Get insider access
Preferred store
Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

JBL Charge 4 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Jan 31, 2022 at 01:20 pm
JBL Charge 4 Picture
5.7
Music
5.7
Videos/Movies
6.9
Podcasts
2.5
Voice Assistant
6.9
Outdoors
This speaker was replaced by the JBL Charge 5
Battery Powered
Yes
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No

The JBL Charge 4 is a portable Bluetooth speaker that comes in many colors. It has a balanced mid-range that can accurately reproduce vocals and lead instruments, though they may sound slightly dull due to its underemphasized treble range. It's also rated IPX7 for water resistance, meaning it's certified to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Like many smaller speakers, it struggles to produce low-bass, which might disappoint fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Also, unlike the JBL Charge 5, it doesn't have an EQ, so you can't tweak its sound profile to your liking.

Our Verdict

5.7 Music

The JBL Charge 4 is sub-par for music. It struggles to produce low-bass, and its treble range is underemphasized, so higher frequencies can sound dull and veiled. Fortunately, its mid-range is well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced accurately. This speaker doesn't have an EQ, so you can't adjust the sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Great battery performance.
  • Well-balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • Struggles to produce low-bass.
  • Doesn't have an EQ.
  • Requires second unit for stereo sound.
  • Underemphasized treble range.
  • Disappointing soundstage.
5.7 Videos/Movies

The JBL Charge 4 is sub-par for videos and music. While its well-balanced mid-range can accurately reproduce dialogue, the speaker struggles to produce low-bass, meaning you won't feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed movie scenes. It also has a fairly directional soundstage, resulting in a less immersive sound. Thankfully, its low latency with iOS and Android devices makes it suitable for watching videos, although some apps may compensate differently for this.

Pros
  • Well-balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • Struggles to produce low-bass.
  • Doesn't have an EQ.
  • Underemphasized treble range.
6.9 Podcasts

The JBL Charge 4 is alright for podcasts. It has a well-balanced mid-range, so dialogue is reproduced accurately. However, its treble range is underemphasized, so sibilants like S and T sounds can be perceived as dull. This speaker is remarkably portable, so you can listen to podcasts while you're on the go.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Well-balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • Underemphasized treble range.
  • Disappointing soundstage.
2.5 Voice Assistant

The JBL Charge 4 doesn't have voice assistant support.

6.9 Outdoors

The JBL Charge 4 is reasonable for outdoor use. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance that certifies it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, so you don't have to worry about it getting wet when taking it outdoors with you. Thanks to its fairly small and lightweight build, it's incredibly portable, so you can easily bring it with you out and about. However, it doesn't get especially loud, and there's some compression at max volume.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • IPX7 rating for water resistance.
  • Great battery performance.
Cons
  • Struggles to produce low-bass.
  • Doesn't have an EQ.
  • Disappointing soundstage.
  • 5.7 Music
  • 5.7 Videos/Movies
  • 6.9 Podcasts
  • 2.5 Voice Assistant
  • 6.9 Outdoors
  1. Updated Jan 31, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Updated Feb 16, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Feb 12, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL Charge 4 comes in twelve different color variants. These include 'Black', 'Black Camo', 'Blue', 'Camouflage', 'Grey', 'Green', 'Pink', 'Red', 'Sand', 'Teal', 'White', and 'Yellow'. We tested the 'Blue' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect all the variants listed to perform similarly in tests.

If you come across a variant not mentioned here, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Charge 4 is a fairly small, portable Bluetooth speaker. It has a sturdy build and an IPX7 rating for water resistance certifying it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Its mid-range is fairly well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are reproduced clearly, although they can seem a bit dull due to the underemphasized treble range. It also struggles to produce a thumpy low-bass, and unlike the JBL Charge 5, it doesn't have an EQ to help you adjust its sound to your liking. Also, while you can connect it to other Connect+ JBL speakers like the JBL Flip 4, it can't be connected to JBL's PartyBoost-compatible speakers like the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Boombox 2.

See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best shower speakers, and the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Charge 5 has a more balanced sound profile. It's also better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust-tight and immersible in a meter of water for 30 minutes. That said, while the Charge 5 can connect to PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers, it can't connect to those with the Connect+ feature like its predecessor. The Charge 4 has lower latency with iOS and Android devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The FLIP has better directivity, resulting in a wider soundstage. It also has a more balanced sound profile. However, the Charge has longer battery life.

JBL Flip 4

The JBL Flip 4 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Flip 4 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. It supports voice assistants through your smartphone and is smaller, making it more portable. However, the Charge 4 can produce a more extended low-bass than the Flip 4. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage, and your experience may differ.

JBL Flip 6

The JBL Flip 6 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4 overall. The Flip 6 is smaller and has a removable carrying strap to help transport it, making it more portable. It's better-built and has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box. You can even customize its sound to your liking thanks to the graphic EQ featured in its companion app. That said, the Charge 4 can produce a slightly more extended low-bass than the Flip 6. It has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. It has a longer-lasting battery life of over 13 hours from a single charge, though this varies depending on your usage.

JBL Xtreme 2

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. Unlike the Charge, the Xtreme can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and it can get somewhat louder. Also, only the Xtreme has voice assistant features, even though it may have trouble hearing you in a noisy room. Although both speakers lack low-bass, the Xtreme has a more balanced sound profile.

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Xtreme is a better-built speaker that can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. Its sound profile is also more balanced, with extra warmth in the lower end. The Xtreme can also get louder than the Charge, though both have a bit of compression at max volume.

Sonos Roam

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Sonos is better built with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. It comes with bass and treble adjustments, and it supports voice assistants. However, the JBL has longer battery life.

Sony SRS-XB33

The Sony SRS-XB33 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. Unlike the JBL, the Sony has a graphic EQ in its companion app, which lets you adjust the sound profile to your liking. It has voice assistant features, though it relies on your smartphone's voice assistant. The Sony can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which creates a more immersive sound.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Ultimate Ears is better built, and it's advertised as floatable. It also has a better soundstage performance, and it can play stereo content without having to downmix it to mono. While both speakers have companion apps, only the Ultimate Ears has a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization.

JBL Pulse 4

The JBL Pulse 4 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. While the Charge can reproduce a more extended low-bass, the Pulse has a more balanced sound profile, and its soundstage is perceived as more open. It also has customizable RGB lights and a unique transparent design. That said, the Charge has a slightly longer battery life, as well as less latency over Bluetooth, although some apps compensate differently for this.

Beats Pill+

The Beats Pill+ is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Beats can play stereo content, unlike the JBL. However, the JBL is a better-built speaker with longer battery life, lasting over thirteen hours on a single charge. It also has slightly less compression than the Beats at max volume.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Ultimate Ears has a more balanced sound profile and has a full graphic EQ in its companion app. It also has a much wider soundstage and can play stereo content, unlike the JBL. It's a better-built speaker with a slightly longer battery life. However, the JBL has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently.

Sony SRS-XB43

The Sony SRS-XB43 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4 overall. The Sony has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce more bass than the JBL. It features a graphic EQ you can use to customize its sound to your liking. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. Also, it has a longer battery life, lasting around 15 hours from a single charge, though this can vary depending on your usage habits. The JBL is slightly smaller and more portable than the Sony. It also has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Anker has a better-balanced sound profile than the JBL, and you can customize it thanks to the graphic EQ and EQ presets available on its companion app. It can get louder than the JBL and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, you can use the JBL's Connect+ feature to pair up to 100 compatible speakers, which can come in handy if you want your audio to fill a large room without increasing its volume.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2

The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Anker has a somewhat better-balanced sound profile with its BassUp feature enabled and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It has excellent directivity resulting in a wide and natural-sounding soundstage. You can customize its sound to your liking, thanks to the graphic EQ and presets featured in its companion app. That said, the JBL has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage.

Bose SoundLink Color II

The Bose SoundLink Color II is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. Only the Bose has voice assistant capabilities, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono. That said, the JBL has a longer battery life, and it's rated IPX7 for water resistance, meaning it's certified to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, while the Bose is rated IPX4, certifying it to be able to withstand being splashed by water.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Bose is better-built and is rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be protected against direct contact with water for up to three minutes and dust for around two to eight hours. It also has a more neutral sound profile with a more spacious-sounding soundstage than the JBL. Also, it supports voice assistants through your smartphone and does a great job of hearing you from far and in noisy settings. That said, the JBL has fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It also has an incredible battery life lasting over 13 hours from a single charge.

Anker Soundcore 3

The Anker Soundcore 3 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Anker has a better-balanced sound profile and features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, you can pair the JBL to two devices at once, which is handy when you need to switch between audio sources quickly. You can also pair it to another speaker to create a stereo pair or multiple other speakers when you want your audio to fill a large space.

Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST

The Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST is better than the JBL Charge 4. The Ultimate Ears has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it has more sound customization features thanks to its graphic EQ and presets. It can play stereo content, and it has a better soundstage performance. It also has built-in support for Alexa voice assistant over a Wi-Fi connection. However, the JBL has longer battery life.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Charge 4 is a fairly small cylindrical speaker that sits horizontally on a plastic base, like the JBL Charge 5. It comes in twelve color variants, so you can find a look that suits your style. It has a bass radiator on each side, advertised to help produce a more resonant bass sound.

9.1
Design
Portability
Volume
119 inยณ (1,943 cmยณ)
Weight
2.0 lbs (0.9 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL Charge 4 is outstandingly portable. This small battery-powered Bluetooth speaker is pretty lightweight and can be held in one hand, so you can easily bring it along with you when you're out and about.

7.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL Charge 4 has a good build quality. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance that certifies it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Its materials feel pretty solid and sturdy. The body of the speaker is wrapped in a tight fabric and sits horizontally on a small plastic base. The back of the speaker also has a small sealable compartment for the USB and AUX ports.

5.9
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL Charge 4's buttons are clicky, and most are texturized, making them easy to press. You can press the play/pause button twice to skip a track, but you can't go to a previous track. In addition to buttons for adjusting the volume, there's a Bluetooth button and a Connect+ button, which lets you pair up to 100 JBL speakers that have the Connect+ feature. There's a light to indicate the Bluetooth pairing status and lights at the bottom that indicate the battery life. This speaker chimes when you've reached max volume, though there's no prompt for reaching the minimum volume.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Charge 4 speaker
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • User Manual

Sound
5.9
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.60
Std. Err.
5.32 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
61.7 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
7.9 kHz

The JBL Charge 4's frequency response accuracy is sub-par. It has a balanced mid-range that ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. That said, higher-pitched voices and instruments can sound a bit dull and veiled at times. Like most speakers its size, it lacks the deep thump and rumble in low-bass that's typically present in bass-heavy music like hip-hop. Unfortunately, unlike the JBL Charge 5, it doesn't come with a graphic EQ to customize its sound to your liking.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
5.4
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.87 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The JBL Charge 4's soundstage performance is disappointing. It needs to be paired to another unit to play stereo audio and downmixes stereo content to mono when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive. Its directivity is also just okay, so its soundstage is perceived as narrow and directional. The overemphasis in the treble range can also make the soundstage feel uneven. For a JBL speaker with a wider-sounding soundstage, check out the JBL Pulse 4.

6.6
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
84.8 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
2.12 dB

The JBL Charge 4's dynamics are alright. It doesn't get very loud, and there's some compression present at max volume that can degrade audio quality as you increase the speaker's volume, so it isn't suitable for large crowded parties. If you're looking for a portable speaker that can get louder, consider the Anker Soundcore Motion Boom.

Active Features
8.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
13.1 hrs
Charge Time
4.0 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Charge 4 has an excellent battery performance. It's advertised to last around 20 hours off a single charge, but in our tests, it lasted just over thirteen hours. That said, battery life can vary depending on usage. Fortunately, it saves power by shutting off automatically after some time without any audio input.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Portable
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Portable app is alright. It's compatible with iOS and Android, and you can use it to link two speakers to create a stereo pair. It also has a Party Mode feature, letting you connect multiple speakers to amplify the sound in a large space. However, unlike the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3, it lacks an EQ to help you customize the speaker's sound to your liking.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

The JBL Charge 4 has an AUX port, meaning you can use a wired connection between your smartphone and the speaker. You can also use it to charge other devices using its USB-A port. Both ports are on the back of the speaker in a small, sealable compartment.

9.8
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
16 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
15 ms
Bluetooth Range
334.6 ft (102.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL Charge 4 has an outstanding Bluetooth performance. You can pair two devices at a time, which is helpful if you frequently switch the audio source between your phone and your laptop. Its latency with iOS and Android devices is extremely low, making it suitable for watching videos. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, meaning individual experience may vary. It also has an exceptional range, so it can receive input even if your device is far away.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
No
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

Discussions