Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 vs. JBL Charge 4: Which should you buy?

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

Feature breakdown

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.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3JBL Charge 4
Battery life20 hours20 hours
Charge time3 hours4 hours
Charging portMicro-USBUSB-C
# of colors410
Water resistanceIP67IPX7
Pairs with150+ Booms and Megabooms100+ JBL Connect+-enabled speakers
Frequency range60Hz - 20kHz60Hz - 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.

For $50 less than the Megaboom 3, the JBL Charge 4's features outweigh any minor shortcomings it may have.

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 (Amazon just has black).

Mick Symons

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.