JBL Charge 4 Review
JBL Charge 4 Specs
There are a few names that come to mind when you think of portable Bluetooth speakers: Bose, Sony, and, of course, JBL. One of the more well-known Bluetooth speaker series on the market is the JBL Charge, with the Charge 4 being the most recent model.
It’s difficult to think of anything that could be improved upon the JBL Charge 3, a fantastic Bluetooth speaker that garnered praise from online publications and thousands of 5-star reviews. Not much has changed in terms of size or appearance. However, the Charge 4 has many upgrades over the Charge 3 in terms of features and audio. Let’s examine the JBL Charge 4 in more detail to see if it’s the right speaker for you.
Aesthetics are the one aspect of the JBL Charge series that has never changed. Rubberized mesh provides waterproof protection and durability for the Charge 4’s exterior. One feature carried over from the Charge 3 to the Charge 4 is the IPX7 waterproof rating, which safeguards the speaker for 30 minutes in water up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) deep.
It’s good to know that your speaker won’t perish if you drop it in the water unintentionally, even though I wouldn’t want to test that theory. The speaker floats and will continue to play music, so even if the water is deeper than a meter, this won’t be a problem.
To keep water out of any of the ports, the Charge 4’s physical connections are hidden behind a waterproof seal. A 1/8-inch AUX input, an AC input, and a USB-C output that serves as a power bank for charging external mobile devices are all present here.
Now that the AC input is USB-C, faster charging is promised. The majority of mobile devices are moving from micro-USB to USB-C, so it makes sense that JBL would follow suit. The power bank’s output is USB-A, which is still the industry standard for wall plugs. Just so you know, JBL does not include a wall plug with the Charge 4—only a USB-C charging cable.
I don’t think this is a big deal because you can use the same wall plug adapter for both your mobile device and the wall plug. In fact, it eliminates the need for extra USB wall plugs that would otherwise be left lying around the house. environmental benefit!
The JBL Charge 4 can connect via Bluetooth in addition to physical connections. It is disappointing that this is Bluetooth 4.2 when the most recent version is 5.0. However, the Charge 4 connectivity is very good.
The speakerphone and built-in microphone for voice commands are two things JBL has removed. In my opinion, Bluetooth speakers should not have speakerphones. They never function properly, the sound quality is subpar, and your phone yields better results. Every time I get an incoming call, I always find myself using the handset instead of the speaker. Instead of including features that, for the most part, we just don’t use, I think companies should concentrate more on enhancing the Bluetooth speaker’s speaker drivers and sound quality.
If you’re pushing the limits of the Charge 4’s Bluetooth capabilities, it might be worthwhile to take a look at the Charge 5, which is otherwise essentially the same speaker, as it runs on Bluetooth 5.1, providing improved connectivity range and strength. Consider this jump carefully if you prefer wired connections because the Charge 5 does not have an auxiliary input port.
Last but not least, the Charge 4 comes equipped with Connect +, the most recent iteration of JBL Connect. Now, I have to ask: Why, oh why, does JBL Connect not function with Connect +?
You can no longer connect older JBL Connect speakers to the more recent JBL models if you already have them. The main distinction between Connect and Connect + is that the latter allows you to connect more speakers than the former, up to 100, instead of just a stereo pair. The upgrade is therefore worthwhile, but it is frustrating that you can’t connect the old to the new.
The onboard controls are identical to those of the JBL Charge 3. Play/Pause, Volume Up/Down, JBL Connect+, On/Off, and Bluetooth Pairing are all buttons. The next track will be skipped if the play button is double-tapped. Sadly, the speaker itself does not have a previous track function. The JBL Charge 4’s quirky appearance is enhanced by the buttons, which are large and rubberized.
The Charge speakers’ fantastic battery life is another thing that hasn’t changed. The Charge 4’s battery life is 20 hours, just like the Charge 3. The Charge 4 is being played at 40% volume over a physical 1/8-inch cable rather than Bluetooth, it is important to note. The Charge 4 will only last 10 hours when using Bluetooth at 50% volume. This still compares favorably to the majority of the competition. So, if your battery is getting low, turn the speaker down to 40% and plug in an AUX cable to extend the playback time by 50%.
A battery life indicator is located on the front of the speaker, beneath the JBL logo. These LEDs show that the battery has 20%, 50%, and 100% remaining. The Charge 4 will fully recharge in under 5 1/2 hours from flat.
A single 2-inch x 3.5-inch full-range driver and two JBL bass radiators are combined in the Charge 4 to improve low-end performance. This is a departure from earlier models’ dual drivers. The mid-range and treble produced by the Charge 4 are significantly better than those of its predecessor, even though the bass response has remained somewhat consistent.
The highs are crisper and cleaner, and the vocals are more present and clear. The Charge 4’s sound output of 30W RMS is sufficient to easily fill small to medium-sized living spaces. The Charge 4 does deliver a fun sound that is superior to most of its competitors at this size and price, despite the fact that it isn’t audiophile quality.
Mono vs Stereo
You should be aware that the JBL Charge 4 is a mono speaker with only one driver if left/right sound separation is important to you. While the Charge 3 is a stereo speaker with two drivers. Nevertheless, you can combine two Charge 4 speakers to form a stereo pair.
Charge 3 vs. Charge 4
|Charge 3||vs||Charge 4|
|2 x 10W||Power Output||30W|
|No||USB-C Quick Charge||Yes|
|Yes||Floats on Water||Yes|
What You Will Recieve
- JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker
- Warranty & Safety Card
- USB-C charging cable
- Quick-start guide
The Charge 4 has the updated and improved JBL Connect + and is a little better looking and sounding. Although I am disappointed that Connect and Connect + cannot be linked, this is not a deal-breaker that would stop me from purchasing a Charge 4. This Bluetooth speaker is excellent in my opinion and offers excellent value.
Sticking with the JBL Charge 3 would likely be the better option for you if you don’t like the fact that JBL has eliminated dual drivers and the speakerphone component.