Price (RRP): $199.95
The JBL Charge 4 is a waterproof, mono, Bluetooth speaker offering 30W of power, 20 hours playtime and acts as a power bank. Perfect for those rugged outdoor types.
The JBL Charge 4 is the successor to Charge 3 but adds a whopping 7500mAh battery and multi-point BT.
Regular readers will know that JBL has set out to dominate (in a nice way) the portable Bluetooth speaker market with models like Flip, Pulse, Link (voice activated), PartyBox, Pop and Charge. You can see GadgetGuy’s coverage here.
Review: JBL Charge 4 mono, Bluetooth, Waterproof IPX7, speaker
Before we get into this speaker lets position it – it is a mono Bluetooth speaker, ruggedised, waterproof IPX7 and a huge 20-hour battery that can be a power bank. It does not have Voice Assistance or hands-free calling etc. So, we review it like we would say the Ultimate Ears products – a rough and tumble, take everywhere speaker.
It does have amazing bass via the passive JBL bass radiators at each end. That it achieves the level of bass is almost unheard of for a sealed waterproof device.
It has a single 90 x 50mm transducer (speaker) that delivers a 60Hz-20kHz frequency response from either Bluetooth SBC codec or a 3.5mm audio cable. It is a 1.0 mono speaker.
Maximum claimed volume is 80dB although we got 83dB with minimal harmonic distortion.
How does it sound?
We tried it with the old favourite Blues Brothers Peter Gun Theme (heavy bass) and the Beach Boys Everyone goes Surfing USA (vocals and guitar).
We found bass creeping in at 60Hz and very strong to 500Hz. Mids were nice and flat to about 5kHz and then treble slowly dropped off until 20kHz.
This is warm and sweet – au naturel – with no EQ or electronic psychoacoustics to change it. For a mono waterproof speaker, you cannot get better.
Now let’s segue – audiophiles are going to get riled at the above statement. The JBL Charge 4 is what it is – a rugged mono, outdoor speaker where it is more important to have relatively high volume at low distortion, and a mono sound source does not matter.
If you ask me about stereo BT speakers for indoor use, then it is a far different matter.
The App – JBL Connect+
The app does nothing – zip. OK, it allows party or stereo mode, but there is no EQ. Luckily the natural warm and sweet signature is what you want.
Solid, rugged, waterproof IPX7 (30 minutes in a meter of water) and durable dirt resistant and washable fabric. It semi-floats so if it goes overboard you can retrieve it.