JBL Pebbles Review: These small speakers make a splash

By Nikhil Pradhan | Updated May 20 2014
JBL Pebbles  Review: These small speakers make a splash
70 /100
  • design


  • performance


  • value for money


  • features


User Rating : 3.5/5 Out of 2 Reviews
  • PROS
  • Unique looks
  • High volume output
  • Suitable for bass heavy tracks
  • Very easy to set up
  • USB powered
  • CONS
  • Expensive
  • Not so great with mids and highs
  • Short cables


If your laptop or your phone is your single source for listening to music and you aren’t looking for full-fledged 2.1 or 5.1 speakers, then the Pebbles is definitely worth considering. Just keep the short length of its cables, and the fact that it is powered through USB, in mind.

JBL Pebbles detailed review

 The JBL Pebbles is an interesting looking set of speakers. And when I say ‘interesting’, I mean that many of you may love the way it looks while the rest of you may not. However, one thing’s for certain, if you have the Pebbles on your desk, it will be hard for anyone to ignore them.

Looks and Design

The Pebbles are pair of round speakers with a flat base, front and back. Apart from its shape, the unique look comes from the white, silver and orange accents that the speakers are painted in. There is a perfect silver circle smack dab on the face (and back) of both the left and right speakers and while on the left speaker, the circles are just for the purposes of aesthetics, on the right, the front circle actually works as a volume control dial. The left speaker is also bereft of ports and just has a single 3.5mm cable that snakes out of it and has to be attached to the right speaker. The right speaker has two 3.5mm ports- one on the side for the left speaker, and one on the front for the audio source. The right speaker also has a USB cable that powers the entire set.

The bases of both speakers have grooves within which you can wrap the cables to do away with any unnecessary mess. This is particularly helpful if you already have a cluttered desk and don’t want the cables to add to the clutter. However, the bundled cables are really short, so it will be a rare desktop PC setup that will suit the Pebbles. I’d recommend you limit its use to your laptop and phone.

The speakers are entirely made of plastic but the build quality is pretty solid for the most part. The only issue is that the volume control dial feels very loose and as a result, sometimes you may end up moving the dial inadvertently just by brushing against it.

Audio Performance 
The first thing that will surprise you when you use the Pebbles for the first time is how loud it is, especially for a pair of USB powered speakers. Turn the volume all the way up to 11 and you will be impressed by the speakers’ power. However, these aren’t the speakers you’re looking for if your turn ons are excellent highs or tight bass. The 50mm drivers on the Pebbles churn out boomy bass, good enough to fill up a small room for a party but nothing exceptional. The speakers have a frequency response range of 70Hz to 20kHz and a signal-to-noise rating of 89 dB. 
I tested music from a whole bunch of genres on the Pebbles. It wasn’t particularly good with metal (Legions by Artillery, Obsideo by Pestilence) or with Jazz (Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus) because it pushes both the highs and mids into one indistinguishable mush. However, it did quite well when it came to Hip Hop and Dance music (The College Dropout by Kanye West, Discovery by Daft Punk) just through the huge amount of bass at high volumes that it was able to output.
There was one annoying issue that kept cropping up during the time I was testing the Pebbles. I mostly used the Pebbles to play music from my iPhone and I used my desktop (running Windows 7 64-bit) to power it. When you connect the Pebbles to the PC (through USB), it will be immediately recognised by Windows. After that, turning the dial on the speakers will actually change the system volume. In my case, a lot of times, I noticed that even after moving the dial, the speaker’s volume wouldn’t go up. Then, after a second or third try, it would suddenly jump up. The frequency with which this happened made it one of the more annoying issues that I faced on the Pebbles. 
Overall, for a pair of speakers meant to be used primarily with your laptop or with your phone, the JBL Pebbles’ performance leaves little room for complaints.   
The JBL Pebbles is currently retailing for Rs. 3,499 in India. If your laptop or your phone is your single source for listening to music and you aren’t looking for full-fledged 2.1 or 5.1 speakers, then the Pebbles is definitely worth considering. Just keep the short length of its cables in mind.

JBL Pebbles Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Price: ₹3499
Release Date: 03 Mar 2014
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Playback Time Playback Time
  • Frequency Range Frequency Range
  • Channels Channels
  • Dimensions Dimensions

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Nikhil Pradhan
Nikhil Pradhan

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JBL Pebbles

JBL Pebbles

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