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Bluesound PULSE 2i Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Oct 16, 2023 at 09:34 am
Latest change: Writing modified Nov 27, 2023 at 12:23 pm
Bluesound PULSE 2i Picture
7.2
Music
6.6
Videos/Movies
6.7
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
5.5
Outdoors

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is the manufacturer's flagship speaker designed for home use. It's designed with connectivity in mind, so you can connect it with other Bluesound speakers to spread audio throughout multiple rooms in your home. Through its companion app, you can link up with music streaming services like Deezer and Tidal to listen to your favorite tunes through the speaker. It's on the pricier side, though, and the lack of native voice assistant support may not be ideal for everyone.

Our Verdict

7.2 Music

The Bluesound 2i is decent for music. Its default sound is heavy on the bass, so you feel the extra warmth and punch in the mix. Vocals and lead instruments are slightly muddied, though they remain clear in the mix. Its companion app also offers lots of sound customization tools, and it gets really loud. It can't bring the deep rumble in the low-bass like some larger home speakers.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • No full graphic EQ.
6.6 Videos/Movies

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is fair for videos and movies. It isn't quite meant to be an addition to your home theater setup, but if you want to use it to stream videos from a paired device, it's more than suitable. Dialogue is clear in the mix, and there are lots of customization tools to make the most of its sound. However, without an extended low-bass, you don't get the deep thump and rumble like in the movie theater.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • Some compression at max volume.
  • Middling directivity.
6.7 Podcasts

The Bluesound 2i is fair for podcasts. Voices are slightly muddied in the mix, though you can still easily follow along with the conversation. There's even a preset designed to enhance dialogue in the mix, which is a nice touch. That said, this wired-only speaker isn't meant to move from room to room with you during longer episodes, which can be inconvenient.

Pros
  • Gets loud.
Cons
  • No full graphic EQ.
2.8 Voice Assistant

This speaker doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. For voice control, you can connect it with third-party Alexa or Siri devices, like an Amazon Echo. However, you'll have to purchase these devices separately and set them up through their respective apps.

5.5 Outdoors

This wired-only speaker isn't meant to be used outside.

  • 7.2 Music
  • 6.6 Videos/Movies
  • 6.7 Podcasts
  • 2.8 Voice Assistant
  • 5.5 Outdoors
  1. Updated Nov 27, 2023: Added market comparison for the JBL Authentics 500 in the Voice Assistant box.
  2. Updated Nov 13, 2023: Retested the sound with the Deep Bass feature turned on. Frequency response accuracy score improves from 6.7 to 7.0 and soundstage from 6.7 to 6.8. Dynamics score decreases from 8.9 to 8.5.
  3. Updated Oct 16, 2023: Review published.
  4. Updated Oct 12, 2023: Early access published.
  5. Updated Oct 04, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  6. Updated Sep 29, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  7. Updated Sep 20, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  8. Updated Sep 09, 2023: The product has won our suggestion poll, so we'll buy and test it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is available in Black Matte and White color variants. We tested the Black Matte version; you can see the label here.

If you encounter another version of this speaker, let us know in the forums.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is a high-end home speaker with lots of features. It's easy to connect the speaker to your devices or make the most of your music streaming services through its companion app. It comes with a decent selection of sound enhancement tools, too. That said, its price isn't for everyone, especially since you need a third-party device to get access to voice assistants.

See also our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best Bluetooth speakers for bass.

Denon Home 350

The Denon Home 350 is a bit better than the Bluesound PULSE 2i. They're both premium home speakers, but only the Denon has built-in voice assistant support. You'll need a third-party device to use voice assistants with the Bluesound. The Denon brings more bass, too. However, it doesn't get quite as loud as the Bluesound.

JBL Authentics 500

The JBL Authentics 500 is better than the Bluesound PULSE 2i. The JBL offers built-in voice assistant support, unlike the Bluesound, which requires a third-party device. Plus, it's able to reproduce more bass. Its graphic EQ is a bit more comprehensive than the Bluesound's bass and treble adjustments, which is handy for switching up its sound.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021

The Bluesound PULSE 2i and the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021 are both high-end home speakers. Depending on your style preferences, you may like one look more than the other. The Bowers & Wilkins brings a little more low-bass, though, and since its voice assistant support is built in, you don't need to connect it to a third-party device like with the Bluesound. That said, the Bluesound does get a touch louder.

Klipsch The Three II

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is better for most uses when compared with the Klipsch The Three II. The Bluesound offers Wi-Fi connectivity, unlike the Klipsch, and its companion app gives you access to lots of extra features. For example, you're able to customize its sound and connect it with other devices to spread audio throughout your home. Some may prefer the Klipsch's retro design, though.

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge and the Bluesound PULSE 2i are two premium speakers with different strengths. They're both wired-only devices with different designs, and you may prefer one over the other based on your tastes. As for the sound, the Bluesound is a bit louder, while the Bowers & Wilkins brings a touch more bass.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is a larger-sized home speaker available in Black or White. Its simple, minimalist design is ideal if you want your speaker to blend into your decor. Its trapezoidal footprint is meant for easier positioning in the corner of your bookshelf or countertop. There are also holes on the bottom if you want to mount it on a stand.

4.5
Design
Portability
Volume
984 inยณ (16,128 cmยณ)
Weight
11.3 lbs (5.1 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The Bluesound PULSE 2i is wired-only, so it's not meant to be used on the go. It's on the larger and heavier side, too. Still, you can move it from room to room using the indent at the top of the speaker as a handle.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

This speaker feels well-constructed and solid. It's made of good-quality matte plastic with metal grilles covering the drivers for extra protection. It's worth noting that this plastic is prone to collecting fingerprints, though, so you'll want to clean it off regularly. The speaker also sits on a felt-like surface that doesn't do much to hold it in place, so it can slide around on your table if bumped or nudged.

6.8
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Decent
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Tactile)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

There are some simple, easy-to-use controls on top of the speaker. You can use them to adjust the volume, play/pause your music, and skip to the next or the previous track. It takes only a light touch for your command to register, and since they're backlit, it's easy to see them in a darkened space.

As for feedback, a couple of LED lights in front of the speaker let you track its status. They're synched with the play/pause button, so you can check the speaker's status there. That said, there aren't any visual or audio cues when you input different commands. You can't know when you've reached minimum or maximum volume.

Design
In The Box

  • User manual and setup guide
  • 120V power cord (6.3 ft / 1.93 m)
  • 230V power cord (6.3 ft / 1.93 m)
  • Ethernet cable (5.1 ft / 1.55 m)
  • Optical Toslink to 3.5 mm mini jack adaptor

Sound
7.0
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.26
Std. Err.
3.65 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
51.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.7 kHz

The Bluesound PULSE 2i has a bass-heavy sound profile out of the box. The extra warmth and punch in the bass is well-suited to bass-centric genres like EDM and hip-hop. While it slightly muddies voices and lead instruments as it carries over into the mids, these elements remain pretty clear and accurate in the mix. Bass and treble adjustment tools in the speaker's companion app let you customize its sound a bit. Note that we tested this speaker with the Deep Bass feature on since this improves its low-frequency extension a bit.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.8
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
6.06 dB
Stereo
Yes

This stereo speaker doesn't have a 360-degree design. You get consistent sound in front of the speaker's drivers but not when standing behind it. As a result, it's best suited for use when positioned on a shelf or a countertop.

8.5
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
101.6 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.18 dB

The Bluesound 2i gets plenty loud. There's some compression when you push it to max volume, but this isn't quite as bad if you use it without the Deep Bass preset enabled.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

This speaker doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. Since it lacks a microphone, it can't register your voice commands on its own. If you want to control it with your voice, you'll need to connect it to a third-party Siri or Alexa device with a microphone of its own, like an Apple HomePod or an Amazon Echo. On iOS, the setup process is pretty easy since you only need to add the speaker to your Apple Home app. If you prefer Alexa, though, you'll need to search the skill library for BluOS and add it to your Amazon Alexa app. According to online reviews, this skill is quite limited in what it can do, and there are some difficulties in implementing it in practice. Something like the JBL Authentics 500 may be better for you if you prefer built-in voice assistant support.

9.3
Active Features
App
App Name
BluOS
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The BluOS app has a lot of different features available. You have a lot of control over its sound thanks to its bass and treble adjustments as well as preset modes like Deep Bass, Late Night, Enhanced Dialog, and Wide Mode. You can link the device to other Bluesound speakers to spread audio throughout a single room or multiple rooms in your home. If you already subscribe to music services like Tidal or Spotify, you can link them into the app, though the functions available will vary from app to app. A video of the app is available here.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
Yes
Other Ports
Yes

There are lots of different ways to connect your devices to this speaker. The AUX input acts as both an Optical/Analog in port, and there's also a USB Audio port for files. You can use the headphone jack to listen on your headphones, or the Ethernet port to connect to your network. There's a USB type B mini port if you need to update the speaker's firmware.

7.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Bluetooth iOS Latency
201 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
189 ms
Bluetooth Range
193.6 ft (59.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

This Bluetooth-compatible speaker can only pair up to one device at a time. While some apps compensate for latency differently, it's on the higher side when paired with both iOS and Android devices. Still, you won't notice lip-synching issues. A couple of other cool features are also available, like aptX support for high-quality music streaming and the ability to transmit audio to another Bluetooth device.

7.7
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 5
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
154 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

The Bluesound PULSE 2i has good Wi-Fi connectivity. Since it supports Apple AirPlay, pairing it with iOS devices and setting up Siri voice assistant support through another device is easy. Latency is on the higher side, but still, there isn't a delay between the audio you hear and the visuals on screen. Some apps compensate for latency differently, though.