JBL Pulse Hardware Review

JBL Pulse Hardware Review

Jan 31, 2014

We had an opportunity to check out sound maven JBL’s Charge Wireless Speakers, and it was a pleasant experience. As such, we were happy to check out its sibling, the JBL Pulse Wireless Speakers.

Like your run-of-the-mill brothers, the Charge and the Pulse bear plenty of familial similarities. They are both cylindrical, but the latter has more deliberately tapered ends. The black exterior underscored the solid feel, with mesh-like surface (a departure from the fused finishing of the Charge) mostly preventing the accessory from looking cheap. On one end are buttons: pairing, power and light control. The other is bare and serves as the base when upright. Along the body are ports for coaxial and micro-usb cables. For comparative purposes, the Pulse is just a shade taller than the Charge, coming in at 7 inches tall and less than a pound and a half in weight.

Powering it up is as simple as connecting the included adapter/cable combo to an electric source; powering it on, I daresay, is almost the coolest part. The specs sheet boldly pronounces LED lights, but the actual display is pretty surprising. It boasts scores ofpulse2 LED lights that run around and along the base. When the device is on, those lights all come on in a dizzying explosion of color that is as once a bit gimmicky and inexplicably commanding at the same time. The light patterns can be toggled or turned off by the button at the top, and most sequences react to volume. It’s an interesting feature, and one that I actually enjoyed more than I would have envisaged. Additionally, the JBL MusicFlow app allows the lights to be controlled as well as providing an easy way to adjust sound performance from Android devices.

As soon as bluetooth pairing was attempted it connected seamlessly in seconds, and it’s also NFC-enabled.

The sound doesn’t have the high level of bass some people dearly crave; compared to the Charge, it gentler in that aspect, but it still holds it own sound quality-wise. It does provide great volume, and in our informal testing, it actually beat the advertised 5-hr usage time. It worked just as well as a wired speaker.

I did miss the portable USB charging feature from the Charge; I also think the app could be a bit more intuitive. All in all though, it falls just within what I would term acceptable limits of reasonable portability, and the overall value is hard to ignore.

The Pulse is available from Amazon for $199.

Free App Recap February 26 – News Apps

Free App Recap February 26 – News Apps

Feb 26, 2013

While most of the news out there is pretty depressing, there is still a lot of different news sources out there offering more than the latest celebrity getting arrested and pages and pages of depressing news. The hard part with any news is corralling it into an easy to read place. For Google Reader users, I don’t need to mention how great it is to have all of the the newest news in the subscribed feed right there. While this is great, getting some new information from other sources helps to get varied opinions. Here’s some new apps to try that offer ways to get more articles to read.


Flipboard is one great looking news reader. The news from the reader’s Twitter, Facebook and other social feeds helps to bring in relevant news. The news is divided into different categories like Technology, News, Photography and more. Click on the category and see news from Facebook, Twitter and other sources like BBC and Huffington Post. Swipe through the different stories and see if there is anything interesting.

Download Flipboard

Pulse News

Pulse News is a cool way to get news. It connects to Google Reader so there is access to all the subscribed blog feeds. Along with the Google Reader integration, there are other news sources like magazines and news from newspapers. Since not everyone has a lage data plan or access all of the time, there is offline sync mode letting the articles be read while there is not internet connection.

Download Pulse News


When all of the news starts to sound the same, sometimes it’s good to stop looking at the big news sources and head back to the feeds in Google Reader. Feedly is a great app for making the articles in Google Reader a lot easier to read. The layout is made for either a 4″ phone and 7″ or 10″ tablets. This makes for a great user experience on any device. The clean ans simpleness of the design makes reading the feeds on Google Reader a joy.

Download Feedly