JBL Charge 4 vs. Bose SoundLink Color II: One Of These Is Too Pricey

After testing them for a month, I’ve determined that JBL Charge 4 is better than Bose SoundLink Color II due to superior sound, battery life, and durability. Bose SoundLink Color II has good sound quality, but the volume is too low and the price too high.

Read on to learn more about JBL Charge 4 vs Bose SoundLink Color II and how they compare in sound, design, durability, power, and software.

Sound

There’s really no comparison here. JBL Charge 4 is vastly superior when it comes to sound quality and volume.

Charge 4 sounds amazing for its price and form factor. Plus, it has a deeper bass and brilliant sound that beats most other similarly priced speakers. While the highs get rough over 70% volume, Bose’s sound distorts at much lower volumes. Speaking of volume, Charge 4 is twice as loud and provides a much better listening experience.

It has a strong 30W driver along with two radiators on the side. They bounce as the music plays and it looks great. If you want a more affordable speaker that sounds nearly identical, then consider the JBL Charge 3.

While Bose SoundLink Color II sounds better than some other portable speakers, it doesn’t have enough bass for most people. It’s made with dual 40mm drivers. The sound is flat, like there’s something covering the speaker. However, I do think it sounds better than UE Boom 3.

It’s not just the sound quality. The volume is about half of the Charge 4. For reference, the SoundLink Color II at 85% is the same as Charge 4 at 40%, that’s a shame and it doesn’t warrant the high price tag. If you want a similar Bose speaker that’s more affordable and also more durable, then consider SoundLink Micro.

For better quality and volume, the win easily goes to JBL Charge 4.

Sound winner: JBL Charge 4

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Bose SoundLink Color ->

Design

The Charge 4’s design is nothing special, but it’s far better than SoundLink Color II, which I found to be simply ugly.

Change 4 weighs 2.1lbs and is 8.7 inches. It has a base for sitting horizontally. While the design isn’t the most attractive, it doesn’t look terrible like SoundLink Color II. If design is a priority, then I urge you to consider Boom 3 or Megaboom 3.

This speaker comes in 10 colors: Black, Blue, Forest Green, Grey, pink, Red, Sand, Teal, and White.

Bose SoundLink Color II is just disappointing. It’s 1.2lbs and 5.25 inches. There are four colors: Aquatic Blue, Coral Red, Polar White, and Soft Black. The shape is bad and the aesthetic is ugly. It’s hard to pinpoint why. Part of it is the cheap silicone casing. Yet, it’s a similar casing as Bose SoundLink Micro, but it looks better there.

Another poor design choice is battery life. There are no LED indicators or voice readouts. Even the app isn’t accurate. When you power on the speaker it will say high, medium, or low. The app only shows the battery life as 100% or 40% in my experience. However, there is a 3.5mm port for external audio devices like iPods. The multifunction button can play, pause, sound songs, or activate your phone’s smart assistant.

The design is nothing special for either of them, but Charge 4 is superior with a better look, better features, and more colors.

Design winner: JBL Charge 4

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Bose SoundLink Color ->

Durability

Both speakers can take some hits, but I put more trust in Charge 4 as it has a better waterproof rating and feels more solid.

Charge 4 is listed as IPX7 waterproof. This means it can be submerged for 30 minutes in a meter of water. While it isn’t listed as shockproof, it can take a few falls without lasting damage.

SoundLink Color II is water-resistant, so it can take a splash. However, submerging it in water even for a few seconds will probably destroy the speaker. It can also take a few drops without much damage.

The IPX7 waterproof pushes Charge 4 into the lead here, making it the more durable speaker between these two.

Durability winner: JBL Charge 4

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Bose SoundLink Color ->

Power

While I don’t like how JBL oversold the battery life, you still get more battery life than SoundLink Color II, and it has an extra feature that’s handy.

Charge 4 is listed as having a 20-hour battery life, but my tests showed that it’s closer to 8.5 hours at 60% volume and 6.5 hours at 85% volume. It has an external battery that can also charge your tablets, phones, and other devices. Charging via the USB-C port takes about 4 hours. Considering the very low volume of the SoundLink Color II, this battery lasts about three times as long.

SoundLink Color II is listed as having 8 hours of battery life and takes 3 hours to charge. Unlike JBL, Bose does live up to the battery life. It lasts 9 hours at 60% volume and 4 hours at 85% volume. However, remember that you’ll need this at a high volume just to hear it. You can recharge it via the micro USB port.

While the hours might seem similar, the fact that you can run JBL Charge 4 on lower volumes means that it offers longer playback times.

Power winner: JBL Charge 4

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Bose SoundLink Color ->

Software

JBL creates good speakers, but here’s one area where they all suffer. JBL’s software is bad and Bose easily wins this category.

Charge 4’s software is bad, has no benefits, and is difficult to connect. JBL has promised firmware updates, but I’ve yet to see any. You can keep two devices paired simultaneously. You can connect Charge 4 with other current generation JBL speakers via Charge+. It works well, but the documentation is poor. Simply push the Connect+ button on both speakers to pair them. It’s a stable connection compared to other Bluetooth speakers.

You can’t use your phone smart assistant, but this should be fine because smart assistants often don’t work well with portable speakers. The Bluetooth seems more reliable than SoundLink Color II, and I got an extra five feet.

SoundLink Color II has Party Mode and this allows you to easily pair several SoundLink speakers. Pairing is easy as long as only one device is connected. You can customize the auto-standby timer. You can connect up to two active devices and eight devices in total. All devices can be managed through the Bose app.

Bose updates the firmware often, but the updates are long and are prone to failing.

Neither is perfect, but Charge 4 has awful software while SoundLink Color II is useful and straightforward.

Software winner: Bose SoundLink Color II

Check Price: JBL Charge 4 ->

Check Price: Bose SoundLink Color ->

Final Thoughts

Except for software, Bose SoundLink Color II fails in a lot of respects. Its volume is too low, sound quality is poor, durability is OK at best, and the battery life is low when you consider the volume problem. JBL Charge 4 is the much better portable speaker here for its better sound quality and battery life.