The JBL Charge 2+ is quite possibly the best portable bluetooth speaker on the market right now. We felt the same way about the predecessor, the JBL Charge, when it came out two years ago. The JBL Charge 2+ is a Bluetooth speaker with a large battery that not only powers your tunes, but will power your phone, tablet, or any other USB device. The 6000mAh battery can be shared between music playing and device charging. Charge 2 is no one-trick-pony, though. It’s a fantastic all-around speaker with amazing sound and awesome features. At a high level, it features a 12 hour battery, a built-in microphone with speakerphone, multi-pairing social mode, standard micro-USB charging, and it’s even splashproof!
Much like the predecessor, the JBL is cylindrical with a slightly fatter body and smooth curves. It has a clean modern look and is already available in a bunch of fun bright colors, or a more toned down black or grey. The speaker is designed to either stand straight up on its side, or lay down flat. Choose whichever is more convenient and sounds better in the setting.
The front and back face of Charge 2 is all speaker grill. On the sides are passive radiators that you’ll feel pulsating when you crank up the tunes. The top is the control panel with LED indicators, and the bottom part of the back has the ports. The design is pretty intuitive. Most people will have no problem figuring out how to pair and play without any instruction. On the top control panel there’s a power button, Bluetooth button, phone button, and social mode button. The phone button is the universal button that functions as a voice command, track control, and phone call button. In the port section there’s an auxiliary input for plugging in a standard audio cable, this ensures you can play music from virtually any audio source. There’s a standard micro-USB port for charging the speaker. And lastly, there’s a full-size USB port for charging any USB device. It can charge phones, tablets, headsets, even other speakers.
The Charge 2 doesn’t looks especially splash proof with the exposed ports on the bottom. But, JBL has images of Charge 2 covered in water, and the “+” in the name means it’s the splashproof version. At the very least, it should give you the peace of mind when taking it to the pool or beach, or even getting caught in the rain for a bit. It makes you realize that every speaker (and device) should be splashproof.
The built-in battery is 6000mAh, and it’s shared between the speaker and any USB devices you’re charging. You can get 12 hours of music playing, or two to four full smartphone charges depending on your phone. In reality, you’ll be doing a little of both. On the top of the speaker is 5 status LEDs that give you a good indication of battery remaining. Because Charge uses a standard micro-USB to charge itself, it’s really convenient to bring to any event. You’ll always be able to find a charger. It can even play music while it’s charging itself AND charging a device.
Unlike the original Charge, there’s a built-in microphone so you can make and take calls on the Charge 2. It’s effectively a really good speakerphone. It even has echo and noise cancellation, plus it gets really loud. Social Mode is a neat feature, it allows three different phones to pair to Charge 2 and all three can take turns streaming music. Friends don’t want to worry about pairing and unpairing devices every time they take turns DJing. Social mode can be turned off.
It’s called the Charge for a reason, but that’s not even the best feature. The best feature is the audio quality. We felt the same thing about the original too. They sound amazing! The Charge 2+’s bass is especially impressive. This is partially because of the passive radiators on each side of the speaker (the original only had one). It’s bass you can feel, and it feels very natural. The audio is clear, crisp, balanced, and loud. Every genre sounds equally as impressive. It sounds just as nice indoors as it does outdoors. While the bass gets nice and boomy, it doesn’t overwhelm the audio. The mids stay very present and clean.
We stand by the fact that Charge 2+ is one of the best all-around portable bluetooth speakers. It’s not the smallest, nor is it the largest, it weighs just over 2 pounds and it’s large enough to crank tunes loud enough for a small outdoor party. The features make it awesome, and the sound quality seals the deal. Or does the price seal the deal? It’s only $129.95. This is very competitive price for a speaker of this quality with these features. Everything about the Charge 2+ screams “convenience”. You have a portable charger with you at all times, you can sync multiple devices at once, you can use it as a speakerphone, you can take it anywhere, and it even charges with a standard micro-USB cable. The JBL Charge2+ is currently available from Amazon.com.
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The Good: Sounds great, Colors, Splash-proof, Colors, USB charging, Speakerphone and Microphone, Easy pairing + social mode, Large battery with micro-USB charging, Nice micro-USB cable and USB adapter included
The Bad: No track controls, No case included (like original Charge)