JBL Charge 4 vs. Flip 4: Which Bluetooth speaker should you buy?
JBL Charge 4
The JBL Charge 4 is literally a powerhouse. It can act as a power bank to charge your phone while you jam out to tunes very loudly. The sound profile isn't exactly well-balanced, but if you're listening outdoors or just pumping jams for a party, it's more than passable.
JBL Charge 4
The bigger, the better
JBL Flip 4
JBL's smaller Flip 4 is a perfectly portable speaker with great sound, even though its bass response is lacking. It's also technically a smart Bluetooth speaker with speakerphone support and smart voice commands through Google Assistant and Siri.
JBL Flip 4
Smaller but fierce
The JBL Charge 4 vs. Flip 4 battle represent two of the best shower speakers available today thanks to their IPX7 water resistance and powerful audio. Yet the Flip 4 puts more emphasis on lightweight mobility and smart features, while the Charge 4 gives you pure, powerful audio. We're here to help you decide which Bluetooth speaker should be at the center of your pool parties, bathtime, or living room.
JBL Charge 4 vs. Flip 4: Connected sound
JBL generally has solid connectivity options for its Bluetooth speakers. Both the Charge 4 and Flip 4 use Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, and let you connect two smartphones to them simultaneously, so different folks can switch off choosing the music. You can also sync together multiple JBL speakers together via Bluetooth for stereo sound, or physically link one up to another using the 3.5mm audio input port.
Where the Charge 4 stands apart is its USB-C port, which doubles as a charging port and power bank. Along with refilling battery life, the USB-C slot can also charge your phone or other USB-C-compatible devices using whatever juice the Charge 4 has. Combine this with streaming and your Charge 4 will quickly burn through its stored energy, but that doesn't prevent it from being a useful feature.
On the flipside (pun intended), the Flip 4 has its own connectivity tricks. Specifically, it links up with your smartphone to serve as your own smart speaker. You can press the top button to ask Siri or Google Assistant questions, or you can answer calls through the Flip 4 thanks to its built-in mics.
Of the two, the Flip 4's smart features are arguably more useful. You can always invest in a separate USB-C power bank or portable charger that'll charge your devices more quickly with more energy to spare, but a waterproof speakerphone that'll answer your questions is more rare.
Just keep in mind that the JBL Flip 4 doesn't have true Google Assistant for connecting to and commanding other smart home tech. For that, you'd need one of the JBL Link devices, or a Google Assistant smart speaker.
JBL Charge 4 vs. Flip 4: Sounding off on the audio
The real defining factors between these speakers are their sizes. The Charge 4 is over 2 pounds, making it less portable, while the Flip 4 is only just over a pound. In terms of sound, these are both hard 7s out of 10, with the Charge 4 having better base and the Flip 4 having better highs. Here's how they compare in specs.
|Header Cell - Column 0||JBL Charge 4||JBL Flip 4|
|Dimensions||8.66" x 3.74" x 3.66"||6.89" x 2.67" x 2.76"|
|Weight||2.12 pounds||1.14 pounds|
|Battery life||Up to 20 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Charge time||4 hours||3.5 hours|
|Maximum output||30W||2 x 8W|
|Number of drivers||1||2 (stereo)|
|Frequency response||60Hz – 20kHz||70Hz - 20kHz|
|Number of color options||10||6|
|3.5 mm audio cable input||Yes||Yes|
|Integrated Siri and Google Now||No||Yes|
Most of the above spec differences are simply due to the difference in size between the Charge 4 and Flip 4. Of course, the larger speaker will have the larger battery and drivers, making for longer battery life and a wider frequency range. That, of course, also means the larger speaker is considerably heavier, which you should factor into your decision if you plan on taking it everywhere with you.
IPX7 water resistance simply means both speakers can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes without harm. The "X" value refers to dust ingress, which means it has not been tested for that.
As mentioned, in terms of sound, both of these speakers are quite good, though they each come just shy of greatness. The size of the Charge 4 lends itself to powerful bass, but that, unfortunately, muddies up the highs, especially when you're listening in smaller rooms. It also has a single driver, so it lacks the stereo effect of the previous Charge 3 and Flip 4. It makes up for it with a passive radiator that really amplifies the bass. The Flip 4 has weaker bass, simply because its drivers are smaller, though its midrange to high end is crisp and clear.
JBL Charge 4 vs. Flip 4: Size matters
Both speakers also provide reasonably good speakerphone quality, with some background noise cancelation. So the true deciding factor here is, as mentioned, is size. Do you want a large, loud speaker that isn't exactly ideal for popping in your backpack and taking off (though it does have the ability to charge your other devices)? Or do you want a smaller speaker that's great for in the house and by the pool but couldn't exactly power a full-on party?
For our money, the Charge 4 is the best option because it's likely that the times you'll be lugging it around in a backpack will be few and far between, and the option to have sound louder is always better. In that way, it's just more versatile. It also has a 7,500mAh battery pack inside so it can charge your phone through the included USB-C port. Win, win!
Loud and large
30W of powerful sound
With 20-hour battery life and larger-than-life sound for its size, the Charge 4 is the perfect speaker for enjoying tunes in the living room, by the pool, and anywhere else the party might take you. It may be lacking in the treble department, but we'll give it a pass since it charges our phones.
Fun for less
Ask it anything
The smaller Flip 4 boasts a portable build, good stereo sound and solid battery life, making it a worthy contender even if it doesn't get quite loud enough. Plus, it lets you ask Google Assistant or Siri questions and answer your phone calls through the speaker.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.