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JBL Horizon vs Horizon 2 (2021): Which Alarm Clock Speaker Should You Buy?

JBL is a giant in the audio industry. From Bluetooth speakers to home theater surround speakers, as well as headphones and earbuds, they have a product that can meet anyone’s preferences. Today, we’ll be taking a look at their Bluetooth alarm clock speakers, namely, the JBL Horizon and the JBL Horizon 2. The former is a highly successful alarm clock with a Bluetooth speaker function and the latter is an upgraded version that offers some minor improvements over its predecessor. If you’re in the market for a Bluetooth alarm clock speaker, which one of these two should you buy? We compare them below to help you decide.

JBL Horizon vs Horizon 2 Comparison Chart

ModelJBL Horizon JBL Horizon 2
 
Price
Dimensions6.29 x 7.2 x 3.38 inches7 x 6.4 x 3 inches
Weight1.96 lbs1.78 lbs
LCD DisplayYesYes
Speaker Output2 x 5W 2 x 5W
ConnectivityBluetooth
3.5mm jack
3.5mm jack
Bluetooth
FM RadioYesYes
USB out22
Ambient LightYesYes
FM PresetsNo3
ControlsButtonsDial and Buttons

Design

The JBL Horizon 2 is more compact and it has a bigger display than the JBL Horizon.

jbl horizon vs horizon 2 design
Both the JBL Horizon (left) and Horizon 2 (right) come with an LCD display, but the latter’s display is brighter.

The two Bluetooth alarm clock speakers come with the same compact and circular form factor, however, the JBL Horizon 2 is a bit more compact and it has a slightly larger LCD display. Also, it has rounded edges as opposed to the sharper edges of the previous model. Overall, the JBL Horizon 2 has a more streamlined design than its predecessor.

At the front, both alarm clock speakers have sizeable LCD screens that display easy to read information such as the audio source, date and time. That said, the screen on the Horizon 2 is brighter, so it is better suited for brightly lit rooms.

At the back, they both have an ambient light function that can be useful if you want to sleep with dim lighting. The sides come with dual USB-A ports for charging any compatible device and at the bottom, there’s a backup battery slot, a 3.5mm jack, power input, antenna input and the set time button. The JBL Horizon also has a DST setting button at the bottom.

Features and Connectivity

Features-wise, the JBL Horizon and JBL Horizon 2 are pretty much the same, with the latter offering some minor improvements.

jbl horizon vs horizon 2 features
Back view of the JBL Horizon (left) and JBL Horizon 2 (right).

When it comes to features, the JBL Horizon and Horizon 2 come with Bluetooth and wired 3.5mm connectivity, two USB-A ports, FM radio, ambient lighting and dual independent alarms. With their dual alarm feature, you can set independent alarms for you and your spouse. You can choose to use any of the built-in alarm tones, music via Bluetooth or use any FM station. The alarm is quite loud and there really is no way to adjust the volume. You can turn off the alarm by pressing the top button on the JBL Horizon and the clickable knob on the Horizon 2.

As for connectivity, they both come with Bluetooth 4.2 and a 3.5mm jack, so you can stream music wirelessly or with a wired connection. They also have two USB-A ports at the side to let you charge any compatible device.

Both alarm clocks also have an FM radio that get decent reception. Depending on your area, you might have to use the included antenna to get the best reception. One of the improvements that the JBL Horizon 2 introduces is its FM preset buttons. You can save up to three FM stations to these buttons for quicker access.

Setup

Due to having a rotary control knob, the JBL Horizon 2 is easier to use and set-up than the JBL Horizon.

jbl horizon vs horizon 2 setup
The JBL Horizon (left) makes use of buttons for controls, while the JBL Horizon 2 (right) has an easier to use control knob for various functions.

Setting up both alarm clocks is easy and it won’t take up much time at all. Once you plug them in, you’ll have to manually set the date and time since they can’t connect to the Internet due to not having any Wi-Fi connectivity. While the setup process is pretty much the same, the JBL Horizon 2 offers a much better and more intuitive process due to its rotary control knob. The two alarm clocks have various icons and labels to make the setup process as easy as it can be.

Sound

Both the JBL Horizon and Horizon 2 sound great for their size.

jbl horizon vs horizon 2 sound
At the bottom, both the JBL Horizon (left) and Horizon 2 (right) have a backup battery slot, set time button and a few more ports, but only the former has a DST button.

These speakers sound good, considering their small form factors. Of course, they won’t compete with HiFi speakers, but for what they are designed for, they offer excellent audio. Both alarm clocks come with dual 5W drivers that can output room-filling sound. As expected though, their bass is weak, since they are compact speakers. However, the mid-range and high frequencies are surprisingly good, and they don’t distort and produce piercing sounds, even at higher volumes.

Verdict

If you already own the JBL Horizon, you don’t need to upgrade to the Horizon 2. However, if you are buying your first JBL Horizon alarm clock, the improvements that come with the Horizon 2 is worth the increased price tag.

If you already have the JBL Horizon, it’s not worth it to upgrade to the JBL Horizon 2 since they are basically the same when it comes to functionality. That said, if you are buying a new alarm clock and you’re eyeing these two, going with the JBL Horizon 2 is the smarter choice since it comes with a few quality of life upgrades. It has a larger LCD display and it has a better control scheme than the previous model.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between JBL Horizon and Horizon 2?

The Horizon 2 comes with an improved design and a better control interface than the original Horizon.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the JBL Horizon 2 good?

Yes, the JBL Horizon 2 is a good speaker/alarm clock combo that’s worth buying if you are looking to get an alarm clock.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can the JBL Horizon play music from USB?

No, you can only stream music to it via Bluetooth or a wired 3.5mm connection, or use its FM radio.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the JBL Horizon have JBL Connect?

No, you can’t pair the JBL Horizon alarm clock speaker with other JBL portable Bluetooth speakers.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.