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JBL Go 2 review: A Bluetooth speaker that fills up the room without being seen

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 17 July 2018, 17:14 IST
(Sahil Bhalla/Catch News)

One of the most popular speakers on Amazon India has just gotten itself an upgrade. The JBL Go hovers over everyone’s list of the best Bluetooth speakers under Rs 3,000. The successor, JBL Go 2 retails for approximately Rs 2,700 on Amazon India.

JBL has a large presence in the Bluetooth speaker market and the product come at a variety of prices. The JBL Go 2 is the smallest and least expensive of the bunch.

The original JBL Go speaker launched back in February of 2015, felt a little cheap. It felt like a toy. The sequel is 84 grams heftier. It also has rounded corners. Both are a win. This miniature speaker doesn’t seem flimsy. As a bonus, the JBL Go 2 is fully waterproof, as it comes with an IPX7 rating. If you want - though not recommended because of a dip in sound quality - the JBL Go 2 can be fully submerged in 3 feet of water for up to half an hour!

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The JBL Go 2 looks like a pack of mints but isn’t as lightweight as you’d expect. The end result though is that this Bluetooth speaker is very much portable and offers an above average sound quality. It’s a definite upgrade to the laptop and smartphone speakers. The JBL Go 2 sports curved corners, compared the originals sharp edges. Definitely makes it a pleasure to pick it up and move it around the room.

The speaker doesn’t attempt to stand out from the crowd. It just attempts to be a part of the crowd and perform to expectations. The speaker is front-firing and has a single 3W driver below the front grille. The specifications won’t wow anyone, but anyone searching for a budget Bluetooth speaker won’t be disappointed.

Since there is waterproofing, the ports can be found under a flap on the right side of the device. The controls - power, volume, Bluetooth pairing and play/pause - are at the top, which makes sense.

The small form factor means that the ports are limited. There is a 3.5mm jack and a micro-USB port used for charging.

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The speaker comes with a 730mAh battery that lasts about five hours on average (I tested it under a variety of songs and both inside and outside the house). The charging is slow - about two and a half hours - and the speaker supports Bluetooth 4.1.

The speaker does a good job of filling a room and will play songs with lots of clarity. When cranking up the volume past 80%, you can definitely hear the loudness. The problem then, like all other budget speakers, is a loss of clarity and some crackling noise.

Where the Go 2 struggles is the bass. Also, don’t ever play heavy metal with the JBL Go 2. It’ll just sound out of place. It’ll sound like playing an acoustic version of the heavy metal song. Which is just wrong on all levels. The Go 2 is louder than the original GO and does pack in more bass.

The speaker, and this may surprise some of you, has a built-in microphone, which performs reasonably well.

Let me just sum up the capabilities of the speaker this way. While it may perform to your expectations on a number of songs, it will benefit you when you want to break free from your laptop speakers. It’s a good companion for watching movies - the midrange is fantastic on this speaker - or listening to podcasts. There were zero audio/video syncing problems that I encountered.

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Should you buy it?

Yes, but wait just a little. As with the original Go, the Go 2 is expected to hit prices below Rs 2,000 within the next few months. At that price, it would be a fantastic steal.

The JBL Go 2 stands out in a crowded budget Bluetooth market. The speaker performs to expectations and isn’t a heavy hit on the wallet. To boot, it comes from an established brand. One that people can trust.

It’s loud but not obnoxiously. It’s small but not too much. It’s attractive; not slippery. It’ll blow away those built-in laptop/smartphone speakers.

Probably the most impressive aspect of the Go 2's performance is its ability to pump out the volume. No, it's not loud like a larger speaker with multiple drivers would be, but it'll blow away. Simply put, buy the JBL Go 2 and you’ll be assured you’re getting a quality device keeping in mind the price. It’ll fill up a room and not be in the way of anyone.

First published: 17 July 2018, 17:14 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.