JBL Charge Portable Bluetooth Speaker
After well-received $99 Flips and $59 Micro Wireless, there comes another portable Bluetooth speaker the JBL Charge at $149. The JBL Charge is bigger than the Flip but is a nice trade for you if you want a little better sounding portable Bluetooth speaker without increasing in size and price.
Its name Charge is given because of the fact that it is wireless speaker for sure, but you can use its USB port to charge other portable devices such as tablet or smartphone using its built-in 6,000mAh lithium ion battery.
The Charge is one of the better sounding speakers for its price and size, while all other compact speakers have their sound limitations. But on the other hand, more compact ones such as Jawbone Jambox, Longitech UE Mobile Boombox and the Flip, are also more portable and easy to carry outdoor. They also provide speakerphone capabilities. The Charge lacks speakerphone capabilities but its slightly better overall performance tempts a lot of people to spend the extra $50 or so.
Design and Features:
In the current generation of portable Bluetooth speakers, the rugged design of JBL Charge wireless speaker follows the encouraging trend of durability. The solid and robust build allows consumers to play precariously with their sonic toys. The rough and tumble plastic coating and vivid color pattern gives the Bluetooth speaker a sporty aesthetic. Like a lot of speakers, while the JBL Charge wireless speaker doesn’t claim to be water-resistant but its exterior and build feels solid enough to drop it from a good height or flip it against the wall or without disastrous repercussions.
You can place this cylindrical speaker vertically or horizontally like the Flip but you have to take care standing it up correctly as its one side is vented and you don’t want to cover the port. Dual strips of rubber padding at speaker’s base keep it stable when oriented lengthwise and it has flat rim at the sides that allow it to rest vertically, providing a linear and convenient path for the sound.
Inside the right flank, there is a metal speaker screen nestled, which reveals the speaker’s bass port. At the top or side of the speaker, there is a dual-button control set including a volume toggle button and a power/pairing button. The JBL wireless speaker is 6 inches long and 2 inches wide and also feels pretty solid in hand.
The JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker, which is available in multiple colors, is technically a stereo speaker with a 2×5-watt amplifier with a frequency range of 150Hz-20kHz and two 1-5/8 inch full-range drivers. The aforementioned built-in 6,000mAh lithium ion battery serves about 12 playback hours from a single charge. Its battery life is about double to that the Flip offers. The battery life, of course, varies according to the level of volume you set.
There is a USB port on the non-ported side of the speaker. By connecting any USB charging cable, you can use the JBL wireless speaker as an external battery pack for charging. The JBL Bluetooth speaker also features an auxiliary input for you to connect non Bluetooth-enabled audio devices using an optional cable.
The JBL Charge portable Bluetooth speaker doesn’t support apt-X, a technology that improves the sound quality of Bluetooth, and NFC for automatic pairing. Both are a minor omission as they are not going to make a noticeable difference in such a size speaker.
The JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker comes with a protective neoprene carrying case which is not fancy but nice. On the other hand, the AC adapter that comes with the JBL Charger portable Bluetooth speaker is pretty generic looking. As the unit charges with a standard Micro-USB cable, this means that any standard tablet charger should juice up the Charge itself.
The JBL Charge portable Bluetooth speaker provides some of the brawniest velocity and rich definition in its class. It blasts out of the room at full volume and also easily cuts through outdoor ambience. The speaker offers punchy and bright upper register and emerges itself as victor for vast majority of musical genres, producing fluid clarity and potent detail.
Many people are impressed by the amount of sound generated by these small speakers and the JBL Charge portable Bluetooth wireless speaker does sound big and loud. It offers some punch and decent clarity to the bass. But you can’t expect open sound, incredibly rich with room-rattling bass.
And because the drivers are so close together, if you stand away from them more than a few feet, you will get very little in way of stereo separation and you are essentially listening to mono sound. Nearly all of these little speakers work best with less-demanding acoustical material but JBL Charge wireless Bluetooth speaker sounds a bit restrained with tracks having big bass lines.
Your favorite singer-songwriter will sound good. The JBL Charge portable speaker does sound better than a lot of other mini Bluetooth speakers with the price range $80-$150. It gives you somewhat bigger sound and more pronounced bass than the Flip. And it also does sound comparatively clean unless you don’t feed it ultra heavy bass and crank the volume too much.
If you put it in the corner of a room or near a wall to get some reflection, it will improve the bass response but you can’t expect it to handle big bass without distortion.
• Clear and detailed sound
• User-friendly design
• Durable body armor
• High max volume
• Mediocre bass response
• Light feature set for its price
With its vigorous display, sporty design and unflappable exterior shell, the JBL Charge portable wireless Bluetooth speaker is a worthy successor to the Flip. If you put it up against several different speakers, it is almost similar to the ShoqBox SB7300 and ShoqBox SB 7200. While the moderately priced Philips SB 7200 is built to withstand impacts better and is more rugged, the JBL Charge offers more in the way of clarity and sound bigger and better overall.