Music for many is the soundtrack to every daily move, from working while your favorite chill playlist plays to cutting a rug on a makeshift dance floor at a house party. If this resonates with you, a good move is to invest in a sturdy bluetooth speaker that you can take with you anywhere and rely on to provide excellent sound quality to really enhance your various listening experiences.
I recently received the JBL Pulse 4 in the mail and it not only delivers high-quality sound, it does so in a dazzling, compact device that travels well, glows with dancing light that mimics the beats coming out, and looks fantastic no matter where you put it.
I’ve been curious about similar units since attending a holiday party a couple years back in a trendy East Village loft in downtown New York. It was an exclusive, invite-only party for mostly successful young gay men, and most were decked out in skimpy Santa costumes while I stood awkwardly in a corner sipping Pinot Grigio as my platonic date who’d dragged me along flirted with an elf wearing little more than some point slippers and a hat.
A couple of the Santas started dancing and motioned for me to join them, and they immediately sold me on the “party box” speaker a few had brought that provided ample volume and an entertaining light system along to kick up the party’s energy. I loved the concept and decided to do my own research when I left, but often felt the units I looked at were all too clunky with middling reviews for the price, and I soon abandoned the idea at all.
Related: We also tested out JBL's wireless over-ear headphones. Check out our roundup to see how they stacked against the competition.
Flash back to now while I sit in my home office, possessing the sleekest version I’ve ever seen with the Pulse 4. It has been such an atmosphere-booster for this space and my work routine, which I like to break up with periodic five-minute dance parties when I find it hard to stay focused throughout the day. I tend to listen to a lot of upbeat techno sets to keep me engaged (shout out to Hör Berlin’s fantastic streams), and the added ambiance of hearing those rhythms through a crisp, warm speaker adds a level of sonic immersion I’d not expected from such a small object. I click it on, and the construction right outside my window seems miles away.
I find myself turning the volume down when I need to hone in on a pressing deadline but even when I mute the speaker, the gorgeous warmth from the built-in light continues pulsating to a silent beat and bathes my desk in a relaxing glow that alleviates some of my stress-induced writer’s block and makes sending endless emails a little easier.
Then when it is time to jam again, the waterproof unit emits sound from all sides and is easily controlled via volume buttons both on the unit or through whichever device you connect with Bluetooth. The JBL Connect app lets you customize the light patterns in an array of colors, so you can always match the experience to your mood. One charge gets you 12 hours of playtime, so it’s sure to last throughout even your wildest soirees. The JBL Pulse 4 retails for $249.95, making it on par with similar options price-wise but with guaranteed lasting quality and beautiful design. Grab one now and enjoy the party wherever it happens.
Since initially writing this piece in mid-2020, the speaker has continued to be a godsend in my home office and when hanging out outdoors. I took it to a few park hangouts with friends during the height of the summer and fall and everyone wanted to know where I got it.
I’ve also moved into an apartment with a rooftop, and taking the Pulse 4 upstairs for a chill evening cocktail is more lovely than ever, especially with the glowing lights providing ambient light at night.
It also continues to hold its charge for a few days of use before needing to be plugged back in. Overall, I still cannot recommend this speaker enough–it’s wonderful.
JBL Pulse 4
Perks of the JBL Pulse 4:
–12 hours of pulsating light and play time
–Portable, easy to stash in a tote or backpack
–App lets you control light displays and connect to other compatible speakers
–Beautiful, streamlined design