JBL Tuner 2: 2 minute recap
JBL offers a plethora of useful speakers and earbuds. We’re not just talking options that sound great, we’re talking about sturdy party speakers that can easily be tossed poolside (or slung in). These are the sorts of devices the marketing spin would call “kit for keeping up with your active lifestyle” (ignoring the fact that sometimes you’ll want to hang around next to your speaker. It’s okay, so do we).
This trend continues with the JBL Tuner 2 vying for a spot in our best DAB radio round-up. It’s incredibly convenient. It’s sturdy, it has rubber feet on the bottom to stay secure, it works as two types of radios, and it easily pairs with your phone to listen to the music of your choice.
The catch? It’s not exactly powerful. Whatever you hear will sound acceptable, but no more. This is nowhere near one of those The best bluetooth speakers You can currently buy.
When listening to talk radio, the slimness and flatness isn’t an issue, but the moment you switch to your favorite tunes, you’ll wonder why Foo Fighters My whole life sounds so tame.
Priced at £79.99 / AU$169.95 (which is roughly equivalent to $95) the JBL Tuner 2 is really aimed at the maker market; People who want lots of options while hiking, swimming or getting outside. Up to 12 hours of battery life means you don’t have to worry about charging as often, and that’s where the JBL Tuner 2 feels good.
It’s a little heavy, but that gives it the sturdiness feel you need when you head outside. There’s no strap or carabiner, which would have been handy, but it’s still light enough for one-handed grabbing, even with small palms.
The JBL Tuner 2 looks fairly unassuming but doesn’t take up too much space. Only the antenna will get in your way, but no more than a regular radio.
For anyone looking for an easy to use DAB/FM radio that also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, the JBL Tuner 2 ticks all the boxes. However, with weak bass and plenty of other sonic issues, it’s not suitable for audiophiles looking to get the most out of their lossless music collection, but we’re not convinced that something with a built-in DAB radio is designed for these folks.
Take it on vacation, set it up in the hotel room, by the pool or at your vacation home and you’ll appreciate how the JBL Tuner 2 saves you packing some equipment, even though it could sound richer.
JBL Tuner 2: price and release date
- Available in the UK and Australia
- The price is £79.99 / AU$169.95
- launched in 2020
The JBL Tuner 2 isn’t the newest device to hit the market, having launched way back in 2020, but listening to the radio – even DAB radio – isn’t the newest concept out there and there are times when the original ” stays wireless’ still can’t be beat.
Since its release, the JBL Tuner 2 has seen a slight price drop to £79.99/AU$169.95.
It is available in two color schemes – white or black.
JBL Tuner 2: Design and Features
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- IPX7 waterproof
- DAB and FM radio
The JBL Tuner 2 feels comfortable and elegant in your hands. While its primary purpose means you can lay it down either horizontally or vertically, it feels frictionless to carry around even when there’s no strap to hold it.
There are two chunky rubber grips on the bottom that keep the speaker level when you place it pretty much anywhere. You can also place it vertically if you prefer.
At the top is the antenna, which needs to be pulled out if you want to listen to the radio, while the back offers a USB-C port along with a 3.5mm audio jack.
The front is the most interesting part of the JBL Tuner 2 as it offers a small display that says hello when it starts up and then tells you what mode it’s in and what radio station you’re listening to.
It’s also home to the battery indicator, which is quite unfortunate. It’s just a single bar going vaguely down where a series of bars would have been so much more helpful. Even so, the battery lasts around 10 hours, so at least you won’t have to worry too often.
Above are the controls. There are two large buttons for volume, plus a row of numbers for radio presets, plus a scan button to find whatever’s out there. Scanning is pretty quick, although we had to delve into the manual to figure out how to find even more stations.
Most of the time, however, it only takes a few minutes to set up the JBL Tuner 2 to your liking. Plus, it’s waterproof so you can use it in almost any scenario.
- Score for design and features: 4/5
JBL Tuner 2: Sound quality
- Bluetooth 4.2
- weak bass
- Partly tinny sound
Let’s not mince words: the JBL Tuner 2 doesn’t sound great. It doesn’t sound terrible, but you shouldn’t go near it if you want great sounding tone.
It does a job when listening to FM or DAB radio. Voices sound clear, if not super clear, and you don’t have to turn the volume up too high to hear this.
Switch to bluetooth mode and it’s a weaker performance. We tried one of our favorites, Foo Fighters’ My whole life, and we were soon dismayed at how weak and soulless it sounded. Switch to David Bowie Negative pressure hoping for detailed mids and sparkling highs didn’t deliver the hoped-for performance either.
The music is there, of course, but the whole thing falls far short of the wow factor that we know these recordings are capable of. It’s not even that the bass sounds muddy, it’s just too weak to be noticeable. There’s a bit of grit in the highs once we’ve listened to Pink Floyd The dark side of the moon Still, we weren’t fans of the audio chops here.
Turning up the volume also introduces distortion, so this is far from one of the best party speakers. Looking at the sound quality, the JBL Tune 2 is at best a relaxing poolside speaker, nothing more.
JBL Tuner 2: value
- DAB/FM radio and Bluetooth speaker
- Very wearable
The JBL Tuner 2 is pretty cheap for what you get. It saves you from the need for a Bluetooth speaker and a DAB radio, and is certainly useful if you’re not too concerned about great audio quality but want to have plenty of options at your fingertips.
Ultimately, whether you are depends on how you intend to use your new purchase.
JBL Tuner 2: Should You Buy It?
|design and functions||Saves you from the need for a Bluetooth speaker and DAB radio, which is very useful if great audio quality is not too important to you||4/5|
|sound quality||Too weak through the bass and in general to challenge the class leaders||2/5|
|value||Good features and solid build, only let down by the audio quality||3.5/5|
Don’t buy it if…
Think the JBL Tuner 2 might not be the DAB/FM radio with built-in Bluetooth for you? That’s fine, here are three alternatives that might offer just the design, feature set, and sound quality you’re looking for.