JBL GO 2 review

A punchy and clean-sounding portable speaker Tested at £30 / $40

JBL GO 2 review

Our Verdict

The JBL 2 offers great sound quality for the price – we’re just disappointed that the battery might not last a whole afternoon

For

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Well-balanced sound
  • Decent bass from a small box

Against

  • Poor battery life

For every portable music scenario life can sling our way, JBL appears to have it covered. Of its current Bluetooth models, five check in at under £50, including the cute little GO 2 we have on review here.

So, how does the new GO 2 measure up for sound quality, durability and value for money in a market burgeoning with fresh, ever-more compact contenders?

Build

JBL GO 2 build

For the updated version of the GO 2, JBL has smoothed all the edges from its predecessor, the GO+. There are 12 colours in the range, and though our review sample is officially called yellow, that does it a disservice – it is retro-fabulously pearlescent. 

The supplied USB charger is a somewhat uncoordinated bright orange colour, but considering the price, this is a small issue.

The GO 2 looks like an old-style bar of soap. In fact, our first instinct is to hold it up to our forehead and repeat: “The first rule of Fight Club…”

Features

JBL GO 2 features

To continue the soapy theme, the GO 2 has a full waterproof IPX7 rating, so you could actually drop it in the bath. There’s an aux in and micro-USB port on the right of the speaker, and a built-in noise cancelling speakerphone in the port’s waterproof cover. There are five small buttons across the top, but they don’t obscure a charming aesthetic.

Sound

JBL GO 2 sound

The GO 2 certainly punches above its weight when it comes to sound. We play Hozier’s Take Me to Church and the delivery is open and three-dimensional.

We can hear the difference between Hozier’s more distant, belted vocals and when he approaches the mic to explore his upper register. Given the GO 2’s size, the bass punch is obviously limited, but the result is a cohesive and surprisingly broad mix.

JBL GO 2 tech specs

Max power 3W

Battery life 5 hours

Charging time 2.5 hours

Bluetooth version 4.1

Waterproof rating IPX7

3.5mm input Yes

Dimensions (hwd) 7.1 x 8.6 x 3.2cm

Weight 0.2kg

The GO 2 is marginally thinner sounding than its similarly priced rival, the Anker SoundCore 2. The top end is slightly more exposed and obvious, but it discriminates between notes with greater clarity and offers superior detail. Overall, it is the better-sounding product.

Our main gripe with the GO 2 is its battery life. Two and a half hours of charging gives a maximum playing time of just five hours. That may be long enough for an afternoon by the pool, but not necessarily for a picnic or a day at the beach. 

Do you really want to waste a few precious hours of sunlight waiting for the battery to fully charge?

Verdict

But putting the lengthy charging time and short battery life to one side, JBL’s latest offering is a worthy holiday accessory. In fact, it’s probably the best-sounding bar of soap we’ve ever listened to.

SCORES

  • Sound 4
  • Features 3
  • Build 5

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