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JBL's Pulse 5 Bluetooth Speaker Bumps the Bass

Shipping this spring for $250, the fifth generation of the company's portable speaker with a built-in light show is getting better sound.

two women enjoy listening to the JBL Pulse 5 speaker

At CES 2023, JBL is showing off the JBL Pulse 5, the fifth version of its popular portable speaker with a built-in LED and app-controllable ambient light show that, admittedly, is pretty mesmerizing. It ships this spring for $250.

JBL, which is owned by Samsung, says it upgraded the surface of the speaker, making it "sleeker." It bulked up the sound, too, "with a larger passive radiator and acoustic volume for deeper bass, as well as a woofer focused on delivering mid-low frequency sound and an added tweeter" for improved clarity.

Read more: Best Bluetooth Speakers for 2023

The JBL Pulse 5 delivers 12 hours of playtime on a single charge and is IP67 water- and dustproof. It also comes with a rope strap for toting it around or hanging it from something. Using JBL's PartyBoost feature, you can wirelessly connect as many JBL Pulse 4 or Pulse 5 speakers as you want to create an even bolder light show.

The JBL Pulse 5 has an integrated strap on the back

The speaker has an integrated strap on the back.

JBL/Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

I look forward to testing this one out when it arrives later this year. In the meantime, here are the JBL Pulse 5's key specs:

  • Vibrant 360-degree LED light show: Visualize music with a variety of light show themes and customizations
  • JBL Portable App: Control your light show colors through the JBL Portable app
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Pair two JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers for stereo sound or link multiple JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers for bigger sound
  • 12 hours of playtime (USB-C charging)
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof
  • Price: $250
  • Scheduled to ship spring 2023