Review: JBL GO 2 is the wireless, waterproof speaker you need in your life

JBL GO 2 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

COST: $40

PROS:

  • IPX7 waterproof 
  • Can use as a speakerphone 
  • Lightweight and small 
  • Amazing range of fun colors

CONS:

  • 2.5 hours charging time

Full specs 

      • Up to 5 hours playtime 
      • Bluetooth 4.1 
      • 3.5mm audio cable input
      • Measures 7.12 x 8.6 x 3.16cm
      • Weighs 184 grams  
      • 3.1W RMS output power 
      • 180Hz – 20kHz frequency response 
      • 730mAh battery

The wireless Bluetooth speaker market is well-populated at all price levels, but the waterproof Bluetooth speaker market is a little more niche. Most currently available options are boring black boxes, but the JBL GO 2 brings something different to the pool party with a range of color options and a cute cuboid design.

Look and feel: 5/5

The JBL GO 2 is quite simply adorable, like a little speaker buddy you want to chuck in your bag when you leave the house. The speaker is surprisingly lightweight, hitting the scales at just 184 grams, and it is practically pocket-sized at just 3.8 x 1.45 x 4.21 inches. 

JBL Go 2 JBL

The range of colors is really impressive for such an affordable consumer device. With over 10 hues to choose from, you will definitely find a GO 2 to suit your color palette. It has a lovely tactile finish and a feel to it that makes it seem more substantial that its small size and diminutive dimensions would suggest.

Usability: 4/5

After pairing your JBL GO 2 via Bluetooth — which is just a matter of finding the speaker in your phone, tablet or laptop’s discoverable Bluetooth devices — you’re ready to go. The controls are easy to master: On the top of the speaker is the power button, volume control, and a play/pause button. 

JBL Go 2 JBL

On the side, you flip open a small cover to reveal the charging point. The fact you can also use this as a noise-canceling Bluetooth speakerphone obviously adds to its appeal, we had no connectivity issues and the built-in mic worked well during phone calls. There’s also a 3.5mm audio cable input port, so you can hook up wired devices too. 

The IPX7 waterproof rating means you can completely submerge the speaker in water for up to half an hour. While it’s unlikely you’d want to do that, the waterproof functionality means you don’t have to worry about the GO 2 getting splashed.

Performance and power: 3.5/5

Five hour’s worth of battery life might not seem particularly impressive, but trust us, when you see the diminutive dimensions of this device you will be wowed. And, if you think about it, five hours is probably enough to get you through a BBQ at the beach or a pool party. 

JBL Go 2 JBL

The same goes for the sound quality — the JBL GO 2 packs a real punch in the audio department for such a small package, but it’s obviously not going to rival a larger standalone speaker. It has 3 watts output power and handles most genres of music really well, although the bass is a little lacking. 

The only thing we don’t love is that it takes half the potential playtime — two and a half hours — to bring it back up to full charge.

Overall rating: 4/5

JBL

 

The JBL GO 2 is just a ton of fun. It’s not going to replace any kind of home sound system, but if you want a portable speaker slash speakerphone for out and about, or a tidy solution for the porch, the kitchen window ledge, a bathroom, child’s room or a study, this is well worth considering.

The fact that it’s waterproof might be a major selling point for some, or just an additional rugged quality for others. As it’s relatively affordable at $40, the JBL GO 2 would make a great gift for a teen, or as a great gift for yourself to have a useful portable speaker to hand that you can take literally anywhere. 

Amy-Mae Turner

Amy-Mae Turner

Amy-Mae Turner is a tech reporter who focuses on gadgets, streaming entertainment, social media, and internet lingo. She previously served as a senior features writer for Mashable.