The JBL Charge 4 is arguably one of the best bluetooth speakers out there! So, there is no surprise you want to buy one. Here is my JBL Charge 4 Review!
Released on August 30th, 2018 this new speaker has hit the market with a boom. I was lucky enough to purchase one for myself for Christmas at a low price of $139 on Amazon, and I have not regretted this purchase one bit.
How I Got Interested in Bluetooth Speakers – JBL Charge 4 Review
I used to never be a big audio freak, that is until I bought a pair of Logitech headphones with incredible sound quality and I never wanted to go back.
My favorite songs and arguably all songs had so much more instrumental to them that I was never able to hear before on my old headset.
At that point I was interested in buying a speaker, so I bought a cheap $30 Soundcore 2 from Anker. The speaker was a pretty good upgrade from my old setup of just standard $20 headphones. But then, I wanted more.
I Wanted High Quality Sound at an Affordable Price
I wanted high-quality sound and made the choice to purchase a JBL Charge 4. The speaker being sold for an average price of $140 makes it incredibly competitive with other high end Sony speakers on the market.
And in personal experience and reviews online it is evident that JBL Speakers just obliterate any competition at its price point without fail.
What’s in the Box? – JBL Charge 4 Review
Once you open the box, you get the large JBL Charge 4 speaker and a charging cable (USB-C) that comes with it.
The speaker comes dubbed with the signature JBL two subs, and had a strong protector on the outside of the speaker that looked and felt tough.
This speaker does not feel cheap at all, and definitely feels like it’s worth what you paid for.
There are buttons on the top, in the center a power and bluetooth button, and on the sides a Connect+ button to play multiple speakers, volume up/down buttons, and a pause/play button.
What About The Speaker Itself?
The JBL website states that the JBL Charge has a mighty 20 hours of playtime, is IPX7 waterproof, and has a 7,500 MaH battery.
How Does it Sound?
The JBL Charge 4 is a monster when it comes to sound, there is no way around it.
While it definitely falls short compared to the JBL Xtreme 1, it still is very close to being as loud and having as strong of bass as the normal Xtreme.
Regardless, this speaker will outperform basically any speaker on the market that most people would buy just for casual listening under $50.
This speaker provides incredibly high sound quality, very heavy bass, a strong design, and a loud listening volume.
This speaker in my opinion has better sound quality than any headphones/earbuds/speakers I have bought so far. In fact, the speaker itself is actually better than the stereo system that came with my car!
I often find myself just letting the speaker play in the backseat and leaving the radio off.
The speaker plays all of my songs at a great sound quality I find a hard time replacing when going back to using my earbuds, headphones, or any of my old speakers.
How Does It Compare To A Charge 3?
This speaker is definitely a complete upgrade over the JBL Charge 3, and is slightly bigger in size as well.
The sound is louder and more clear than the Charge 3, although not by too much.
If you have a Charge 3 right now, you may not see a very noticeable upgrade for $140 and I would advise against upgrading unless it is something you really want to do.
The only benefits I would see to upgrading is the slightly upgraded battery life (6,000 -> 7,500 MaH), but unfortunately the Charge 4 does not come with a call or voice assistant feature.
Personally, I do not use my speakers for the call features as I think they are very poorly designed and don’t work that well, but there are still many people that want to buy a speaker for that reason, and the Charge 4 removed that.
However, if you’re purely buying it for the audio, it may make sense to upgrade to the JBL Charge 4 or even go as far to buy the XTREME 2, with even better sound and the call features.
Overall, it has a slightly better battery and sound, but loses the call features and isn’t that worth of an upgrade if you have a charge 3 already.
The Charge’s Best Feature, charging!
The big advertised feature of many JBL speakers but namely the charge is, charging your devices.
The JBL Charge 4 comes with a mighty power bank that has come useful to me in so many situations.
Interestingly enough, when I first purchased the speaker and used it I had no idea it actually charge your devices until my friends pointed it out to me. In my experience the power bank is able to charge my smartphone (Samsung S8) from 0-100% about two times when not playing music.
That is a very powerful power bank, especially considering generally you won’t ever need to recharge your phone completely twice without being able to get a wall charger from home or a friend.
It charges any device that has a USB plug, so it could charge for instance your knock off airpods, kindle, or another speaker for all intents and purposes.
A great sounding speaker coupled with a mighty power bank makes this speaker an incredible deal. I mean seriously, a power bank inside of a speaker is a genius idea I would’ve never thought of.
First of all, your phone will use battery when playing on the speaker so having a way to conveniently recharge it is useful, but it’s also a portable bluetooth speaker, you’re likely to bring it to the beach(it’s IPX7 waterproof!) or to a friends house and may not be able to bring a wall-port with you everywhere.
Having a powerbank in your speaker is one of the most underrated but useful features I’ve seen yet.
Especially considering this big investment of a speaker isn’t always completely useless if you don’t always play music, you can just bring it with you to charge stuff if needed.
As I stated above, the speaker seems to have a very strong battery being able to fully charge my smartphone twice while not playing music.
However, in my experience this speaker has a great battery compared to my old Soundcore 2 and I play music very loud, using the battery more than average.
As someone who is usually blasting music in his house all the time, the speaker has a great indicator of the battery life on the front of the speaker which lets me know way ahead of time if it needs a charge, but typically I only need to plug it in once a week to recharge it from 0.
If you’re using it to charge devices it will obviously use more power than average. In a general full day of use, you can probably get away with 6-8 hours of listening to music and a full charge of the smartphone and you’ll still have a little bit of charge left over before the speaker dies, which in my eyes is great.
I would assume it is very rare you need more than 8 hours of music and smartphone charge a day and not be able to plug your speaker in during all of that.
A bit of personal information, I am bit of a road warrior and drive often, I used to have my speaker on the seat next to me (as aforementioned my car speakers are trash) and drove 2 hours back and forth everyday playing music, charging my phone, and using the speaker at my destination and still had over 80% charge yet.
So in an about an average use of the speaker everyday you’ll have more than enough energy to get away with anything. I do find it funny though, this speaker has almost become part of my everyday carry, if I know I have a long day ahead of me where I won’t be home, even if I am not listening to music I’ll grab it to utilize the power bank.
If you’re not using it to charge things, you can generally get 20 full hours of listening before the speaker dies if you’ve been listening at high volume.In summary, a strong powerbank that can last even the most strenuous of days, makes your purchase more worth it, and you still get an incredible battery life without using the power bank, makes the speaker an incredible value buy.
While there aren’t many negatives to the JBL Charge 4, I did find one big defect that doesn’t only affect me, and I have been forced to return the speaker almost twice for.
On the JBL Charge 4 the speaker’s power button seems to have a fault where after a long time of use it will break and then it becomes incredibly hard to turn the speaker on.
If you really shake the speaker around or drop it a few times (thankful for the strong rubber plating on the speaker) sometimes it will go back into place, but sometimes it seems like you just have to return the speaker unfortunately.
I have seen other reviews online of people suffering this problem, and after I have received a replacement already it seems to just be a product flaw. It will not happen if your speaker is not incredibly mobile, but for me it seems whenever I go biking or driving where the speaker will get bumped around it happens.
This is also a problem specific to the Charge 4, as my friends all have Charge 3 speakers that I have used and biked/driven with and they do not suffer from the same consequence the Charge 4 does.
I am currently looking into a way to open the speaker and repair it, and if I do I will definitely make a post on here explaining how to do it.
The JBL Charge 4 is a phenomenal speaker.
At a price range that is hard to beat, includes a powerbank, and produces powerful sound that makes you regret using anything else this speaker seems like a no-brainer to purchase.
However, if you have a Charge 3 it does not seem entirely worth the upgrade, and aside from the call features being removed and a product defect on the power button the JBL Charge 4 will outperform any speaker at its price range and offer a vast array of utility with its power bank and being waterproof. I do not regret my purchase one bit and found the speaker as a nice addition to my everyday life, at home and abroad.