JBL, a Harman company now owned by Samsung has been in the audio market for a while. JBL has introduced in their smaller Go series Bluetooth player, a bass radiator for better bass and waterproof design. Let’s see how it performs.
Build and Design: 7/10
JBL Go 2 is a cute and endearing design. It is small, compact, curvy and waterproof, weighing just 184 grams and comes in several colours.
The Go 2 has certainly learned some new tricks from its previous generation Go speaker. It has decided to go with a new bass radiator design with clearer sound (see Performance section), and waterproof ability.
With the waterproof design, the speaker feels as if it has gotten a bit tougher than previous gen of hard plastic. Here a drop or two doesn’t sound as damaging due to the rubberised exterior.
Simplicity and intuitive operation is the key, you get five embossed buttons on the top that are self-explanatory. Unlike some speakers that need a special button press for input changes, Go 2 quietly and seamlessly switches between Bluetooth and Aux modes without any fuss.
In the box, you simply get the speaker, a micro-USB cable for charging and literature to operate.
JBL Go 2 was tested with an Android phone and a Windows PC with FiiO Q1 DAC amp.
The JBL Go 2 is a surprisingly clear speaker, something I’d least expect in this class of Bluetooth speakers. What stands out instantly are the clear highs and sharp mids. Go 2 has clear sound separation and the audio sounds more forward than the older JBL Go.
Having said that, what really lacks is the bass. This little 40mm speaker has the frequency response of 180 Hz – 20 kHz only. Meaning that all the scrumptious low bass is automatically written off. JBL has done this purposely to prevent the smaller speaker from spewing out frequencies that it cannot handle, therefore avoiding muffling/jarring of the sound.
Having said that, JBL’s previous generation Go is almost the same specifications and yet doesn’t do such an admirable job. Whatever JBL has done with Go 2, different internal design, or better speaker, they are certainly on the right track.
Call Quality: 5/10
Call quality is nothing to speak about much. It is loud. However, like most Bluetooth speakers, JBL Go 2 sounds low volume and my voice sounded like I was speaking “underwater” to the caller; with the speaker less than an arm’s length away on the table. Holding the speaker close to the mouth will substantially increase voice quality but defeats the purpose of hands-free calling. Consider call facility merely as a quick convenience to call someone back directly on the phone.
With its little 600 mAh battery, expect about 4 to 5 hours of music to run through. 4 hours may not sound great, but considering the battery’s capacity, this is pretty decent. Some bigger battery Bluetooth speakers manage just a few hours more with around 2,000 mAh battery.
Verdict and Price in India
The JBL Go 2 speaker is quite a noticeable improvement over its previous gen Go, speaker. At Rs 2,699 what you get is clear sound and waterproof design.
At Rs 2,699, the small player is at a bigger price bracket. At this price, one is used to seeing stereo speakers with bass or more features such as SD card support. However, none of those speakers are as clear as the Go 2 in the sound department. The previous generation JBL Go retails for Rs 1,699 but lacks the Go 2 enhancements.