I recently wrote a comparison of two other JBL portable speakers. After that, I heard one of these larger JBL speakers in action, and I was very impressed. Now I’m thinking bigger is better! So, I decided to compare the JBL Charge 4 vs Charge 5.
Like I said before, you can’t go wrong with JBL. Since its inception, the JBL company has offered nothing but the best for its customers. It outperforms many other brands in sound quality alone (as if you need any other criteria when dealing with speakers?).
The JBL Charge 4 is still an excellent speaker, so let’s take a look at what JBL did to improve when they rolled out the JBL Charge 5.
Charge 4 and charge 5 basic comparison
When you look at the JBL Charge 4 vs Charge 5, you’re looking at two very similar portable speakers. They weigh almost exactly the same. Their dimensions are also almost exactly the same. Their power? You almost guessed it, but output power is one of their differences. So, what are some of the other differences between the JBL Charge 4 vs Charge 5?
There is a slight design difference between the two, and some of the tech features vary as well. One of the more meaningful differences (which you can’t see) is the Bluetooth technology that they use. Let’s take a closer look at these speakers.
|Features||JBL Charge 4||JBL Charge 5|
|Waterproof||IP67 water and dustproof||IPX7 waterproof|
|Weight||2.12 lbs. (965 g)||2.11 lbs. (960 g)|
|Dimensions||8.66 x 3.74 x 3.66 in (220 x 95 x 93 mm)||8.70 x 3.76 x 3.67 in (223 x 97 x 94 mm)|
|Bluetooth Frequency||2.402 – 2.480GHz||2400 – 2483.5 MHz|
|Bluetooth Transmitter Power||0-20dBm||≤ 20 dBm (EIRP)|
|Speaker Power Output||30W RMS||30W RMS for woofer + 10W RMS for tweeter|
|Frequency Response||65 Hz – 20.000 Hz||65 Hz – 20.000 Hz|
|Advertised Playback Time||Up to 20 hours||Up to 20 hours|
|Charging time||4 hours||4 hours|
|USB Port||Micro USB||USB-C|
|3.5mm Audio Jack||✔||✕|
|Connectivity||JBL Connect+||JBL PartyBoost|
|Charging Power Bank||✔||✔|
|Price||Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon|
|My Opinion||It packs a punch. You won’t regret it if you choose this model.||Even better sound quality than its predecessor.|
JBL Charge 4
The JBL Charge 4 is a great little speaker that offers 30W of output power, JBL Connect+, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s not much you can do to improve this design, but JBL managed to do so anyway. You can purchase the JBL Charge 4 in one of 12 colors, including two different camouflage designs.
- 3.5mm audio jack
- JBL Connect+
- One speaker (lower output power)
- Not dustproof
Related Read: JBL Charge 4 vs Flip 5
JBL Charge 5
The JBL Charge 5 is not much different than the previous model in terms of size and shape. It does pack a heftier punch, thanks to its additional speaker. Released only a year ago, the Charge 5 is still a top-shelf product. The JBL Charge 5 comes in only 8 colors, one of which is camouflage.
- Two speakers (woofer and tweeter)
- Bluetooth 5.1
- Dust and waterproof
- JBL PartyBoost
- No 3.5mm audio jack
- Connectivity limited to newer devices
Also Read: Our comparison article on the JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5
Features comparison head to head
Sound is the No.1 feature I consider when choosing speakers. Both the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 offer great sound quality. The JBL Charge 5 has an additional 10W tweeter that makes an indisputable difference, freeing the mid-tone driver from producing high tones. The result is a beefier sound on both ends.
The JBL Charge 4 only has one driver that handles all tone ranges. It still offers great sound and is certainly a sound investment (no pun intended). The difference between the two reminded me of the “Loudness” button found on most vintage receivers. At the press of that button, the low and high frequencies would get a significant boost. I can’t help but feel that’s what’s been done here.
Whatever the cause, the result is delightful. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard it in action. The JBL Charge 5 truly offers excellent sound quality and depth in all of its tones.
Winner: JBL Charge 5
Design, build, and durability
Both the JBL Charge 4 and the Charge 5 feature the same wire mesh covering. This gives JBL’s line of portable speakers its distinctive look while keeping all its internal parts safe. The difference between their casings is that the Charge 4 is waterproof while the Charge 5 is water and dustproof.
The rubber caps on the ends of the speakers stick out on the JBL Charge 5, unlike on the JBL Charge 4. If you stand the Charge 5 on its side, it will lean to one side. Not very visually pleasing, in my opinion.
Still, the caps feel like they can take more of a pounding on the Charge 5, as do the external passive radiators. The Charge 4 is tough, but I think the Charge 5 is tougher.
The stands of each speaker are what caught my eye the most (who would place a speaker on its side anyway?). Both feature a stand on their bottom side; it’s just more prominent on the Charge 4.
The JBL Charge 4 has a flat base stand that is roughly 4 inches wide. In comparison, the JBL Charge 5 has ridged rubber lines that run diagonally on that same location. This means that the Charge 5 is a little less stable than the Charge 4.
Both the JBL Charge 4 and the Charge 5 are waterproof, a signature trait of this line of JBL speakers. The Charge 5 has an additional bonus – it’s dustproof. In addition to submerging it underwater, you can roll it around in the dust, and its internal components will be fine.
Winner: Charge 5
Weight and dimensions
The weight and dimensions of the Charge 4 and Charge 5 are almost identical. There’s a 5-gram weight difference (which is 0.17 ounces) between the two models, and the lighter of the two is the JBL Charge 5.
Weighing less doesn’t mean that the JBL Charge 5 is smaller than the Charge 4. It’s actually slightly bigger. The average size differs by 1 mm, but we can write that up to the protruding rubber caps.
Apart from sound quality, the most crucial thing a portable speaker offers us is connectivity. How do I connect it to other devices, how do I charge it, and can I hook a phone onto it using a cable? These are all important questions when choosing a portable speaker.
The JBL Charge 4 uses Bluetooth v4.2 to pair with other devices. This limits its JBL Connect+ protocol to roughly 30 feet (10m). The JBL Charge 5 uses Bluetooth v5.1 to pair, meaning faster speeds and larger distances. Up to 50 yards, to be specific (45m).
Note that these distances are shorter when you have obstacles between speakers and devices. It also offers better transmitter power than its predecessor adding to the sound quality.
Both the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 have USB ports and the ability to charge other devices.
The JBL Charge 4 uses a Micro USB port and cable for charging, while the Charge 5 uses USB-C.
The lack of the 3.5mm audio jack is maybe the only thing I don’t like about the JBL Charge 5. Not that it’s essential, but I do like having the option to connect devices using it. JBL Charge 4 would win in this subsection.
Winner: JBL Charge 5
Related Read: How to Connect JBL Speakers
Both the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 have Lithium-ion Polymer 7500mAh batteries, resulting in a whopping 20 hours of playback time. This, of course, depends on volume levels and music type (as stated by JBL).
Battery charge time
Both the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 take 4 hours to charge (as advertised by JBL).
Both the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 can act as power banks for other devices. You can charge any device via USB cable by connecting it to the USB port found on either speaker. This lowers music playback time.
Both the JBL Charge 4 and the Charge 5 are easily portable. Weighing just over two pounds and with a length roughly the width of a letter-size paper, they are both pretty easy to carry. Their stands allow you to place either of them safely wherever you choose.
JBL Charge 4 vs Charge 5 is a tough battle. They’re pretty much matched up until we get to their “party protocols.”
JBL Charge 4 – JBL Connect+ protocol
JBL Connect+ is the protocol that JBL used for its older devices, allowing you to pair more than 100 JBL Connect+ devices together. It was a great idea, and the tech worked fine. So, why the innovation or evolution into the PartyBoost protocol?
JBL Charge 5 – JBL PartyBoost protocol
JBL PartyBoost offers you the same thing that Connect+ did. You can connect more than 100 JBL speakers that support the PartyBoost protocol. Sounds familiar, right? You might think this is just a complication, but you’d be wrong.
Due to the restraints of Bluetooth v4.2, which the Connect+ protocol uses, the distance between speakers was an issue. As I mentioned above, Bluetooth v5.1 offers much larger distances, creating the need for a new protocol. This is the only explanation I can come up with when pondering why they chose to create a new protocol.
Winner: JBL Charge 5
The price tags on these speakers are modest as far as speakers go. The JBL Charge 4 ranges roughly between $99 and $115 on Amazon. The JBL Charge 5 ranges around the $175 mark. Some of these offers include cases (raising prices), some are renewed (dropping prices), and some are new but with no bells and whistles.
Winner: JBL Charge 4
Both of these speakers are great, there’s no doubt about it. So, how do you choose between JBL Charge 4 vs Charge 5? If you’re on a budget, then you could opt for the JBL Charge 4, saving you money in the short term. Don’t forget that the Charge 4 has some outdated software (JBL Connect+) and hardware (Bluetooth v4.2). This could cost you long-term.
If you opt for the JBL Charge 5, you’re getting a solid speaker system (I say system because it has two speakers) for a relatively low price. You’ll also be able to walk further away from your Charge 5 with your streaming device and not stop the connection.
Finally, if it’s down to sound, as it should be when choosing a speaker, then I have to recommend the JBL Charge 5. I don’t know whether it’s due to the extra speaker or the “Loudness” option I mentioned, but the JBL Charge 5 sounds better than the Charge 4.