JBL Charge 4 Review

JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Once in a while MajorHiFi gets its figurative paws on a fine Bluetooth speaker.  The new Charge 4 from JBL is one such beast – offering 20 hours of battery life, waterproof design, and a bumping sound.  And all for a tasty $149.  But is there any reason not to snatch one up?  MajorHiFi investigates.

JBL Charge 4 Review

JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker Review

The Charge 4 is not considerably larger or heavier than it’s predecessor, the JBL Charge 3.  However, the Charge 4 seems a more premium device thanks to some impressive design choices.

Rated IPX7 for waterproofing, this rough and ready speaker can be submerged, splashed, and spritzed.  It’s waterproof, dust-proof, possibly drop-proof, and seems to be pretty much everything-else-proof, too.

Buttons on the top of the unit allow a user to adjust volume or control playback.  Meanwhile, on the back of the speaker, a gasket-sealed latch allows access to different ports.  There’s a USB-C port for charging the internal battery, as well as a USB-A port for charging a phone or tablet on the go.  But there’s also a 3.5 mm AUX input port for folks who need a wired connection.

The faster USB-C charging is a nice touch, allowing that 20-hour battery to charge in just four hours.

Using Bluetooth 4.2, the Charge 4 supports A2DP v1.3 and AVRCP v1.6 codecs.  Connecting to the unit remains disconcertingly simple.  Via JBL’s proprietary app, you can upgrade the software or control playback with additional daisy-chain connected speakers.  This allows multiple JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speakers to be used in place of a traditional multi-speaker system, marrying wireless portability with surprisingly good sound.


Bluetooth® version: 4.2
Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6
Transducer: 50 x 90mm
Rated power: 30W RMS
Frequency response: 60Hz–20kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio: >80dB
Battery type: Lithium-ion Polymer 27Wh
(Equivalent to 3.6V 7800mAh)
Battery charge time: 4 hours (5V/2.3A)
Music playtime: up to 20 hours (varies by
volume level and audio content)
USB charge out: 5V/2A (maximum)
Bluetooth® transmitter power: 0-20dBm
Bluetooth® transmitter frequency range:
2.402 – 2.480GHz
Bluetooth® transmitter modulation:
Dimension (W × D × H): 220 x 95 x 93mm
Weight: 965g

As you can see from these specs, the JBL Charge 4 offers a fairly standard frequency range.  Battery life, as outlined before, reaches a mad-decent 20 hours.  But the real kicker here is sheer volume – the Charge 4 gets LOUD.  So all of my coworkers can hear Chet Baker or Robyn’s new album, HONEY, blasting from my desk.


Meaty and full, the sound of the JBL Charge 4 sports good, detailed lows with an excellent bass response.  Fat and thick with excellent control and tons of precise contrast, that bass comes in with a flourish and steals the whole show.

Mids remain surprisingly okay, though they might sound just a little thin at times.  Really, though, there’s also perhaps a whisper of distortion in there, as well, leading to a slightly wonky, off-kilter feeling.  Not exactly a dealbreaker, as this tiny hiccup does little to derail the otherwise-fantastic sound.

In the high end, the JBL Charge 4 displays some sparkling detail, though the highest highs may still seem a bit thin.  Considering the price, this is more than forgivable, and the highs still manage to work quite well with those rocking, schlocking lows.

In term of a soundstage?  The JBL Charge 4 offers some depth, but does a poor job rendering an impression of finite space.   Of course, this does improve somewhat with a multi-speaker setup, but single-unit users may find the sound less than spacious.

JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Other Observations

There’s so much energy and volume (as well as a world-class low end) to the JBL Charge 4.  Though I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Extreme 4, the Charge 4 may really be where it’s at; portability and fast charging a huge bonus here, eliminating many of the issues that would prevent someone from enjoying a heavier, more burdensome speaker on the move.

JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker Review


If you need to save some coin, you could obviously opt for the JBL Flip 4 ($89) or even the older, perhaps-discounted Charge 3 ($129).  However, the updated battery, faster charging time, and updated sound give the Charge 4 a distinct level of quality that cannot be matched.  And at $149, the difference in price seems like a trivial amount alongside the upgraded features.

Final Analysis

Is there a reason not to run out and buy the JBL Charge 4?  Maybe if you don’t need a Bluetooth speaker.  However, the features and sound will still recommend this to anyone with even the slightest interest in portable sound.  If you’re in the market for a speaker, you can’t do much better for 150 smackaroos.  But if you’re just curious how good a Bluetooth speaker can sound, you should definitely check it out.

Get the JBL Charge 4 for the best price here:



MAJORHIFI may get a commission from retail offers.

Compare the ranking of various headphones, earbuds and in-ear monitors using our tools.

Discuss this, and much more, over on our forum.

MAJORHIFI may receive commissions from retail offers.
Previous articleJBL Charge 3 vs JBL Charge 4 Review
Next articleJBL Charge 4 vs JBL Flip 4 Review
Carroll is a headphone junkie residing in Brooklyn. He's a huge fan of Grado, UK hip hop, and the English Language in general. When not testing audio equipment or writing, you'll find him taking photographs or fiddling with circuit boards. You can contact him at carroll@majorhifi.com.