JBL Charge Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Grey)

Pinned on August 13, 2013 at 8:38 am by Robert Barnhart

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JBL Charge Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Grey)

The JBL Charge delivers unsurpassed portable audio performance from your mobile devices and tablets. It provides more than 12 hours of playback time from its built-in, high-capacity, 6000mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery, and it can even charge your other mobile devices on the go via its built-in USB port. With two 1-5/8-inch (41-millimeter) full-range drivers and a built-in bass port, it produces full-range JBL sound with exceptional bass. It also wirelessly streams audio from any Bluetooth-equipped smartphone or tablet. The JBL Charge wireless speaker is a portable audio powerhouse for any environment.

Features:

Product Features


Comments

TheInvisible says:

Detailed Comparison to the JBL Flip – A Mini Review of the JBL Charge I was really excited about the positive changes JBL made to its new BT Speaker, nicknamed Charge, as much as I was curious about what exactly has been implemented sonic performance wise in comparison to the Flip. I had a chance spending two hours with both units and listening to them side by side. I have to say what I found is quite interesting: the Charge is definitely not just the Flip with a face alteration and weaknesses enhancements; for better or for worse, it feels to me almost like a completely different product.First, Above all, the sound:Granted, they sounded similar, but noticeably different even the first time I turned them on; I felt they almost had a distinctive sound signature when I listened more!It seems JBL has adjusted the built-in DSP: tuned down the highs a few notches and boosted up the lower end; hence, my overall impression about the Charge was that it was more neutral sounding, with just a tiny bit more bass palpable. So did it sound better than the Flip? Hardly!David Carnoy from CNET commented in his timely review that the Charge sounded a bit better than the Flip, but didn’t bother to elaborate. I would say it’s probably a matter of personal preference. To me, with the volume set at 80% and below, the Charge sounded subdued and the added bass was almost negligible in most samples I played, ranging from hip-hop, jazz, ambient, chamber music, country, hard rock to pure vocal. On the other hand, the Flip was significantly brighter, crisp with a sound stage more open. the Charge by no means sounded bad or flat, just quite uncharacteristic, losing the wow factor associated with the Flip. Also, the Flip presented more details – I felt this might have something to do with the reduced highs.JBL redesigned the grille and covered nearly 75% of the speaker with rubber like plastic; hence, the driver opening is much more confined. I would imagine this could lead to the sound image appearing to be smaller. The speaker did sound a tad stifled.If all above is just a personal taste, there is one BIG concrete difference: I was playing Suzanne Vega’s bass heavy Caramel. Almost 2 minutes in, I noticed there was no vocal coming out of the Charge, then I realized somehow, one of the channels wasn’t present or almost muted. Switching to the Flip, I heard both channels loud and clear. I’m not quite sure what’s causing this. I noticed the same issue when I was testing the Logitech UE Boombox the other day.Second, the designIt seems JBL had picked up a few ideas from Philips Shoqbox 7200: I feel that the Charge is redesigned to gear more towards outdoor activities while the Flip bears somewhat more elegant and professional looking. Also, personally, the Flip looks way cooler than the Charge when they are placed vertically.Third, bright spots about the Charge:1. Much longer battery life – we are looking at 5 hours (Flip) vs. 10-12 hours (Charge). The play time is simply doubled on a single charge with the Charge.2. Better charging design: JBL got rid of the bulky AC charger and finally adopted a universal USB charging method on par with other portable BT speakers.3. A USB output allowing you to charge your phone while playing, hence the nicknameAnother change worthy mentioning is that there is no speakerphone function on the Charge speakers.Fourth, the priceThe Charge is currently positioned $50 above FlipsSummary: is the Charge worth the $50 jump or a possible upgrade?The Charge may very well make an overall better package deal than the Flip, with its improvements on charging and the battery life; however, I feel JBL’s fine tuning in the sound department leaves it hard to recommend to people like me who put the sound quality on top of their priority list. Even considering the element of added bass, the Flip simply still sounds better and more exciting to listen to in my opinion. Besides, the Charge looks bulky and unattractive – it almost resembles a poorly designed thermos. Flip, on the other hand, with its minimum use of plastic, looks elegant and classy.Then again, it would all come down to personal preferences in terms of sound, as well as what you want the most out of your portable speaker. To me though, the Flip is still the clear winner of this round.

kap279 says:

Better Value than Bose Soundlink II to non discerning ears I have been looking for a bluetooth speaker for quite awhile now and I initially purchased the Bose Soundlink II. The JBL Charge was not available in a store near me and I opted to purchase a speaker I could listen to in person to determine sound quality and also one that I felt I would have less of a chance of being disappointed with. I didn’t want to order something online without being able to hear it in person. As a result, I bought the Bose Soundlink II about one week ago and I was initially impressed, but as the days wore on I couldn’t help but feel that it didn’t justify the $300 price. In my opinion (I stress the word opinion) the Bose sounded too bass heavy for me, somewhat muddy, and somewhat unnatural in the way that I like my music to sound. If a bass heavy bluetooth speaker is what you are looking for then the Bose is the way to go, but I felt the bass overpowered the vocals as opposed to complemented them. It seemed that the fact the Bose Soundlink II could produce a lot of bass was more important than the way it blended into and accentuated the music.I continued to search for a JBL Charge in store near me and was excited to see that Best Buy just began carrying it. I went to the store and gave it a listen. It sounded pretty good but I’m not one to crank up the volume in store so I purchased it and figured I would compare it to the Soundlink II at my home. I was willing to live with the bass heavy Soundlink II if the maximum volume was noticeably louder than the JBL Charge. I turned both of the speakers up to full volume in my home and began listening to the Charge. Wow, it was louder than I expected, but it couldn’t be as loud as the Bose Soundlink II, could it? I switched over to the Bose and although the Bose may have been louder, it wasn’t by a substantial amount.My initial reaction to the JBL Charge was that the vocals were much more natural sounding to my ears (once again, an opinion). Sure, the bass isn’t as deep, but that doesn’t bother me as much as having too much bass. I continued to switch back and forth between the Bose Soundlink II and JBL Charge to try and pick apart what I did/didn’t like about each. I would notice that when I would switch from the Soundlink II to the Charge I would be somewhat disappointed that the bass wasn’t somewhat stronger on the Charge, but after listening to the Charge for a short time I didn’t notice anymore. I would then switch from the Charge to the Soundlink II and would be disappointed that the voices were somewhat muffled and overpowered by the bass of the speaker. Again, after listening to the Soundlink II for a short time the bass became a normal part of the listening experience for me.Having said that, I personally prefer the sound of the JBL Charge. I think the best way for me to validate this is that when I initially turn on the JBL Charge (going from silence to music) the music sounds natural to my ears. The vocals sound clear and as I expect. Yes, the bass is not nearly as powerful as the Bose, but I don’t want it that powerful. I would much rather have more natural sounding vocals than bass. In addition, the JBL is much more portable and I have much less fear of taking it outside or traveling with it. It seems less likely to get damaged and I am more likely to use it in a variety of circumstances (during home remodeling projects, camping, parties, at a park, internet, and so on). I also appreciate the longer battery life, the ability to charge the speaker via USB or plug, and the ability to charge other devices via USB by plugging them into the speaker.When I initially turn on the Soundlink II I always catch myself thinking that it doesn’t sound quite right. The vocals sound a little muffled and unnatural. Granted, I eventually get used to the sound and enjoy it, but when push comes to shove I prefer the JBL Charge. If I spend $300 on one product and always feel that something isn’t quite right while I spend $150 on another with no issues the decision becomes a no brainer for me. I feel the $150 price point is much more in line with value where the $300 may lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction especially when the sound quality doesn’t measure up to the dollar amount (once again this is an…you guessed it…opinion!!!).Some people may not feel that the Soundlink II and the JBL Charge are an apples to apples comparison, but these were the two speakers I was debating between and this is the review I wanted when researching bluetooth speakers. I am not an audiophile by any means, but I have a preference to how my music sounds as well as a desire to get the most for my money. When I placed the speakers side by side and before I did my initial sound test I was expecting to return the Charge. I thought that as much as the Soundlink II’s vocals sounded muddy to me before it was going to go up against the inferior and half price JBL Charge and bury it. I…


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