This is our latest product from JBL. The JBL Go 2, Successor of the JBL GO.
Portable speakers really are having a moment right now, and JBL has not disappointed, releasing both the GO 2 and the Clip 3 at the same time recently. But are they improvements on their predecessors or just an upgrade you don’t really need to spend the cash on?
The GO 2 is a little portable blue-tooth speaker, and the focus of this review. We are about to put it through its paces to see how it stacks up!
Of course everyone likes to know what exactly you get for your money….so “whats in the box?”
Of course we have the speaker, the JBL GO 2. There is the familiar orange charging cable, and a roll of booklets, which includes a warranty card, safety instructions, and basic user manual. Allow me to save you some time here, if you ever take these books out of the plastic they came in you will NEVER get them back in. I tried, so take my advice and spend that 10 minutes doing something you enjoy!
To make sure that you don’t waste your precious time:
click HERE for a link to the Quick Start Guide.
click HERE for the Spec sheet.
click HERE for the declaration of conformity.
So lets look at some details. The GO 2 is a tiny speaker which can travel with you almost anywhere. it is small enough to be carried in your hand, put in a pocket or popped into a backpack or purse. It is the ultimate travelling speaker loaded with JBL quality. Check out the video below to see the dimensions.
So as I mentioned before, the GO 2 replaced the GO. So do they look different, I mean how much of a change can JBL make to a speaker to make it different? I was surprised! The GO was a square box which almost resembled a toy, it was light and did not have a premium feel to it. The GO 2 has rounded corners to replace the harsh 90° angle of the GO. In fact it is rounded all over, because the GO was literally all 90° angles…flat front, flat back, you get the idea. But the GO 2 even has slightly bulged sides, which feels comfortable in your hand. The coating is rubberised which helps with grip and adds a premium matte look.
So as you can see from the images above, the speakers are pretty different. The GO 2 is actually a bit thinner overall, and you can see how much of an aesthetic difference the new design has made.
The GO weighed in at a mere 140g where the GO 2 is a healthy 185g.
The front panel is very similar between both speakers, with JBL opting for a bright white printed logo on the grilles of both speakers. There is no grille on the back, which would have allowed for a passive bass radiator, which is not present in this particular speaker. This is to be expected in a speaker of this size and price range. The rear panel is different on the GO 2, with JBL rocking a debossed logo, a MUCH better option than the printed back panel of the GO. I found the debossed image provides a great grip for holding onto the speaker as well, where the GO is quite slippery.
Another Massive difference between the GO and GO 2 is that the GO 2 has an IPX7 waterproof housing. This means that the GO 2, unlike the GO can be fully submerged in up to 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes. So you can feel confident using this speaker in the bathroom or taking it to the pool or beach. To guarantee that full IPX7 waterproofing, you must ensure that the cap which covers the charging Micro USB and 35mm inputs is fully closed. And of course remove all charging cables first. (This is where owners of the GO, who thought they could prove how waterproof their GO was made their biggest mistake. Water got into the charging port and eventually the GO just stopped charging, and then stopped working.)
So what about some Specs?
Bluetooth version: 4.1
Support: A2DP V1.2, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.5, HSP V1.2
Transducer: 1 x 40mm
Output power: 3.1W RMS
Frequency response: 180Hz – 20kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio: ≥80dB
Battery type: Lithium-ion polymer (3.7V, 730mAh)
Battery charge time: 2.5 hours
Music playing time: up to 5 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 72.0 x 86.0 x 31.0 (mm)
Bluetooth transmitter power: 0-4dBm
Bluetooth transmitter frequency: 2.402–2.480GHz
Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK/DQPSK/8DPSK
So what about controls? At first I thought the controls were pretty standard. You have the usual culprits, a play button, volume up and down, a power button and a Bluetooth dedicated button to pair the speaker to your devices. But the controls are not limited to just these functions.
Double pressing the PLAY button will advance to the next track. Single pressing while something is playing will pause. If you get a call through your phone and it is paired to the GO 2, you can answer the call through the speaker, also by single pressing the play button. To hang up, simply press the button again. (The microphone is in the opening of the cap where the charging port and 35mm port are located.)
Long pressing the play button at anytime will activate the Google assistant feature in your phone if you are interested in this feature.
So in this case, a few buttons really are all you need.
The short video below explains this a bit better!
The GO 2 takes 2.5 hours to charge for 5 hours of medium level playback, which doesn’t feel very impressive, but greatly depends on how you use the speaker. We have been using it to have some nice tunes during morning showers. We have used it daily for about 2 weeks, and are yet to recharge it.
How does it sound?
So we are talking about a speaker, so most importantly…what is the sound quality like?
For the sake of testing and comparing, I sourced one of the original JBL Go speakers. I have had fun testing the differences between them, and as I have mentioned in other reviews, it can sometimes be difficult to provide sound tests which have been recorded (unless of course you have a professional recording space, which sadly I don’t.) but I have recorded the two speakers playing the same songs from approx the same spot so that you can hear for yourself the differences between them. I have used a Rode Microphone, which produces sound really well, so hopefully you can get a bit of insight into what I am hearing when I physically listen to the speakers and compare them.
The two songs I have chosen are: “If I were a boy” by Beyoncé and “Budapest” by George Ezra. Just because I believe that between these songs you get to hear a great range. I used the exact same volume for each recording, and the camera position was the same distance from the speaker. (on some I did zoom in with the lens, but this has no bearing on the sound, as the distance remains the same) Have a listen and see what you think!
So I guess it comes down to personal taste, but in my opinion, the JBL Go2 is a huge improvement on the original GO. I like the richer bass, the mellow sounds are really nice. Voice sounds crisp and clear, and music is great too. I find the original GO a bit tinny for my personal taste, and to me it has a bit of a “far away” sound, almost as if it is playing through a tube. As I mentioned before, this is a little speaker which does not have a passive bass radiator, so to get this kind of depth in sound is pretty great. The key here is to remember….THIS IS JUST A MINI SPEAKER! If you are looking for studio quality sounds, then look at spending more money and go for a much more advanced speaker. This speaker delivers everything and more that it promises. If you need a little easily transportable speaker for personal listening for a phone, laptop or other such device, then its perfect!
It is also a definite improvement on the original, so if you are looking to replace or upgrade then DO IT!
The speakers come in a pretty awesome selection of colours too…12 in fact, so of course you will be able to find one you like!
So the results?
- Really good sound for its size. Great Bass and treble, clear crisp voice.
- Fantastic build quality. Durable, but not “industrial” looking.
- Customer support with JBL is very satisfactory.
- Very easy to set-up.
- Compatible with most devices with either Bluetooth or cable.
- A selection of colours which will suit most people.
- Price is good. on par price wise with other small speakers on the market, but sound quality is superior to quite a few competitors.
- maybe the battery life for some would be a problem. not for us so far.
$49.95AUD (correct at time of publishing)
The JBL GO2 can be purchased from JBL Australia: on their website.
I would score this product a very well placed : 5/5