Get Them Here
Unfortunately, choosing between the the JBL Charge 4 and JBL Pulse 4 isn’t that simple. Even though at the end of the day they’re both just speakers… there are some major differences between them. And depending on your needs and what you plan on doing with them, one is going to be better than the other. So today we’re going to be comparing the JBL Charge 4 to the JBL Pulse 4 and see which ones right for you.
Now first off, obviously there’s the price. The Pulse 4 retails for $200 where as the Charge 4 retails for $150 and it typically goes on sale very often. If you want to pick either of these speakers up they’ll be linked down below, and if you want to learn more about either of these speakers please watch their full reviews cause we’re only going to be going over the main differences here.
Now the biggest and most obvious difference between these two speakers is their looks. The Charge 4 has a fairly standard fabric mesh body like a lot of other speakers out there that does a great job of standing up to constant abuse. You can take this speaker on the go with you and not have to worry about it. Where as the pulse 4 obviously has this light feature which simply looks amazing indoors or at night. But unfortunately, the Pulse 4’s acrylic body just isn’t as durable as the Charge 4. It’s very easy to get your pulse 4 scratched or dented and there’s always the chance you’ll shatter the Pulse 4 if you drop it. So for that reason, I say the pulse 4 is a great at home or dorm room speaker.
But the Light feature on the Pulse 4 is also a drain on its battery. Even though the Pulse 4 has a 7260 milliamphour which is just a little smaller than the Charge 4’s 7500 milli amp hour battery… the Pulse 4 only has an advertised battery life of 12 hours. But in my testing with the volume set at 80% and with the light feature brightness set to medium high, I’m getting a real world battery life of 8 hours if I’m lucky. Where as the Charge 4 has an advertised battery life of 20 hours. But again with the volume set at 80% I’m getting a real world battery life of 11 hours. So this just reenforces what I’m saying about the pulse 4 about it being a good at home or dorm room speaker… since its battery does drain out pretty quickly this speaker is going to mostly live on the charger.
Now both of these speakers charge via a USB C port, which means if you’re an android user you can charge your phone and speaker with the same cable. This just makes life a little easier. But it is important to keep in mind that you can’t use this USB C port on either of these speakers as a wired connection and you can’t use it to charge your own devices. But I also want to point out that only the Charge 4 has an audio jack while the pulse 4 doesn’t… and only the charge 4 has a USB A out port so that you can charge your own devices. Personally I don’t care that the pulse 4 doesn’t have an audio jack, but some people still need or want an audio jack for certain situations. So if that’s the case then you’re better off with the Charge 4.
Now when it comes to bluetooth connectivity these speakers are identical. They’re both using bluetooth 4.2, they can both be connected to 2 devices at the same so you and a friend can both be DJ, and they both only have SBC support. Unfortunately they don’t have an AAC or Aptx Support.
But perhaps the most important difference between these two speakers is their speaker set ups. The JBL Charge 4 is your standard frontward firing speaker that has a single 50 by 90 millimeter oval transducer firing out the front and dual passive radiators that shoot out the sides. The Charge 4 has a very similar speaker set up to the Flip 5 which spoiler alert, I’m going to be using in today’s sound test. Where as the Pulse 4 is a 360 degree speaker… it has a single upward firing 57 millimeter diameter transducer on the top and a passive radiator on the bottom. At the end of the day all three of these speakers have the same sound signatures, which is to be expected, but they all do still perform a little differently.
Over all, JBL’s latests crop of speakers all sound pretty good. They all have pronounced mids and vocals and a good amount of bass to them. Distortion isn’t a problem and they all have good clarity. But the biggest performance differences between all of these speakers hands down to their bass and max volume. Even though both the Flip 5 and Pulse 4 are 20 watt speakers, I can’t help but feel that the Pulse 4 has more bass than the Flip 5. But that could be due to the Pulse 4’s downward firing radiator which is using the table to its advantage. But the Charge 4 still noticeably has more bass than the Pulse 4. And since the Charge 4 is a 30 watt speaker it also manages to get noticeably louder than the Pulse 4 as well. And even though the Flip 5 is a 20 watt speaker like the Pulse 4, it just doesn’t manage to get as loud. So if sound is your highest priority here then it goes Charge 4, Pulse 4, and then Flip 5.
But keep in mind, if you want to get the best sound out of the Pulse 4 then you’re better off using it indoors where its upward firing speaker can bounce music off the ceiling. Even though the Pulse 4 sounds ok when used out doors, its not going to sound as good as the Charge 4 where you can have the music shooting directly at you.
But finally lets talk about speaker pairing protocols cause this can be a big deal for you whether you already have JBL speakers or if you plan on getting more JBL speaker in the future. The Charge 4 uses JBL connect Plus… and JBL connect plus is currently found on the Charge 4, Charge 3, Pulse 3, flip 4, Xtreme 2, and JBL Boombox. Where as the Pulse 4 is using Partyboost. So you can currently only pair it to another Pulse 4 or to a flip 5. But as JBL announces new speakers they’ll also use Partyboost. Unfortunately you can’t pair the Pulse 4 or flip 5 for that matter to any JBL speakers that use JBL connect plus and vis versa. So if you were to get a Charge 4 today, you won’t be able to pair it to newer JBL speakers or future JBL speakers that get announced. Although yes it does suck that Partyboost isn’t compatible with JBL Connect Plus… party boost does have some important improvements. Partyboost has stronger bluetooth connection between two speakers which means you get double the range as JBL connect plus, but more importantly it also means you get less strutting between your speakers when you have multiple walls in between them.
So over all, the Charge 4 is best suited for someone looking for a rugged speaker that they can take on the go with them that also has a long battery life. The charge 4 also has more bass and gets louder than the Pulse 4 and it also has a USB A out port and audio jack if you need it. The Charge 4 is a great candidate for your next camping trip. Where as the Pulse 4 is a great at home or dorm room speaker. Its light feature really does look awesome and its great to use with friends. But the light feature does have its draw backs, it does take a toll on battery life so this speaker is going to live on its charger and you do have to be mindful of its acrylic body. And in order to get the best sound out of the Pulse 4 you are better off using it indoors. One isn’t inherently better than the other, it all boils down to your needs, but if I had to pick one I’m going with the Pulse 4.