It’s that time of year many of us start shopping for portable Bluetooth speakers. Whether we are taking them along on picnics, to the beach, camping, or for a portable music solution for the RV or trailer, portable Bluetooth speakers can set the tone for any summer occasion. I recently had a chance to review the Uolo Pulse Turbo in my home for a week and this is what I found.
Uolo Pulse Turbo review
The Uolo Pulse Turbo (and I don’t know whether to pronounce it Yo-lo, as in You Only Live Once, but if that’s it they spelled the acronym wrong, or You-oh-low, or U-Low, which is what the robot speaker’s voice sounds like it’s saying) is a medium sized 34 watt portable rechargeable speaker that connects to your smart phone or tablet using Bluetooth. This speaker is a study in contrasts, which I’ll explain.
Uolo Pulse Turbo : first impressions
Right off the bat, I thought the Uolo Pulse Turbo was a clone of JBL’s highly rated Boombox. They could be twins when it comes to looks, but the Uolo clocks in at a much lower price. Would the Uolo also measure up I terms of overall quality?
Set up: Uolo Pulse Turbo
You won’t have any trouble setting up this device; the only set up required is to make sure it’s fully charged, and connect it to your device using Bluetooth.
When you set Uolo Pulse Turbo up, a strange robotic voice will guide you, and when I first heard that voice, I must admit I did not have high hopes for this speaker. The voice sounds terrible! Tinny, thin, whispery and almost as if it’s coming out of a half inch speaker. Since that was the first thing I heard, I was not hopeful for the overall sound experience. I also found the packaging looked a bit amateurish in terms of the design and aesthetics, so I was further concerned about the quality.
Pulse Turbo has a tippy, rounded design
When I unpacked the speaker, I found it feels reasonably heavy, so I felt like that bodes well, but the narrow stand underneath the tubular speaker makes it quite tippy. If I was using this on a boat or dock, I’d be fearful of its future and I definitely pictured it rolling into the lake with one small rogue wave. It is water resistant with an IPX6 rating so while a splash might be ok, you definitely don’t want this getting wet.
Audio quality: Uolo Pulse Turbo
I loaded up some music, held my breath, and pressed play. Much to my surprise, the sound quality was actually good, and nothing like the sound of the voice guidance. What a relief!
I ran the Uolo Pulse Turbo through my Spotify test playlist (*find it here) and found the Uolo Pulse Turbo leaned a bit towards the high end and did have a bit of a rasp. Even so the bass was quite strong and the speaker got quite loud.
The product description says the speaker, “produces powerful stereo HD sound.” I can’t say I agree. There’s nothing high definition about it, in my opinion. I wouldn’t say this speaker was well balanced or high fidelity-sounding, so my overall impression is that serious listeners would find the overall sound quality lacking, but for the average listener, or a kid or teen that needs a speaker to call their own, this is a fine solution.
Uolo Pulse Turbo features
The Uolo Pulse Turbo has a carrying handle, which is definitely convenient. The controls are basic; power, Bluetooth connection and volume up/down. You can Bluetooth stream of course or play music through the AUX input, or Micro SD Card and a microphone for taking calls on speakerphone.
You can also use speaker this as a power bank to charge your phones or devices by connecting a USB cable. Nice, but these are all basic features you’ll find in every other Bluetooth speaker.
You can link two Uolo Pulse Turbo speakers together for a more powerful stereo sound experience, if you want to. As I only had the one, obviously I didn’t test this feature.
Battery life: Uolo Pulse Turbo has just 8 hours
The battery life is about eight hours. Again, this feels so basic. While most speaker companies are building 24 hour battery life into their products (in fact, JBL’s Boombox does offer 24 hours of battery), having one with eight feels like a letdown.
Overall review Uolo Pulse Turbo
The bottom line is that it feels like the Uolo Pulse Turbo is only trying to meet the most basic need in the market, not exceed it; like it’s trying to copy the looks of JBL’s Boombox without delivering on the goods. For every feature it has, it seems like it’s not really trying or not measuring up to its competition: The design is basic, the controls are expected, the audio quality is okay, and the water resistance at IPX6 is less than the submersion-proof JBL at IPX7. There’s just nothing special about the Uolo Pulse Turbo; no special features, no wow, no ooomph, no spark.
While this version costs a lot less than JBL’s it’s still pricey for what it is in my opinion and for me, I think there’s much better sounding speakers out there, for a lot less money, Sony’s XB lineup being just one example.