Undoubtedly, the JBL Go was one of the most popular speakers in the pocket-sized category.
It came in several color options with a relatively low price tag and you could find it on the shelves of almost every supermarket.
It has been introduced in 2015 and became so popular that more than 10 million units have been already sold.
We had to wait three years to get our hands on the new model but the JBL Go 2 is finally here and it got some new improvements.
However, can it repeat the popularity of the former model?
Let’s find this out in this in-depth JBL Go 2 review.
JBL Go 2 Review Video
Price, color options
One strength of the Go was that it came in tons of different color options so everyone could choose the one they liked.
This is also the case with the Go 2, it is available in 12 new colors and at the date of this review, it can be bought for $40.
The Box, Accessories
The speaker comes in a small, transparent box with only some papers and a micro USB cable included.
The JBL Go 2 has the same size as the older model, so it is one of the smallest Bluetooth speakers on the market, it is small enough to easily put it into your pocket.
While the dimensions of the speaker remained the same, the design has been refined at several points and the Go 2 has a more stylish and modern overall look.
Unlike the boxy design of the former model, it got curved, smooth edges which fit well into your hand.
Although, it has a metallic look, in fact, only the speaker grille was made from metal, the body is covered by a soft, rubberized plastic.
On the top, the button layout remained exactly the same, here you can find the Power, the Bluetooth pairing, the Volume up/down and the Play buttons.
They are not real buttons only carved markings with matching color so it can be hard to use them especially in low light conditions, except the volume control buttons, which are slightly raised from the plane of the speaker.
The back panel got a more stylish look since the painted JBL logo is now carved into the body.
I think the designers made a good job here, the Go 2 looks well-built and more premium than the former model.
The Go 2 provides a limited music control capability, which means you can play/pause the music by pressing the Play button and you can jump to the next song by double pressing it.
However, it is not possible to go back to the previously played song or forward/backward in a song.
It got a built-in microphone, so it can be used as a speakerphone to answer phone calls.
The biggest improvement of the Go 2 over the former model that it is waterproof.
It got an IPX7 water protection which means it is completely waterproof, it can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes.
This improvement is very welcomed since the speaker will be probably used on the beach or on hikes where every protection comes handy and from now it can be also used as a nice little shower speaker.
To ensure the water protection the micro USB charging port and the audio jack input port are covered by a waterproof flap.
The design of the flap is great, it is easy to open and close and it seals correctly.
Unfortunately, the Go 2 did not get this loop, so you don’t have any possibility to attach it to your bike or backpack which is definitely a step back compared to the previous model.
Connectivity, Bluetooth range
The speaker has an audio jack input port, so it can be also connected via cable.
In my outdoor test, I measured around 70 feet Bluetooth range which is a pretty long range, so it can be used well even farther from the Bluetooth source.
The JBL Go 2 got a 730mAh lithium-ion battery and according to the manufacturer it lasts up to 5 hours and it takes 2.5 hours to fully charge it.
In my test, when I played various types of songs on the speaker at 70% volume I measured 6 hours 40 minutes play time while repeating the same test at maximum volume I got 3 hours 30 minutes.
It is slightly better what I measured by the former model but it is not outstanding.
There are speakers with similar size but better play time.
It is worth to mention that after some days of testing my first device stopped working and it did not turn on, so I had to take it to service where it turned out that it cannot be repaired so I got a new device.
So this makes its reliability questionable but hopefully, it was only an individual problem with my device.
JBL Go 2 Sound Test
Under the hood, the Go 2 has a 40mm transducer with 3W output power just as the older model, however, while the Go had a bass port, the Go 2 features a larger passive radiator.
This change is promising since one weak spot of the Go was the weak bass and the missing lows.
However, unfortunately, during my tests, I did not notice too much improvement over the older model.
The Go 2 has a bit more pronounced bass and a slightly bigger sound but the difference is not significant.
To be honest, I expected bigger improvement in terms of sound quality.
Otherwise, apart from the lacking lows, the speaker has a nice, clear overall sound.
JBL Go vs JBL Go 2 sound test video
JBL Go 2 extreme bass test without grill
Overall, I like the new improvements of the JBL Go 2.
The new design is particularly good; the speaker looks much more premium than the older model.
Also, the water protection is very welcomed and useful, it makes the usage of the Go 2 much more versatile.
I think the sound quality is fine for such small speaker, however, I am a bit disappointed, since I expected more improvement here over the older model.
If you want a small, stylish speaker then the JBL Go 2 is a good choice, however, if you are after the best sound quality for your money then you can find bigger and better-sounding speakers in this price range.
IPX7 water protection
Solid, premium design
One obvious alternative is the JBL Go which is still available and costs around 20 dollars less.
I think if the water protection is not important for you then I suggest saving the 20 dollars and buying the old model since in terms of sound quality there is no big difference between the two.
If you are looking for something very portable and can pay some more bucks, then the new JBL Clip 3 is a more advanced speaker.
It has a better sound quality, longer battery life, and a built-in handy carabiner.
If you are fine with heavier and bigger speakers then in this price range you can find the Anker SoundCore 2 which is only splash proof but in turn, it has much longer battery life and provides a far better sound quality.
Dimensions (H x W x D): 71.2 x 86.0 x 31.6 (mm)
Transducer: 1 x 40mm
Output power: 3.0W