• The Sound Connoisseur

JBL Charge 4 Review

In this review we will be taking an in-depth look at the JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker, one of the latest in a string releases from JBL's overhauled product line, and discover if it has evolved much from its predecessor, the JBL Charge 3.



Performance:

Based on our previous positive experience from the JBL Charge 3, it comes as no surprise to us that the level and depth of sound produced by its replacement delivers with great satisfaction.


The Charge 4 delivers a total output power of 30-watts, a 10-watt improvement from the 20-watts produced by the Charge 3.

A newly adapted single forward facing driver produces excellent depth accompanied with dual passive radiators delivering powerful sound that resonates loud and clear. The fact that the driver is forward facing does mean that the same punch cannot be enjoyed 360-degrees round, but this should not be taken away from the performance of the speaker.


The level of bass produced is more than satisfactory, and at higher volumes the bass is slightly reduced with the mid-ranges replacing the brunt of the tone. But this is perfectly acceptable. To achieve higher levels of bass you are ultimately restricted to speaker size.


JBL have increased the battery capacity on the Charge 4 to 7500mAh, in comparison to 6000mAh on the Charge 3. Despite this, playtime remains the same duration at 20 hours of continuous use, but this does mean that you can use the speaker on higher volumes for longer without sacrificing battery life.


Just like the Charge 3, you can use the Charge 4 to power your other devices such as mobile phones or tablets via a USB 5V supply. The Charge 4 itself will take just over 5 hours to fully charge from empty, and on the front there are some white LED's giving a useful indication of remaining battery life.


One small setback in terms of connectivity is that there is a lack of native support when connecting to other smart devices for multi-room functionality. But this does not mean that it cannot be achieved and JBL have loaded the Charge 4 with its Connect+ technology meaning you can link up to 100 other JBL speakers to play together at the same time. (We think this is an obvious must challenge for all students living in residence!)


Design:

With similar looks and characteristics to the Charge 3, there are no rude surprises. The design remains chunky and rugged, constructed using durable fabric with a rubber housing, the Charge 4 has an IPX7 water resistant rating meaning it can be fully submerged in water up to a depth of 1.5 meters. JBL also claim that the Charge 4 is resistant to both chlorine and saltwater, making it perfectly suitable to accompany you to the beach and the swimming pool.

The control buttons are positioned on the top with the Aux-in and microUSB charging port located to the rear, suitably protected by a waterproof flap. A sturdy rubber base keeps the speaker firmly planted on surfaces but the build structure is more than robust enough to withstand accidental drops.


The absence of a built-in microphone, previously available on the Charge 3, was the only issue we could fault in the design. Although not everybody uses their Bluetooth speaker to make and receive calls, removing this function will make it harder for some users to conduct phone calls in-between listening to their music.


Verdict:

The JBL Charge 4 is undoubtedly one of the best sounding speakers in its price range. Although some features have been removed, there is a noticeable improvement to sound and quality when compared with the older version. If you already have a Charge 3 it is not a 'must' upgrade. However, having said that, if you're stuck for choice between the two, it is definitely worth spending that little extra for the improved sound output you get from the Charge 4.


Pros:

- Excellent sounding

- Extra rugged design (waterproof)

- Charges other devices


Cons:

- No speakerphone




Available on Amazon in 10 different colours, user reviews rate this product 4.5/5 stars.


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Are you looking for a cheaper alternative that can match the performance of the JBL Charge 4? This Tronsmart speaker may be what you are looking for! Read our Tronsmart Element T6 Plus review to find out more.

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