JBL Charge Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review


Want to throw the best Barbeque? Get a JBL Charge, it’s an outstanding little speaker that booms fantastically high quality audio wirelessly over Bluetooth. All of your friends can take turns streaming music wirelessly from their phones, and not only that, they can charge their phones while they’re at it too. The JBL Charge has a USB port and a built-in 6000mAh battery. It’s the wow-factor for your barbecues and parties.

What attracted us to the JBL charge wasn’t the tech features, but rather the nifty and unique design. It’s similar to the form of the JBL flip, but it has a redesigned appearance that seriously pops. The edges are smoothed out and almost futuristic in style. Our model is two-tone light blue and ultra-clean white. The light colors keeps it cool in the sun.

In terms of usability, the design is simple. There’s an on/off/pairing button, two volume buttons, an LED status light, and a few ports. There’s full USB-out for charging any USB device, there’s a standard micro-USB port for charging the Charge itself, and an auxiliary cable for plugging music straight in.

Using the Charge couldn’t be easier. Hold the power button and you’ll hear a series of beeps that sounds like a broadcast signal, you’re now ready to pair. Unfortunately the JBL Charge doesn’t have track controls, but it does have volume controls. They’re independent from your device audio. To charge your phone, tablet, or USB device, simply plug the USB cable straight into the JBL Charge.

There’s a gigantic 6000mAh battery sitting in Charge. Of course it shares this battery between the speaker and charging devices. With 6000mAh you can either get 12 hours of nonstop playback, or about 4 full iPhone charges.

The audio quality? Magnifico. And loud too! For it’s size it has fabulous audio reproduction and range. Music is very clear even at high volumes. The bass is bassy and responsive and the mid-range audio is nice and detailed. It’s definitely powerful enough to provide ample tunes at a small party or outdoor event. The Bluetooth range is better than average, you can get near the 30 foot range before audio starts to cutout.

There’s a lot of portable Bluetooth Speakers out there right now. Until the JBL charge came out our favorite portable speaker was the JBL Flip. The top notch audio quality is right on par, but the Flip lacks the 6000mAh battery and charging capabilities as well as the Charge’s awesomely colorful and smooth design. At $149.99 the Philips Charge is pricey, but is a product that can easily pay itself off. Compare it to the similarly priced Jambox or $200 Beats Pill and the price tag won’t sound too bad. The JBL Charge is currently available from Amazon in gray, green, and blue. It comes with a neoprene carrying case and a micro-USB charging cable.

The Good: Sweet Design, 6000 mAh battery for playing and charging, Fantastic audio quality, Great Bluetooth range, Loud, 12 Hour Battery, Easy to use, Micro-USB charging, Neoprene carrying case included
The Bad: No built-in track controls, No microphone/speakerphone