Charge2+ – Just in time for summer, our family got the JBL Charge 2+ Bluetooth speaker for you to check out. Having experience with the JBL Flip and Charge speakers, we are no strangers to the clarity and versatility of these sound systems.
However, this time around we had a little more to see. Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
Installation of these speakers has been easy over the years, and connecting my iPhone 5S to the Charge 2+ was easier than ever. Just click the Bluetooth logo button on the top of the speaker and check your device’s settings to see “JBL Charge 2+” to connect.
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If Bluetooth isn’t an option for your device, you can use the included cable to connect any phone, iPod-style player, or computer to the speaker and still enjoy the sound of the Charge 2+.
With the connection made, you can also see the power of the Charge 2+ sound. Turn up the volume for some impressive bass, and check out the JBL Bass radiators at the end: They thump and thump the bass. The volume can be controlled through your device or on the speaker itself.
In addition to using the Charge 2+ for music, it can also act as a speakerphone for your phone. Use the phone icon button at the top to answer the call or switch your phone’s speakers to Charge 2+.
Finally, as the speaker’s name implies, the Charge 2+ can also charge your devices. Use your device’s USB charging cable and plug it into the female USB port on the back of the device. The Charge 2+’s 6000mAH lithium-ion battery can support up to 12 hours (at low volume) of playback, so there’s plenty of juice to spare. I charged my iPhone 5S at 59% and it was charged to 95% in an hour (I had closed all the apps on the phone and the charge was not playing music at 2+ though… It can play music and charge the device).
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JBL’s new “Social Mode” feature allows up to three devices to be connected to a single Charge 2+ speaker. Above is a button that must be pressed before connecting to multiple devices; Otherwise, the speaker will turn off any additional devices.
Amplify Your Play: The Social Mode button allows up to three Bluetooth-enabled devices to be connected to the JBL Charge 2+. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
Press and hold the button until it’s downloaded, then invite your friends to join the multiplayer playlist!
I tested this by connecting my iPhone 5S, my MacBook Pro laptop, and my son’s Motorola Droid Turbo. We took turns on the playlist, my son choosing Green Day’s “Holiday” against my Eminem and Katy Perry. At first we were hitting “play” over and over on our devices, which was ridiculous.
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When we let the music play for a minute or two, suddenly it was taken over by other things. My iPhone took Charge 2+ when I received a text message, which produced a sound. When the Tweetdeck app on my MacBook received a new tweet, it beeped and took over the speaker. Users should keep this in mind to work effectively in social media.
Another thing to know about Social Mode: The Charge 2+ will be controlled based on the volume of each device. So when users set up their playlists, they have to accept the amount. Ideally, each device should have a large volume; For master control use 2+ volume boost.
Battle of the Games! While Social Mode might be great for multiple phones, when my laptop was added to the mix, it took over the speaker every time my Tweetdeck posted. Oops. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
Water. For example, if someone removes a towel from the side of the pool and drops it on the speaker, there is no problem. Even if you want to have a speaker on the beach, this should not be a problem. I was ready to take a shower, as long as the shower stream didn’t drain on the Charge 2+.
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“Splashproof” means that JBL Charge 2+ can work near water, but not in water. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
We took our Charge 2+ next to our hot tub on a chilly early spring evening. Since my husband has a live case on his iPhone 4S, he was able to take his phone in a hot tub and direct the speaker inside. Being able to listen to music and control things inside the hot tub was really cool.
Get enough friends (and splashproof cases, of course) and you can let the social scene go and have a fun music party at the pool, beach, or hot tub. Summer just got so much fun!
In addition to the black and white version, the Charge 2+ comes in many exciting colors, such as red, orange, green, blue and pink. With these new additions, the Charge 2+ costs less than the Charge 2, which retails at an MSRP of $149.99. The JBL Charge 2+ is sold at major electronics retailers and online through the JBL-Harman website (where, as of this writing, it retails for $119.99) or Amazon.
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I started with laptop reviews in 2009. Now I look at wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and what’s next/coming in our ever-changing world. Other interests include magic, theater, theater, board games, cooking, acting, and the New York Jets.
Update, August 20, 2018: The Fitbit Charge 3 has been officially announced, replacing the Charge 2 below. This new model offers a number of new features, including waterproofing and a large screen, while keeping the same price as the Charge 2. Next is an initial review of the Charge 2.
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Band (large, Black/silver)
A flexible group. A multi-color OLED display that can display time and workouts. Always – in a heartbeat. A great companion app. cheap price. Battery life of five days.
Do not fight water for swimming or rain. GPS is missing. The phone notifications on the Charge 2 are small and hard to read.
If you don’t want water resistance and GPS, the Fitbit Charge 2 is the best tracker you can buy.
Most things follow steps now. Most trackers and watches – even phones – do a great job.
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In 2016, you buy a fitness club for its program and programs. Fitbit does what it does so well and easily, and on enough platforms with mobile and social media, that it wins as the platform of choice.
And the best Fitbit accessories you can get right now? This is the new Charge 2, which costs $150 in the US, £130 in the UK, AU$250 in Australia. (A slightly more expensive special edition at $180, £150 or AU$290 with a different finish band.) It’s the follow-up to our previous favorite (no longer available), the Charge HR. The Charge 2 has been slightly redesigned with some new features. I don’t think there is anything else that combines software, features, and functionality, at such a low price.
If you’re a dedicated long-distance runner away from your phone, or you like to swim, or you want a fully connected smartwatch, go with other options. But the Charge 2 is the do-it-all band for the common man. I have been wearing it for about a month and it has won me over. The simple answer is “which fitness tracker should the average person buy?”
Editor’s note, March 27, 2017: The Charge 2 already received an Editors’ Choice award in September 2016. While the Charge 2 is still a beautiful device, we’re now recommending the new Fitbit Alta HR as the best around. The Fitness Tacker, which is available for the same price as the Charge 2.
Jbl Charge 2+ Review: A Sweet Sounding Bluetooth Speaker That Can Juice Up Your Phone, Too
As I said, the Charge 2 is in the same category as the Charge HR, replacing the previous model in the Fitbit series at the same price. It still has a five-day battery and always-on heart rate monitor, but adds a large OLED display that shows everything I want from it. And the design, still large, is sharp: a metal body, a large screen (covered in transparent polycarbonate) and flexible leather or rubber. It’s not the most jaw-dropping look, but its watch strap fits me well (it comes in three sizes).
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