JBL Charge 4 Review
Clear sound and long battery life with a handy built-in USB charge-out port
- Up to 20 hours of battery life
- Charge your other devices on the go with the USB-A charge-out port
- IPX7 certified so you can submerge the speaker in water without damage
- Balanced sound with great frequency separation
- Easily connect up to 100 speakers together for a full-on sound
- No speakerphone functions
- No voice assistance integration
The JBL Charge 4 is a useful portable Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a power bank for your devices. With up to 20 hours of battery life, a rugged and waterproof case, and a balanced sound, it gets the most important things right and makes for a great road trip companion.
The design of the JBL Charge 4 is a youthful one that highlights its ‘party animal’ credentials. You can get the Charge 4 in a range of bright colors including Dusty Pink and Forest Green.
The 7500-mAH built-in battery can last up to 20 hours of playtime, putting the JBL Charge 4 at the top of the heap in battery life. However, JBL uses the “up to” moniker quite liberally, as testing has shown you’ll get about 10 hours of battery life playing music at 50% volume. Still, this is common, and the JBL Charge 4 has one of the best battery lives of Bluetooth speakers for its size.
It takes around 5.5 hours to recharge the JBL Charge 4’s battery from empty to full.
As the name suggests, the JBL Charge 4 has a handy feature that allows you to charge your electronic device on the go from its battery. Flip up the waterproof cover, and you’ll find a USB port waiting to keep your phone or camera charged.
Aside from Bluetooth, you can also connect your external device via the 3.5-mm aux jack. This makes sense when watching movies and using the Charge 4 to relay the audio, as Bluetooth has a delay that you’ll only really notice when watching video content.
Rugged and Waterproof
Plan to take your Bluetooth speaker to the beach or the pool? You can rest easy with the JBL Charge 4, as it is fully IPX7 certified. This level of waterproofing certification is higher than most of its competitors. With IPX7 certification, you can be assured that submerging your speaker in water for up to 60 seconds won’t cause any damage, making it a fun poolside pal.
The Charge 4 is housed in a ruggedized durable fabric that feels great to carry and ensures your speaker outlives you dropping it when you’re out on adventures.
JBL Charge 4 vs. JBL Charge 3
Should you upgrade from the JBL Charge 3 to the JBL Charge 4? If you already own the Charge 3, then probably not. The sound from the JBL Charge 4 is better than the Charge 3 – in particular, the Charge 3 has a relatively bassy sound whereas the Charge 4 has better frequency separation and midrange sound, but it’s a minimal change that wouldn’t warrant an upgrade.
Where the Charge 3 comes in six colors, the Charge 4 comes in 11 color options. The Charge 4 also includes playback controls on the top and a battery indicator on the bottom, features missing from the Charge 3.
If you want to use your Bluetooth speaker as a speakerphone or interact with a voice assistant like Siri, you’ll need to choose the JBL Charge 3, as JBL has removed these features in the JBL Charge 4.
Most Bluetooth speakers now include a feature that allows you to pair two identical speakers together for a ‘Party Mode’ or separated stereo sound. The JBL Charge 4 takes this a step further by letting you pair up to 100 speakers together and play the same audio through them all perfectly synced.
If you have two JBL Charge 4 speakers, you can choose to set them to output the left and right audio channels from a stereo signal independently. This works great for setting up a wide stereo sound in your room without having to deal with wiring.
You can take things further by deploying multiple JBL Connect+ speakers throughout your home, so no matter where you go you’ll hear your music loud and clear.
You generally need to use multiple JBL Charge 4s instead of mixing and matching different JBL models for this to work. This may change in the future as more speakers begin to support JBL Connect+, and it’s a minor issue as mixing different types of speakers is not usually recommended anyway if you’re looking for a balanced sound.
The JBL Charge 4 has better sound quality than the Charge 3 and the Flip 4. While there is still a mild bass boost that helps the speaker project sound further, the Charge 4 overall has clear definition of frequencies so the music never sounds muddy.
Compared to the Flip 4, the Charge 4 has comparable treble but better bass. The larger speaker housing has gone a long way to round out the sound of this Bluetooth speaker, making it one of the best sounding speakers around that still remains portable.
Two passive bass radiators deliver resonating bass that never overpowers the mix. The maximum output power is 20W, and the speaker never sounds overwhelmed even when pushed to maximum volume.
The JBL Charge 4 is one of the best choices out there for a portable Bluetooth speaker. It’s particularly rugged and waterproof, and the sound quality is an improvement over its predecessor. If you’d like to use speakerphone or voice assistance, choose the JBL Charge 3 instead. Otherwise, the Charge 4 represents a step up in almost every way.
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