeth rattling low frequency sounds. The Charge 2 sounded every bit as good as my expensive keyboard amps with the MOOG synthesizer app. This little unit never failed to impress.
The Charge 2 also features a hands-free conference speakerphone complete with patented noise and echo cancellation technology that brings greater resonance and clarity to the sound of your calls. Finally, the Charge 2 has a Bluetooth Social Mode that lets up to three different users take their respective turns playing their own Bluetooth-enabled devices on the same speaker.
The Charge 2 has a street price of $149.95, that is $50 less than my current bluetooth speaker the Charge 2 blew away. You can read more about the Charge 2 on JBL.com and also check out their other mind blowing consumer audio products.