JBL Charge 4 vs. Megaboom 3: One Sounds Better at Low Volumes

These are both fantastic portable speakers, but after a month of testing, I’ve determined that UE Megaboom 3 is better with it’s superior design, wireless charging, and significantly better sound at higher volumes. However, JBL Charge 4 sounds better at lower volumes indoors, and it’s more affordable. In my JBL Charge 4 vs UE Megaboom 3 review I’ll compare these based on sound, design, durability, power, and software.

Sound

The sound quality is nearly equal here, but Megaboom 3 might be more useful for you depending on where you intend on using it.

Megaboom 3 has omnidirectional sound. This ensures it sounds the same from all angles, which is ideal for outdoor use and parties. While I think Charge 4 sounds better at lower volumes, Megaboom 3’s omnidirectional sound, strong bass, and clear and sharp sound makes it great overall. Speaking of bass, the bass is stronger than Charge 4, which is usually a good thing. However, it sometimes gets overpowering.

You can customize the equalizer, but the default sound is best in my opinion. This speaker is best for parties, outdoor listening, or if you like your music loud. Compared to the original Megaboom, the bass is better, but the mids and treble are similar. However, the design was a significant upgrade. As a side note, there is no Megaboom 2. That was skipped to streamline their lineup names.

JBL Charge 4 offers fantastic sound quality, but for different reasons. It only has one driver and one-directional sound. The sound is best when it can reflect off a wall. While it’s not ideal for outdoor use, it actually sounds pretty good outside. The sound is crisp and balanced up to 60% volume. Above 70% and it gets screechy. While the bass isn’t as strong as Megaboom 3, it’s consistent while Megaboom 3 can sometimes get overpowering.

Many people say that Megaboom 3 is loud, but I didn’t notice a difference. While you can’t change the equalizer, I like how the sound is set. If you intend on using the speaker indoors, then it sounds better than Megaboom 3. Compared to Charge 3, the new model has more bass and power along with enhanced treble, but overall quality is about the same.

Sound winner: UE Megaboom 3 outdoors, JBL Charge 4 indoors

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Megaboom 3 ->

Design

The design for both is good, but UE Megaboom 3 is vastly superior and you’ll see exactly why.

This speak weighs 2lbs, is 8.9 inches tall, and stands vertically. The minimalist design uses a fantastic two-tone mesh material and comes in five colors: Lagoon Blue, Nightblack, Sunset Red, Ultraviolet Purple, and Urban Magenta. There are two large volume buttons along the side. Holding these two buttons will tell you the battery life. However, Megaboom 3 lacks a port for external devices.

While the original Megaboom looked good, it had some flaws that this version fixed. The original used gesture controls and had no play or pause buttons. For example, tapping the top paused music, or double tap to skip a song. This never worked well, but the new Magic Button fixed that. The original has a micro USB charging port on the button, which made it hard to charge and listen simultaneously. The new version has the port on the side, and you can use a $40 wireless charging base as well. Lastly, UE removed the ugly rubber strip found with the original Megaboom.

Charge 4 weighs 2.1lbs and is 8.7 inches. It lays horizontally and is basically the same form factor as Megaboom 3. It has 10 different colors to choose from: Black, Blue, Forest Green, Grey, Pink, Red, Sand, Teal, and White. The port cover is closed for waterproofing, but it’s simple to open (which can be hard with some speakers). Also, Charge 4 has a port for external media devices that Megaboom 3 lacks.

While the Charge 4 has a port for media devices, Megaboom 3 is better in every other way.

Design winner: UE Megaboom 3

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Megaboom 3 ->

Durability

The durability is nearly equal here. Megaboom 3 inches ahead, but they are both able to take some hits.

Megaboom 3 is durable and shockproof. You can drop it several times without any significant damage. Plus, it’s waterproof with an IPX7 rating. It can be submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes. It floats as well, so it’s easy to retrieve from the water. The speaker also happens to be dustproof.

Charge 4 has the exact same waterproof rating of IPX7, but it’s not dustproof or shockproof. The two side radiators are exposed and may break during a drop, but the overall speaker should be fine. It will also float if dropped into the water.

It’s a close call, but Megaboom 3 is a little more durable.

Durability winner: UE Megaboom 3

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Megaboom 3 ->

Power

The two are very close, but this time JBL Charge 4 inches ahead. While the battery life isn’t quite as good at lower volumes, it has some additional benefits.

Both UE and JBL overshot their battery life and they are based on very low volumes. Megaboom 3 is listed at 20 hours of battery life, but my tests revealed 10 hours at 60% and 5 hours at 85%. I highly suggest getting the $40 wireless charging base so you can play and charge simultaneously.

Charge 4’s battery life results are similar to Megaboom 3. You get 8.5 hours at 60% volume and 6.5 hours at 85% volume. However, I like the 7,500mAh battery that allows you to also charge a phone or other device. Plus, the USB-C port charges the battery in four hours, which is an upgrade over the Megaboom 3’s micro USB.

It’s a close call as they’re both pretty similar, but Charge 4 wins this category.

Power winner: JBL Charge 4

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Megaboom 3 ->

Software

Unlike most other categories where there were minor differences, there is a huge gap here. Megaboom 3 is easily the winner and you’ll see why.

The UE app is great. You can change the equalizer and customize the bass, mids, and treble. You can also use Party Up to connect 150 UE speakers. There are limitations, but this is more due to Bluetooth than UE. The speakers stay in sync and don’t cut as much as JBL speakers. It has Bluetooth 4.2 and allows you to pair a total of eight devices and two simultaneously.

The Bluetooth range is listed as 150 feet, but I got nowhere near that. The true range is similar to Charge 4. Block Party lets you connect two source devices and eight controller devices. Frequent firmware updates means that features are added and updated. Plus, holding the Magic Button for two seconds starts playing a preselected Apple Music playlist without using your device.

On the flip side, JBL’s app is atrocious. It rarely recognizes the speaker, has no equalizer to customize, the volume metric is wrong, and you can’t edit any settings. It also won’t work on iPhones like X, XS, and XR. The app is supposed to get firmware updates, but I haven’t seen any yet.

Thankfully you don’t need the app to pair JBL speakers. This is done with Connect+, which is fairly easy to use. However, it only works with newer JBL speakers. Charge 4 uses Bluetooth 4.2 with a range of 30 feet. You can connect two devices simultaneously.

Software winner: UE Megaboom 3

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Megaboom 3 ->

Final Thoughts

While JBL Charge 4 works better indoors and is roughly equal in other ways, the overall winner is UE Megaboom 3. It sounds better outdoors, has vastly superior software, and the design is better.