When it comes to crafting a masterful party atmosphere, the best know that music alone just won’t cut it, and the JBL Pulse 3 is ready to take it all on, wet or dry.

Demand more from your listening experience and build more than just a party by adding an interactive light show to your music. The JBL Pulse 3 has gone above and beyond its previous incarnations by going fully waterproof and providing a more fluid and customizable LED light system. Adding to that is the JBL Connect+ app, allowing you to link up multiple speaker units for a full auditory flood. If you want to blanket your pool or beach area with quality sound, or maybe just create your own private sanctuary with a single unit, this portable outdoor Bluetooth speaker is the perfect choice to turn listening into experiencing.

The improvements made to the new Pulse 3 are far and beyond noteworthy, giving a fresh new boost to a line that, honestly, needed the improvements. Let’s dig in and see how waterproofing, quality sound, and beautiful light displays can come together to turn your night from great to unforgettable.

DESIGN & BUILD | Feast Your Senses

First off, the JBL Pulse 3 is an attractive speaker. Coming in both black and white bases, the customizable lighting display is hands down beautiful and an awesome addition to the outdoor Bluetooth speaker market. A lot of Bluetooth speakers look the same after a while, and when you’re seeking an option that stands out while still providing that rugged resilience to the elements, the Pulse 3’s light show is sure to grab your attention and the admiration of friends and family alike. It features IPX7 waterproofing (can last 30 minutes submerged in up to a meter/three feet of water), a noise- and echo-canceling microphone so it can also be used as a speakerphone for phone calls, and puts out the 360-degree sound with up to twelve hours of battery life depending on volume and use. The music quality is surprisingly high, considering its coming from a device that looks like a lava lamp, ensuring that the well-balanced highs, mids, and lows don’t suffer.

“…can last 30 minutes submerged in up to a meter/three feet of water…”

If you’ve been researching portable Bluetooth speakers for a while, you are more than aware of Party Mode, an app-controlled link-up that allows typically two different speakers to sync and augment the sound, spreading it further and keeping an even coverage. The JPB Connect+ app allows you to link up 100 or more speakers to a single device. The technology earned JBL and Harman, their parent company, a Guinness Book of World Records entry for most Bluetooth speakers playing from a single source by linking 1,000 different, independent units.

JBL Pulse 3 full view

JBL Pulse 3 full view

SAFETY & DURABILITY | Exceptional Improvements

Thanks to the IPX7 waterproof rating, the Pulse 3 can survive being submerged for up to half an hour in a meter (about three feet) of water, so when the canoe tips, the table gets bumped, or the sand slides out and your speaker goes for a swim, it’ll survive without worry and get right back to playing music. Thankfully, the JBL Pulse 3 did away with the unattractive mesh that encased the light show in the previous generations, replacing it with a plastic shell that diffuses and softens the light, while the base resists water penetration with an attractive fabric and plastic design. Altogether, you’re looking at a device that performs well, looks great, and deftly avoids shocks and short-circuits with style.

“…it’ll survive without worry and get right back to playing music.”

The plastic shell design resists small bumps and falls, though you’ll want to avoid throwing it at a wall if at all possible. While not as resilient as some competitors, the Pulse 3 is designed to be seen and heard in an outdoor setting, not latched onto a backpack or bounced around.

JBL Pulse 3 under water

JBL Pulse 3 under water

PERFORMANCE | Featureful and Compelling

Ease of Use

Once you’ve synced the speaker to your phone or whatever Bluetooth device you’ve chosen, you can sit back and relax with touch controls. Pause, play, skip, light mode toggle, Connect+, and more are all tucked away neatly on the back, though when the Pulse 3 puts out 360 degrees of sound, is there really a backside? The Connect+ app gives you complete control over the light show, so you can set the display you like and leave your phone inside. Voice assistant integration makes calling up your Google Assistant or Siri super simple, yet another feature that only some higher end portable speakers can boast.

Best Features

As you might have guessed, the Pulse 3’s light show integration is easily the most standout feature of this speaker. While its auditory output is impressive on its own, providing solid performance and a balanced profile, you’ll quickly find that while music builds ambiance, a good light show can turn it into an experience. Add a second or even a third Pulse 3 to the mix and you’ve just built yourself a complete party atmosphere. Even if the night finds just you, a glass of wine, and a good book, the Pulse 3 can provide a soothing, comforting glow to match up with whatever relaxing music you love.

JBL Pulse 3 with device

JBL Pulse 3 with device

LONGEVITY & PRICE | Pretty, Shiny, Pricey

Some reviews aren’t great fans of the battery life, but when you consider that the Pulse 3 boasts up to twelve hours of life with the light show on, that’s pretty good. Previous generations couldn’t touch that. The Pulse 2 could maybe reach five hours with the lights going. That battery life puts it on par with even the more expensive competitors in the outdoor, portable Bluetooth speaker market. There are a lot of ways you can extend the battery life, so play around with what works for you, if you need it. A long life can make a camping trip or beach party quite a bit more fun, but when it comes to a pool party, or even a backyard barbecue, you won’t have to worry about being too far from a charging cable when the battery starts to finally fade.

Be sure to check the current JBL Pulse 3 – Amazon price here.

Here’s the breakpoint for many shoppers: the JBL Pulse 3 has an MSRP of $199.95, putting it midrange between the greater collection of outdoor speakers around $100 and the high-end performers at around $300. Thanks to an excellently balanced sound profile and the fun light show integration, the Pulse 3 packs a great amount of technology into a small, functional, and most importantly, portable form factor.

JBL Pulse 3 in use

JBL Pulse 3 in use

Pros

  • Well-balanced sound profile
  • Lightshow design makes for awesome ambiance
  • Linkable for full area coverage, 100+ units

Cons

THE BOTTOM LINE | Turning Fun into an Experience

JBL’s Pulse 3 is more than just an outdoor, portable speaker. The IPX7 waterproof design, solid performance, and battery life set it solidly among our favorite Bluetooth speakers, but it’s the light show design and modernized, digital lava lamp styling that really helps it stand out in a crowd. If you want a unit that works well, looks great and can jumpstart a party, this is the unit you want to put at the top of your list. Not completely sold on the idea? That’s all right, we have other options for you to consider on our Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers right here!