In this piece, we offer our JBL Charge 4 power bank waterproof Bluetooth speaker review, features, specs, facts and impressions. We go over this medium sized wireless speaker’s performance, and accessories, as well as how you can charge your mobile devices with its charge port. Note though that this is a mono speaker. So though it has two passive bass radiators, it has just one main driver in the right front area, with 30 watts RMS audio output power.
JBL Charge 4 Power Bank Bluetooth Speaker Review, Features, Specs
Even when playing at highest volume, its 7500 milliamp hour rechargeable battery lasts up to twenty hours per charge. The Charge 4 sounds great and can play decently loud. It has larger bass radiators and thus more thump than speakers in the JBL Flip series. But it has less bass than those in the JBL Xtreme series.
The one downside with the JBL 4, is that its two bass radiators at each end, are still exposed, just like in the Charge 3. But fortunately, especially for outdoor, pool side use, JBL added a flexible coating to them that feels like silicone. This covers the vibrating diaphragms yes. But there’s still no protective, hard grill. So someone could still press them very hard, and possibly break them.
Yet it seems that such a grill would prevent this. Of course though, perhaps JBL found that damage to these parts occurs rarely enough, that they do not want the extra cost of grills.
Other than this, the JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker is a great buy, for just over $130 US dollars.
We detail the speaker’s good and bad points below. And, after you consider all that, you’ll likely think as we do, that the JBL Charge 4 is a useful Bluetooth speaker and power bank. So go ahead and buy one this summer to take ocean side. It really spices up most any small to medium sized party.
Charge 4 JBL Bluetooth Speaker Advantages, Benefits, Pros, and Features
As we’d expect from JBL, this Bluetooth speaker has more advantages than disadvantages. Next, we give what we found to be its high points.
Built In Pedestal Stand
The Charge 4, when laid horizontally, does not roll as much as the Flip models. Why? Because it has an attached stand, as shown next.
This boot-like perch stops most speaker rolling when you sit the speaker on flat, level surfaces. It also keeps the grill cloth surrounding much of the speaker from touching the ground and getting dirty.
Lots of Useful Controls on the JBL Charge 4
This fourth version of the JBL Charge wireless speaker has six buttons. These include Power, Play-Pause, Volume UP and DOWN, Pairing, and Connect+. See these in the next picture.
Lighted Power and Bluetooth Lamps
Note the glowing white Power button on this Charge JBL 4 in the picture just above. When you power the speaker on, this button lights white, meaning that the speaker is ON.
The Bluetooth button, just to the right of the Power button, also glows solid white when the speaker is paired with a BT source device like a phone or tablet. This lamp blinks white when the speaker is not paired but in pairing mode. And finally it is dark when the speaker is not paired, and is also not in pairing mode.
So, these lamps along with the battery gauge lights (discussed below) give a complete speaker status readout.
Splash Proof and Waterproof
This JBL splash proof speaker can take a few drops of water, and you can even submerge it in water for up to thirty minutes without hurting it. Just be sure that the charge port door is all the way closed. If it is not, water could get inside and damage the components. Rain will not harm this IPX7 device, even if drops get into the driver openings.
If you drop the speaker into a swimming pool, river, or lake, just rinse it off with fresh tap water when the party is over.
Built in Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
The battery fully charges in about four hours via the USB-C power port. With medium play volumes, this battery lasts roughly twenty hours per charge.
Battery Status Lights
The Charge 4 has a five LED battery level gauge. When you power the speaker on, one or more lamps light to show how full the power bank battery is. The more lamps that light, the more power the battery has.
To save juice, these lamps turn off after a few seconds. But you can read them again by pressing the volume UP or DOWN keys on the top of the unit, when the speaker is turned on. Note that during recharging, these lamps show battery charge level, whether the speaker is ON or OFF.
Sealed USB-C Charge In and USB-A Out Ports
How to charge this BT speaker? The JBL Charge 4 has a port cover, as shown above. Open this by prying with a fingernail, key, or coin, and find the USB-C power port inside on the left. Then, connect the speaker with any 2.3 amp or higher USB charger (not included) with the accessory USB-A to USB-C cable (included). Plug your adapter into AC power, and let charge for around four hours or so.
JBL USB-C Charging Cable Included
The cord that came with ours is black in color, and is about 48 inches long. It’s quite flexible to boot. Plus, you use this cable not only for recharging the Charge 4. It also works when recharging a mobile device that has a USB-C charging input, such as a phone or tablet.
Any Full Power USB Charger Works
JBL sells a 5 volt 2.3 amp AC USB adapter. We use this power adapter, and it works well on the Charge 4. Note though, that the Charge 4 package does not include this adapter. Sold separately.
Recharges your Mobile Devices, Phones, Tablets, and Other Speakers
The built-in 7.5 amp-hour power bank battery acts as an on-the-go power supply to recharge many portable devices. These must accept USB level charging voltages and currents. The larger of the two power ports on the speaker (the USB A connector) provides the right power for external device charging.
To charge a mobile device from the speaker, power up the speaker. Then connect a high current USB cord between this port and that device. In our tests, charging from the speaker seems to go as quickly as when charging from an AC adapter.
The Charge 4 holds enough reserve power to fully charge phones, some tablets, keyboards, and yes, other Bluetooth speakers.
But depending on the size of device that you’re recharging, the JBL Charge 4 may not have enough power to fully charge it, even when the speaker is itself fully charged. We found that a fully charged Charge 4 charged our iPad Air 2 tablet from one to fifty-seven percent full, before running dead just over two hours after the iPad charging began. Still though, the a fully charged Charge 4 has plenty of juice to fully recharge a smaller phone or other less power hungry USB devices.
High Excursion Passive Bass Radiators
You can easily see the ends of this speaker (the passive radiators) moving while playing bassy music and spoken word recordings.
You get 30 watts of RMS audio power from this single channel speaker. You can also connect this speaker to other compatible JBL speakers to form a stereo pair. Do this with the JBL Connect+ app (discussed below). In that app, you can instantly reverse channels right from your phone.
Or, connect them in party mode with other compatible JBL BT speakers, so that each speaker plays the same content.
This speaker, and other JBL Connect Plus compatible models, can link together in a single group that allows more than a hundred JBL Connect+ speakers to join.
Multiple Bluetooth Sources
Supports up to two streaming mobile devices paired at the same time. This allows quick playing music from different libraries. Or, two people can take turns playing their favorite songs over this speaker.
JBL Connect+ Support, JBL Connect Plus Compatible
You can stream to more than one speaker at the same time with speakers that support the JBL Connect+ app. This is like Google Chromecast or Amazon’s Multi Room Music feature. Both of these allow streaming the same content to multiple speakers together. The Connect Plus app also allows tweaking of some speaker settings on a per speaker basis. This app also checks for and installs new firmware updates on the speaker, and shows overall speaker status.
Comes in Many Colors
You can buy the JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker and power bank in many colors, including red, blue, black, gray, white, mustard yellow, pink, sand, camo, squad, and teal (aqua).
Charge 4 JBL Portable Splash Proof Bluetooth Speaker Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, Drawbacks, and Limitations
Cloth Grill can Easily Soil
While handling this speaker on the beach, you might get sand and dirt in the grill. But you can remove these with a garden hose spray. Just squirt off the speaker.
No Case Included
Some cases for the JBL Charge 4 are available online though for less than $15. Here is an example of a typical case for this speaker.
See a decent sized selection of cases for the Charge 4 here, at amazon.com.
No Speakerphone Function
Though paired with a smartphone, you cannot answer calls with buttons on the JBL Charge 4.
May Not Fully Recharge All Mobile Devices
We found that after fully charging our Charge 4, that it only recharged our iPad Air twenty percent higher than it was, before the speaker ran dead. So, it doesn’t fully charge ALL our mobile devices fully. But you do get enough power to wrap up whatever it was you were doing before your phone / tablet battery runs down.
No Smart Assistant Support
When paired with phones that support these voice assistants, some speakers let you access these assistants through them with a button press. But not the Charge 4.
The Treble Frequencies are Weak
We find that the high frequencies in the audio are a bit muddy and subdued from the Charge 4. Perhaps the addition of a tweeter would fix this in the next version.
JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker Specifications
Our Rating of the JBL Charge 4 BT Speaker
We find the JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth speaker a decent value, even though it does not provide stereo sound, smart assistant access, or speakerphone functions. But it does supply lots of solid bass. We heard low distortion on it, even at highest volume.
It’s advanced, yes. But this is a well built wireless waterproof speaker. It never crashes and rarely stops playing, has a lot of range, and works well even when nearby radio interference sources are strong. We appreciate its power bank function. While you can’t charge bigger mobile devices to full with the Charge 4, it does offer enough power to get you through an emergency.
Over all, we like the workmanship and well-thought design of this JBL Bluetooth product. Its bass enhancing diaphragms and acoustic design make it an acceptable high fidelity speaker. So we rate the Charge 4 by JBL at 90 out of 100.
Where to Buy the JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker
This speaker currently retails for $139.95. But we bought ours at Best Buy for roughly $90 on Black Friday. But you can also find it on Amazon and eBay among other outlets.
Other Posts About the JBL Charge 4 Power Bank Speaker
- Charge 4 Hard Reset Instructions
- Updating Firmware on the Charge 4 Speaker, How To
- JBL Charge 4 Charging Instructions, How to Recharge
- Charge 4 Speaker Charger Adapter Specs
- JBL Charge 4 Review, Specs and Features
- Finding Charge 4 Speaker Firmware Version
- Charge 4 Low Frequency Mode, How to Turn On
- How to Adjust Volume on JBL Charge 4 BT Speaker
- Charge 4 JBL Firmware Update Instructions
- JBL Charge 4 Buttons Guide, What Each Button Does
- How to Pair Charge 4 BT Speaker with Alexa Echo Speakers
- JBL Charge 4 Buttons Guide, What Each Button Does
Some of Our Other Reviews
- JBL Flip 2 Review and Features of this Bluetooth Speaker
- JGB Tuff Guard Garden Hose (PGH) Review
- JBL Flip 3 Review of this Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Review and Features of the JBL Clip 3 Speaker
- JBL Charge 3 Speaker Review, Features, Specs
- FLEXON CX3475 Heavy Duty Garden Hose Review
- JBL Flip 4 Review of this Portable Waterproof Speaker
- Honeywell RTH9580WF Color Thermostat Review
- XHose Expandable Garden Hose Review
- Terro Ant Baits Review, Terro Liquid Ant Baits
References for JBL Charge 4 Review
- 2020-04-27: First published.