When it comes to portable speakers, there are highly portable speakers like the JBL Clip 3, and ones like these as well – Charge 4. JBL’s Charge lineup is the one that has a built-in power-bank inside it. And that does come in handy sometimes. But what else does this speaker pack besides that? Let’s find out in this JBL Charge 4 Review.
JBL Charge 4 Specifications:
- Connectivity Technology: Wireless (Bluetooth 4.2), Wired (3.5mm audio jack)
- Controls: Activate Bluetooth, power on/off, volume
- Battery: Rechargeable
- Recharge Time: 5.5 hours
- Battery Backup (Up To): 20 hours
- Protection: Waterproof (IPX7 certified)
- Speaker Channel Type: Mono
- Amplification Type: Active
- Transmission Range: 9 meters
- Intelligent Assistant Compatible: Google Assistant, Siri
- Hands-Free Function: Yes
- Amplification Type: Active
- Audio Amplifier: Integrated
- Dimensions: 22 x 9.5 x 9.3 cm
- Weight: 960 grams
- Color Options: Desert Sand, Mustard Yellow, Dusty Pink, Grey Stone, River Teal, Fiesta Red, Ocean Blue, Midnight Black, Steel White, and Forest Green
- Price: Rs. 19,500
As it is with most of JBL speakers, the design and form factor tend not to change all that much. It is the same as the JBL Charge 3. But this one is slightly bigger than its predecessor. And so, its slightly heavier as well. At some 950 grams, portability takes a major hit! Well, it is portable, just not something you’d want to carry around all day long.
As for the looks, it is kind of cylindrical with side-firing passive radiators. The whole of the speaker is wrapped in a cloth and metallic grille. But it seems it’s easily scratch-able. It rests on a raised rubber-pad surface to avoid rolling around. There’s also a flap with the “Charge 4” written on it, that houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-C port for charging it, and a USB-A port for you to charge your phone with.
The top houses the control panel with the Power button, Bluetooth button, Volume buttons, Play / Pause button, and a JBL Connect+ button. The play/pause button can also skip a track when pressed twice on your phone. And the JBL Connect+ can allow you to link other JBL wireless speakers to play the same audio.
This speaker is also IPX7 rated for water and dust resistance. You can submerge it up to 1 meter for about 30 minutes, so, perfect for pool parties and such and even rain-festivals.
Hmmm…about the sound quality, I am not really sure what to make of it. I mean the sound quality is good enough, but there is just too much bass. The first thing you’ll notice is how loud the speaker can get. It’s really really loud even for something with a mono audio output.
That’s right. Even there is space enough for dual drivers, there’s only one that outputs 30 Watts of audio. However, you can’t really tell the difference until you get really close to it.
I wouldn’t advise listening to songs on the highest of volumes because that can really set you off. It’s loud as it is, even in normal volumes. But that kind of makes it perfect for house parties too, so, depends on your needs as well.
As I already said, this thing packs a lot of bass. So, if you want something with bass, then, this one could be the right choice. The bass in this one actually subdues other aspects of the audio, so, I couldn’t really get the exact highs and lows on tracks.
It can handle instrumentals really well, but the problem lies in the vocals. The passive bass radiators add to the already high bass, or maybe they make the bass high, but the end result is it subdues the vocals, so, understanding lyrics of some of your songs could be a bit difficult. So, it’s not really for those lyrical ones. It’s mostly suited for instrumentals.
Now, for me, I test all speakers with “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It kind of happens to be my favorite song as well. And in that song, the speaker does great on the instrumental part. The audio is clear and it is also on the brighter side, but as soon as the Freddie starts singing, his vocals seem to get drowned by the drum sounds.
This thing has also got the head-room, i.e. the ratio of distortion to the volume is also pretty balanced. That is, even at high volumes, there is no distortion, but then again, you can’t listen to it at high volumes.
So, this speaker can almost handle all kinds of music including metal – it’s just that the bass is overpowered, and that can put many people off.
Connectivity and Battery
The JBL Charge 4 comes with Bluetooth 4.2, so, you get the standard 30 feet connection. But as usual, connecting it is very easy. Just pair it once, and then, it connects to your device automatically.
As for the latency, you will notice a very slight amount of it. It will not even be noticeable while watching music videos, but watching movies can show you slightest delays of like 0.3 seconds or so. And that, I guess, is normal.
There’s also the JBL Connect+, which I already mentioned. You can connect quite a few JBL speakers compatible with this feature, so, for larger parties, this can work as well.
As for the battery, this speaker packs a giant 7800 mAh battery, which claims about 20 hours of battery life. Now, that is the same amount of battery life as the Charge 3. And you can’t quite get full 20 hours, but only up to like 17 hours on medium volumes and something like 13 on high. Of course, that can mean like 4-5 days of battery for a normal user. And it takes like 4 hours to fully charge. There’s also LED indicators to show you the battery levels, which is good.
And yes, the charge 4 can charge your other phones or earphones as well, and the charging speed seems okay too. Charging my Galaxy S10e on it and the regular way showed me, more or less, similar charging times.
Okay, now I feel like that the JBL Charge 4 is a good speaker, but I think the price is asking a bit too much. A $150 price tag or about Rs.19500 in Nepal is enough for me to put it aside. Honestly, I would never invest that much money on a portable speaker. I’d rather buy those larger home speakers or woofers for this kind of money.
But hey, that’s just me. Because if you have got the money, and want a portable speaker for pool parties or house get-togethers, then, this can be a great option. And this one particularly feels like it’s meant to be used at parties, and not like, when you’re alone or something. Because this one is pretty loud to be used in your own room.
Plus, the battery seems to last like forever. I didn’t have to charge it for like a week in my usage terms.
The only problem lies with the price here. For me, it just doesn’t provide that value for money we all look for. Plus, you do get a lot of deals on last gen Charge 3 which is more similar to this one.