If you happen to be an owner of a JBL Flip Bluetooth speaker, then you know that it’s not as good as the other top rated portable wireless speakers on the market. Simply because it lacks the performance and features that you would expect from an audio device that was created by a well-known audio electronics company like JBL. The Flip doesn’t have the edge that would make it stand out from its competitors. But just when we thought that this speaker would be a pointless flop in the portable wireless speaker category. A new and much improved version has been released in the market, and it’s called – the JBL Charge.
The Charge is an upgrade of the Flip in all aspects, including the battery, design and sound performance. They even added additional features to make it a complete package. I would have to say that this speaker is more capable of competing in the Bluetooth speaker arena than its predecessor. Also, it charges just like any other generic speaker out there via Micro-USB, so you can use your spare port to charge this speaker.
What Makes the JBL Charge Standout From Its Competitors?
If you’re observant enough then you would ask yourself – why would they call it the “Charge?” Actually, it’s a wireless speaker that has a USB port which can be used to charge other portable devices like a tablet or smartphone. Its 6,000mAh lithium ion battery can store a considerable amount of power and it’s capable of sharing that power to another device. Cool isn’t it? No wonder they call it by that name.
When it comes to battery life, the Charge does stand out and based in my own experience, it can go as long as 12 hours. That is double the capacity the Flip can provide and with its big battery, you can charge your smartphone 3 to 4 times using this device. You can also expect a fabric case which is often included in the box. The fabric case is a nice freebie to have and it can perfectly store the speaker.
The Charge can also deliver the sound that we want to hear, besting Beats Pill, JAMBOX, Logitech UE Mobile Boombox and of course its predecessor the Flip. Although the other models are much smaller and more portable, this wireless speaker has a slight advantage when it comes to overall audio performance.
Does It Have an Innovative and Attractive Design?
Just like the Flip, this speaker is cylindrical and can be placed vertically or horizontally in a flat surface. Its dimensions are 2 inches wide by 6 inches long, and it resembles an elongated soda can. Though it looks solid and you can hold it in one hand, but it’s not as lightweight like the Beats Pill. If you’re going to put it side-by-side with the Flip, you will notice that it has a much bolder design. Even though these two speakers may have the same shape, but the Charge has the better design.
With sweeping curves, deep cutouts and visible seams that are evident throughout its body. The JBL Charge is much more bold-looking than its predecessor. It’s also offered in three colors – light blue, black and green. As for me, I think it looks good in light blue. But some people may disagree and they would rather choose green, because it’s a much popular color and it gives the Charge a more distinctive look.
What Additional Features Can It Offer?
Aside from the USB which is commonly used to charge other mobile devices, It also have an auxiliary input for connecting non-Bluetooth audio devices. Furthermore, charging this speaker is a lot simpler than any other wireless Bluetooth speaker in the market, because it will not require you any specific or company supplied cable for charging. Its microUSB is compatible with any mobile device, so you can charge it using your laptop or another device that has a microUSB.
Pairing it with my other mobile gadgets is also a breeze and I have no problem connecting it with my iPhone 5, iPad 3 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. So, there’s no issue when it comes to connectivity. The volume can be controlled using your device or through the buttons which are positioned on top.
Can It Deliver Great Sounds?
For starters, I think JBL has adjusted its hardware on the Charge by installing a 25-watt amplifier and two 40mm full-range drivers. It’s also noticeable that they boosted up the bass and tuned down the highs. This makes it more neutral sounding with an improved bass response. I tested it using several samples, ranging from hard rock, ambient, jazz, chamber music, hip-hop, country to pure vocal. The sound it produced is a lot warmer and richer and I think this is due to its upgraded hardware.
In my opinion, it does deliver some great sounds but if we’re going to compare the quality with another top rated wireless speaker, I would still go with Bose Soundlink Mini. However, if you’re on a strict budget and you wanted more features in your Bluetooth speaker – then I suggest that you get the Charge.
How Much Does it Cost?
It cost Under $200 in most electronic stores and ecommerce sites, so it’s $50 more expensive than the Flip. But with all the upgrades that JBL put into this product, I would have to say the price is justified. In addition, the audio performance of this portable speaker is considered good but not as great as the Bose Soundlink Mini, although that speaker is a lot more expensive. It all boils down to your preference as well as your budget
- Good audio performance, especially if you want more bass into your music
- Great design with better curves as compared to the Flip
- Still handy even if it weighs 2.3 pounds
- Has 6,000mAh lithium ion battery for 12 hours continuous play time
- Can be charge using generic Micro-USB cable
- It can also charge other mobile devices
- All units include a neoprene carrying case
- No Speakerphone capability
- Has the tendency to get distorted at full volume
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