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JBL Pulse 3 may be the coolest new Bluetooth speaker at CES 2017

JBL's new speaker is fully waterproof, which means it can put on a light show underwater.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read
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The Pulse 3 ships this spring for $200.

David Carnoy/CNET

JBL has taken its Pulse Bluetooth speaker and its built-in light show to the next level, making the speaker fully waterproof and improving the sound.

I got a chance play around with the upcoming Pulse 3 for a few minutes here at CES 2017 and while it's hard to tell how much better it sounds, it does look a lot different from its predecessor (the Pulse 2), which I liked a lot. The mesh grill is gone and the speaker has a tough semitransparent outer plastic shell. It looks even more like a digital lava lamp.

Shop for JBL Pulse 3 (White)

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One of the key new features is that it's fully waterproof, which means you can drop it in the shallow end of a pool at night and get some really cool effects for a short period of time (an IPX7 certification means that you can submerge it in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes). You won't get any sound out of it if it's underwater -- Bluetooth doesn't transmit through water -- but you can't have everything.

The Pulse 3 carries a list price of $200 (which roughly converts to £160 or AU$275) and hits stores this spring. We'll have a full review as soon as we get our hands on a review sample.

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2017

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JBL Pulse 3 features

  • Wirelessly connect up to two phones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing music (the speaker now has full 360-degree stereo sound, according to JBL)
  • Built-in rechargeable li-ion battery provides up to 12 hours of music and light show playtime
  • IPX7 waterproof design
  • Build your own party by connecting more than 100 JBL Connect+ enabled speakers together to amplify the listening experience
  • Customizable 360-degree light show sets the atmosphere, animating your favorite songs automatically by synchronizing its light show with your music
  • Noise and echo-cancelling speakerphone lets you take calls from your speaker
  • Customize your light show experience and configure your JBL Connect+ settings with the JBL Connect+ App for iOS and Android
  • Available on JBL.com and select retailers for $200 starting spring 2017 in white and black. For more information, visit JBL.com/CES
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The Pulse 3 from behind, charging via Micro-USB.

David Carnoy/CNET