In a world where being “wired” was once a distinction, “wireless” is now what everyone strives for. The JBL PowerUp is no exception–wirelessly charging your phone while at the same time, playing music from it.
Manufactured by Nokia, the JBL PowerUp is a wireless charger and speaker for bluetooth-capable devices, such as tablets and smartphones (the makers have targeted users of their own line of Windows smartphones). Available in black, white, and blue, the unit utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow it to wirelessly charge any NFC-compatible item placed on top of it (iPhone and iPad users are out of luck in this area). It is also compatible with Qi-standard devices, such as Android phones. Add bluetooth capability, and it then turns into a wireless speaker system to play music or audiobooks.
On top of the unit is a charging plate containing a motion sensor that will activate the charging process. Place your phone on here and it will charge while you play your audio through the speakers (be sure that your bluetooth setting is turned on in your phone). On the back of the unit is found a DC port to connect to a wall outlet, a microUSB port for connecting to your computer to update the unit’s software, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, should you desire a wired connection.
For navigating, you can direct the player in one of two ways–either through the music player’s controls on your phone, or through the controls found on the PowerUp.
This is what really matters, right? The PowerUp has two, 10-watt, 2.5” speakers for stereo sound. The volume can reach high levels, but eventually starts to be distorted at the higher levels. Testers report that bass is sufficient and punchy but not as solid as other models in the same price range. The high end of the sound is clear and distinct contributing to an overall rich sound.
This product would not appeal to audiophiles because wireless music streaming does not tend to have the best sound, but people who like to listen to music while multi-tasking or prefer to listen to an audiobook hands-free, will find that this will fit their needs.