When it comes to the Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers and Headphones, JBL has always had one of the most consistent reputations among all the leaders in audio. The JBL Charge 4 was released in the summer of 2019, and JBL has easily retained command of the portable audio industry. The previous JBL Charge models have been so good that they only get knocked out of 1st place by the next Charge model.
While we wait for Beats and Bose to answer with NEW comparable models, we have the 2 best alternatives to the JBL Charge 4. The Beats Pill+ and the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ give JBL a run-for-their-money, and in more than one way. Before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at the new JBL Charge 4 first.
1. JBL Charge 4
20 Hours of Playback
- WHAT’S NEW! Improved bass response and more power (30 Watts)
- 20 Hours of playback (huge battery – 7,800mAh)
- 10+ Colors to choose from: Black, Blue, Grey, Green, Pink, Red, Mustard, White, Teal, Gold, and Camouflage
- Pair 2 Charge 4’s for stereo playback or…
- Connect up to 100 other JBL connect+ compatible speakers for multi-room and indoor-outdoor playback
- USB Charge Port Power Output; Charges your phone, vape, ecig, or other small electronic devices
- IPX7 Waterproof and floats so you don’t lose it if it goes overboard
- Super-durable fabric and rubber housing
- JBL Companion app needs expanded EQ functionality. For a portable speaker that’s used in many different settings, it would be nice to have more BUILT-IN adjustments.
If you want the all-around best portable Bluetooth speaker, then the JBL Charge 4 is it. It’s big sound and a big battery, but packed in a compact and durable waterproof shell. With the 10+ color options being merely icing on the cake, there are endless ways to accessorize the Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker Series too.
2. Beats Pill+
12 Hours of Playback
- 12 Hours of playback (slightly longer than average)
- 3 Colors to choose from: Black, Red, White
- USB Charge Port Power Output; Charge your phone, vape, ecig, or other small electronic devices
- Low profile design and fairly durable chassis
- Lighting Cable charging connection (iPhone user-friendly)
- Not Waterproof (Get with the program Dre!)
- Extended bass frequency is good for pop and hip hop music but can make other genres sound “muddy”
- Battery life is so-so, especially if you use it to charge your phone and other devices
What the Beats Pill+ lacks in battery life and sound quality, it makes up in portability and compatibility. Since Apple bought Beats over 5 years ago, they’ve done a great job of only aligning specific features to the Apple environment.
Before the merger, Apple and Beats already had 2 things in common. Their products were some of the best in their industry, but they’re also a little overpriced. In the end, the minimalist design style from both companies is one reason it’s a match made in heaven. With the switch to an Apple Lightning charger connection, the Beats Pill+ fits right into the Apple users environment.
Now that the price is below $125 on Amazon, in our opinion, it’s the best option for Apple-lovers on-the-go. No, it’s not as tough as the Charge 4 and it doesn’t sound as good as the Bose SoundLink Revolve+. It’s the compact size, and the BIG sound that makes it the perfect travel buddy.
3. Bose SoundLink Revolve+
16 Hours of Playback
- 16 Hours playback
- Best all-around sound quality; 360° immersive sound
- IPX Water-resistant
- Pair 2 for stereo playback or mono for multi-room playback
- Simple, elegant and tough design
- Comes with Revolve Charging Cradle so it always stays “topped off” and ready to go
- No USB port to charge your phone, vape, ecig, or other small electronic devices
- Most expensive, but is well worth the investment in sound-quality alone
- Only 2 colors to choose!
We all know Bose is king when it comes to studio and home audio products. When it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers, in particular, they haven’t been as consistent though. From weird color options to durability issues, they’ve dropped the ball a few times over the years. We find it funny that instead of finding better colors options for their latest SoundLink models, they just avoided offering colors altogether. #SMH
The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ was instantly one of our top 3 choices back in 2017 when it was released. Now it remains mainly because there’s still no MID-SIZE portable Bluetooth speaker that sounds better. Even though you only have a choice between Triple Black and Lux Gray, the jaw-dropping sound quality is what really makes them stand out.
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Getting down to the Top 3 Portable Bluetooth Speakers was difficult and we had to leave out some really cool options. These are the ones that gave us the hardest timed: