The JBL Charge 4 looks nearly identical to the older Charge 3 but the Charge 4 is slightly bigger and a bit heavier. Its made from the same durable abrasion resistant fabric cover and has an IP67 certification, so it can be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes. Also like the Charge 3, the Charge 4 has JBL’s signature passive radiator on the side.
On a whole, when compared to the competition the Charge 4 has a great design, very durable, extremely functional and practical even though it’s starting to get a bit less portable because of the slight weight gain.
As with previous generations, all the buttons are pretty straightforward at the top of the speaker. For those who are not familiar with JBL, the most notable feature is the JBL Connect Plus feature which allows you to pair multiple JBL Connect Plus speakers at the same time whether it’s the older Charge 3 or you can just mix and match different types of JBL speakers together. If you want a stereo sound experience, you have to have 2 of the same models of speakers.
For the Charge 4, JBL has no longer included a speakerphone so this means you can’t take calls. This is a big surprise especially when you consider that every other speaker on the market has a speakerphone option.
JBL has also gotten rid of the voice assistant option. This is another feature that most of the major competitors have and it works by simply pressing down on some sort of multifunction button to activate Seri or Google assistant. This might be a turn off for some but hopefully, a firmware update can fix this further in the future.
The JBL claims up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. But in real-world, testing at 50% volume, it was only able to achieve just over 9 hours. When compared to speakers like the Sony XB31, the JBL has a slightly larger battery yet you get less playing time than the Sony. JBL has also graciously made the switch to USB-C.
The Charge 4 is running Bluetooth 4.2 technology and it works very well. You will be able to get a wireless range of over 80-feet outdoors which should be enough for the average consumer.
While most of the front-facing Bluetooth speakers on the market have dual drivers like the Charge 3. JBL has Oddly decided to give the Charge 4 a single driver and its located on the right side. This change doesn’t really affect the audio quality and the average consumer won’t be able to tell the difference.
When compared to the Charge 3, the difference in audio is very minimal and with the missing features on the newer Charge 4, it’s hard to see why anyone would want to upgrade if you already have the Charge 3. The Charge 3 also has a bit more bass while the Charge 4 has better clarity.
The newer Charge 4 has a lot more dimension in the audio, so vocals are strong and well pronounced with a lot of clarity give you a more refined audio experience.
When compared to the competition, the Charge 4 is still one of the best performing mid-size Bluetooth speakers on the market. The refined audio just adds more character to the audio experience. The lack of a speakerphone and voice assistant may be a turn off for some. Also, if you already have the Charge 3 there is no need to upgrade to the charge 4. Read Now: Best JBL Bluetooth Speakers To Buy