Super bass

JBL Charge 4

Well-rounded and powerful

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

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.

$150 at Best Buy

Pros

  • USB-C
  • Strong, rich bass
  • 20-hour battery life
  • IPX7 water-resistant
  • Charges your devices

Cons

  • Bass-heavy mix
  • No in-app EQ

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.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Well-rounded sound
  • Gorgeous design
  • IP67 water-resistant
  • Customizable EQ
  • 20-hour battery life

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Wireless charger not included

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.

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 JBL Charge 4
Battery life 20 hours 20 hours
Charge time 3 hours 4 hours
Charging port Micro-USB USB-C
# of colors 4 10
Water resistance IP67 IPX7
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.

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).

Awesome but expensive

Ultimate Ears Megaboom

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.

Our pick

JBL Charge 4

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.

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