JBL's latest powerhouse has improved sound compared to its predecessor, though it's still a bit bass-heavy. However, it does feature phenomenal battery life, and the internal battery pack is a massive boon as well.
- Strong, rich bass
- 20-hour battery life
- IPX7 water-resistant
- Charges your devices
- Bass-heavy mix
- No in-app EQ
Well-rounded and powerful
The Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers money can buy. It has exceptional battery life, great sound, and looks good too.
- Well-rounded sound
- Gorgeous design
- IP67 water-resistant
- Customizable EQ
- 20-hour battery life
- Somewhat expensive
- Wireless charger not included
Despite coming from different manufacturers, the Megaboom 3 and Charge 4 are surprisingly similar, with large frequency ranges, water resistance, the ability to pair with dozens of other speakers, and more. It's just that one of them is $50 cheaper.
|Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3||JBL Charge 4|
|Battery life||20 hours||20 hours|
|Charge time||3 hours||4 hours|
|# of colors||4||10|
|Pairs with||150+ Booms and Megabooms||100+ JBL Connect+-enabled speakers|
|Frequency range||60Hz - 20kHz||60Hz - 20kHz|
In terms of overall power, the Megaboom 3 and Charge 4 are rivals — they're nearly identical. Where the Megaboom 3 shines over the Charge 4 is in the mid- to high end, where vocals are a little cleaner and crisp. The difference, however, is likely to be negligible for most people.
Both speakers feature water resistance that allows for submersion in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, though the key difference is in dust protection. The Megaboom 3 has a rating of 6, which means it's fully protected from dust ingression, while the Charge 4 has an X rating, which means that it's unknown as to how well-protected the speaker is from dust.
Where the Charge 4 pulls ahead in terms of features is with its ability to charge your phone via USB while you listen to music. It will drain the speaker's battery, thus shortening play time considerably, but if you only need to play for a couple hours and your phone's going to die, it's totally worth it.
With respect to overall sound, you really can't go wrong with either speaker, though the Megaboom 3 does have a more polished mid- to high end sound. I also prefer the Megaboom's in-app equalizer in the Boom app. You can EQ the JBL Charge 4, but not in JBL's app, or at least not well. That being said, Spotify's equalizer does work well with the Charge 4.
At the end of the day, bang for your buck informs the winner, and the JBL Charge 4 should be your choice. It's $50 less than the Megaboom 3, sounds just as good (almost), and charges your phone while you listen. It also comes in some fantastic colors, though if you want something other than black, you'll want to buy straight from JBL or Best Buy (opens in new tab) (Amazon just has black).
Awesome but expensive
One of Ultimate Ears' finest ever
The Megaboom 3 is an outstanding, albeit expensive, speaker. It's certainly a standout in all of Bluetooth speakerdom, with incredible battery life, well-rounded sound, and a solid app experience.
Great features and great sound
For $50 less than the Megaboom 3, you can get a great-sounding, portable, water-resistant speaker that charges up your devices while you listen. There are 10 great colors to choose from, and third-party equalizers can help it sound fantastic.
Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.
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