JBL Charge 4
$179 $129 at Amazon (save $50) (opens in new tab)
Charge by name, charge by nature – the Charge 4's battery is big enough to juice up your phone, so it shouldn't run flat while you're out and about. It's rugged, and water-resistant and sounds great for the money too.
JBL has a long history of great reviews for its Bluetooth speakers, and the Charge 4 is another fine effort. It's a chunky, mid-size unit whose cylindrical design shares a lot with the Boom range from Ultimate Ears. But unlike UE's speakers, it sits on its side rather than its end.
It's built to last. There’s a bulky rubber foot on the bottom and the front and back are covered with a rugged, water-resistant fabric. It can survive being submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m, and unlike some rivals, it'll handle both chlorinated and salty water. So ideal for the pool or beach.
It runs for 20 hours on a single charge, and the large 7500mAh battery means you can play it loud without sacrificing too much longevity. It can also charge up your phone – useful when you're out and about.
The JBL sounds surprisingly classy and refined for a mainstream Bluetooth speaker. There's substance and texture throughout the mids and highs, and excellent clarity. Vocals sound realistic and are projected effortlessly into the mix.
Those who buy the Charge 4 expecting big bombastic bass might be disappointed, but it's hardly a bass-light speaker. The low-end is tasteful, not notably hyped, but with plenty of power and depth.
Read our full JBL Charge 4 review
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