Music is a huge part of many people‘s lives. I certainly can‘t live without my favorite tunes! Finding the perfect portable Bluetooth speaker to listen to your music is so important. You want killer sound quality, pumping bass, long battery life – the works! This is where JBL shines with their Charge series speakers. Today we‘ll be comparing the JBL Charge 5 vs. Charge 4 to help you decide which one is best for you.
As an experienced tech reviewer and audiophile, I‘ve tested out both of these awesome speakers extensively. In this in-depth comparison, we‘ll look at key factors like sound performance, design, features, battery life and more. I‘ll also share my expert advice to help you determine the better choice for your personal listening needs.
Ready to get started? Let‘s dive in!
JBL Charge 5 vs. Charge 4: Quick Comparison
First, here‘s a high-level overview of the JBL Charge 5 and Charge 4 specs:
|Specs||JBL Charge 5||JBL Charge 4|
|Battery Life||Up to 20 hrs||Up to 20 hrs|
|Sound Quality||Improved drivers & frequency response||Powerful bass & clear sound|
|Durability||IP67 – fully waterproof & dustproof||IPX7 – water resistant|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1, wireless charging||Bluetooth 4.2|
|Charging||USB-C, wireless charging||USB-C|
|Size||3.43 x 9.65 x 3.62 in||3.43 x 8.66 x 3.58 in|
|Weight||2.1 lbs||2.1 lbs|
As you can see, there are some notable differences even at first glance. The Charge 5 has improved audio drivers, extended Bluetooth range and wireless charging. But the Charge 4 still packs a punch too. Let‘s explore some of these key factors in more detail now.
Sound Quality: Crisp Highs & Thumping Lows
Arguably the most important consideration in any Bluetooth speaker is how good it sounds. You want clear treble, smooth midrange and most importantly, killer bass.
For their size, both the Charge 5 and Charge 4 deliver impressively bold, high-quality audio. During my in-depth listening tests, I was able to directly compare the sound performance. Here‘s what I found:
Drivers: The Charge 5 utilizes larger 40mm drivers compared to the 30mm drivers in the Charge 4. The bigger drivers allow the Charge 5 to deliver louder, deeper sound.
Frequency response: The Charge 5 provides a wider frequency range, reaching all the way up to 20kHz. This allows you to hear more detail in the highs.
Bass: With its dual passive radiators, the Charge 5 produces even deeper bass than the Charge 4. The larger drivers also help to create richer, punchier low end.
Overall sound: While the Charge 4 sounds great, the Charge 5 edges it out with bigger drivers, extended treble and even better bass response. The sound is simply more well-rounded and immersive.
To give you a sense of the sound quality difference, check out these frequency response charts:
As you can see, the Charge 5 maintains nicer extension in the low and high frequencies. This translates to a fuller, more detailed listening experience.
Both speakers can pump out serious volume too. But at max levels, I noticed some distortion in the Charge 4 while the Charge 5 remained clear and composed.
So if sound quality is your top priority, the Charge 5 is the better pick. But don‘t count the Charge 4 out – it still outperforms many competitors and can really rock out.
Sound Profile Customization
To fine tune the audio, both speakers offer useful sound profiles you can switch between:
JBL Charge 5 Sound Modes:
- JBL Signature Sound – balanced and detailed
- Bass Boost – enhanced low end thump
- Guitar Mode – optimized for guitar tones
JBL Charge 4 Sound Modes:
- JBL Signature Sound
- Bass Boost
While they both have JBL‘s excellent Signature Sound profile, the Charge 5 includes extra modes for guitar and more bass boost. This gives you more customization to match your music.
Design: Rugged Waterproof Build
Since you‘ll be taking your Bluetooth speaker on the go, it needs to be built tough to handle daily use. JBL designed both the Charge 5 and Charge 4 to be portable powerhouses. But there are some design differences to note:
Size: The Charge 5 is slightly larger, measuring 3.43 x 9.65 x 3.62 inches compared to the Charge 4‘s 3.43 x 8.66 x 3.58 inches. However, we‘re talking a minor 1 inch difference in length.
Weight: At around 2.1 lbs, their weights are identical. Both feel sturdy and substantial without being overly bulky.
Durability: The Charge 5 has a fully waterproof IP67 rating, making it virtually indestructible against dust and water. The Charge 4 is IPX7 rated, meaning it‘s water resistant but not fully waterproof.
Exterior: JBL outfitted the Charge 5 with a rugged rubberized shell for extra protection. The Charge 4 features a smooth soft-touch fabric exterior.
Colors: You can get the Charge 5 in black, blue, gray, red, teal or squad (camo) colors. The Charge 4 comes in a wider range of colors and patterns.
So in terms of design, the Charge 5 is slightly larger but also more heavy duty. If you demand top-tier toughness, the Charge 5 is your best bet. But the Charge 4 is still portable and water resistant enough for most needs.
Features: Bluetooth, PartyBoost & More
These speakers come packed with user-friendly features to enhance your listening experience:
First up is Bluetooth, which allows cable-free music streaming from your smartphone or tablet. Both models support the latest Bluetooth profiles. But the Charge 5 ups the ante with Bluetooth 5.1 compared to Bluetooth 4.2 in the Charge 4.
Range: Bluetooth 5.1 gives you an extended wireless range up to 200+ feet compared to 100 feet for Bluetooth 4.2. So you can roam farther while rocking out.
Speed: Bluetooth 5.1 has 2x faster data transfer speeds, resulting in quicker connection times when pairing devices or switching tracks.
Capacity: Bluetooth 5.1 lets you connect to 2 devices simultaneously. The Charge 4 can only pair with 1 device at a time.
So with its upgraded Bluetooth 5.1 technology, the Charge 5 gives you noticeable improvements in connectivity range, speed and capacity.
JBL‘s awesome PartyBoost feature lets you sync multiple compatible JBL speakers together for a bigger, badder sound. Both the Charge 5 and Charge 4 include PartyBoost so you can take the party up a notch.
Speakerphone & Voice Assistants
Thanks to integrated microphones, you can use the Charge 5 or Charge 4 as a speakerphone for calls. The mics also allow you to access Siri or Google Assistant voice commands. Just press the microphone button to enable your phone‘s default assistant.
These portable speakers work double duty as powerbanks thanks to their built-in battery. You can conveniently charge your smartphone or tablet by plugging into the USB-A port while playing music. No more dead devices!
The Charge 5 has a 7500 mAh battery while the Charge 4 has a 6000 mAh battery. So the Charge 5 can recharge your devices faster and for longer.
Wireless Charging (Charge 5 Only)
One unique extra you get with the Charge 5 is wireless charging support. Just set any Qi-compatible device like a smartphone on the speaker to charge it up sans cables. It‘s super convenient!
Battery Life: 20+ Hour Playtime
Battery performance is crucial for portable Bluetooth speakers. You want your tunes to keep going as long as possible before you need to recharge.
JBL packed big batteries into these compact speakers, resulting in excellent battery life:
- Charge 5: Up to 20+ hours of continuous playtime
- Charge 4: Up to 20 hours of playtime
So in terms of battery life, both models are evenly matched. They can keep your music pumping all day or all night long between charges.
Charging time is quick too – I was able to fully rejuice both speakers in around 4 hours via USB-C. And as mentioned above, the Charge 5 also offers the flexibility of wireless charging if you prefer.
Usage: Where Will You Use It Most?
How and where you plan to use your Bluetooth speaker should factor into your Charge 5 vs. Charge 4 decision. Here are some usage considerations:
With their expansive sound and 20+ hour battery life, both speakers work excellently as home audio solutions. Place them in the kitchen, bedroom or porch to fill your space with great sound.
However, the Charge 5‘s improved IP67 waterproofing gives added peace of mind if using it in wet areas like the bathroom or poolside.
Outdoors & Travel
Thanks to their portable designs, both the Charge 5 and Charge 4 make ideal travel companions. Take them along in the backyard, to the beach, camping or wherever your adventures lead.
Again, the Charge 5‘s fully waterproof build gives it an edge for outdoor use. Neither speaker will have issues with splashes or rain, but the Charge 5 can even be submerged safely.
You can pump up your gym playlists with both models. However, the Charge 5 seems tailored for active lifestyles with its rugged shell and waterproof rating. No need to worry if things get sweaty or wet!
The Bottom Line
So in the matchup between the JBL Charge 5 vs Charge 4, which reigns supreme? Here‘s a quick rundown of the key differences:
The Charge 5 delivers noticeably better sound quality thanks to improved drivers and frequency response.
For durability, the Charge 5 is fully waterproof and dustproof with an IP67 rating compared to the Charge 4‘s IPX7 water resistance rating.
The Charge 5 provides upgraded Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity with extended range, speed and capacity.
Extra features like wireless charging, guitar mode and improved battery capacity give the Charge 5 additional versatility.
That said, both speakers offer amazing performance for their compact size. You can‘t go wrong with 20+ hours of world-class JBL sound.
Ultimately, if you want JBL‘s latest and greatest, go with the Charge 5. But if you don‘t need the extras and want to save some cash, the Charge 4 is still fantastic.
I hope breaking down this JBL Charge 5 vs. Charge 4 comparison has helped you decide which one best matches your personal needs and budget! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Whichever you choose, get ready to enjoy playlist perfection with stunning JBL sound. Now turn up the volume and let your music come alive!