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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2013
Other reviewers noted the small size of this JBL Bluetooth Wireless speaker, but I still could not believe the smallness of the box it came in, especially when I opened the box and it only filled half the box. It is indeed almost exactly the shape and size of a beer can. The battery was fully charged on arrival, so there was no waiting for three hours to use it, the accessories that come with it are practical and add to the value of the package too. The "Quick Start" instructions are just pictures, which may not be good enough for some, but it really is that simple to use. It connected straight away to my iPad Mini.

The sound is quite unbelievably good from such a tiny piece of kit, really detailed with a lively, clean, rich, full tone which, although not quite HiFi, is a match for a few micro systems and better than most "boom boxes". It goes well loud as well without buzzing, rattling or distorting and bleeps at you when it is at maximum volume, at which point there is just a touch of hardness to the sound. There is an optimum sound level range where it works best, which is more than enough to fill a large room. If its full of noisy people it might be pushed. Listening to it at very low volumes is a waste of its ability, the full richness of the sound is lost and it does sound a bit tinny. It sounds slightly more balanced and natural imo stood upright, the tiny footprint in this position makes it easier to fit on any small bit of flat surface. The caveat to that is that the charging point for your phone/tablet is in the base, this is the only thing I can point to as not ideal.

I have now had a few days to play with it and learn its foibles and faults, but to be honest it doesn't have any really. It will turn itself off if there is nothing being played on it for a while, but it instantly reconnects if you turn it on again. This is handy if you use it in an another room, say the kitchen, and you want to carry on listening to something while you make a cuppa or get some food, once paired, just press the bluetooth icon on your computer, select the JBL speaker from the menu and it reroutes the computer sound to the JBL. When you return press it again and switch the sound back to your computer. My computer is connected to my stereo so now I don't have to turn it up so I can hear it in the kitchen. (A point to note here, the bluetooth range is limited, so you may need to experiment.)

There is a mini jack input as well, but I don't have a suitable connector yet, so I can't comment on that, but it should in theory, sound even better. Portability is compromised, but certain situations or preference may well make this the better option.

LATER EDIT:
I have since bought a connector and the results are as expected, an improvement of the sound. There is added refinement, detail and depth to the sound which raises the sound quality to that of a traditional speaker. As ever, the quality of what you hear is dependent on the source and this speaker may find your phone/tablet out. I have only used Apple sources which are highly rated when it comes to their ability with music. Others have mentioned positioning and the surface the speaker is on, a solid wooden surface such as a kitchen worktop or hardwood furniture is ideal, but beware the bass can take over and muffle the rest of the sound on harder surfaces and boxy furniture. This though applies to any speaker and it is entirely a matter of personal preference as to what sounds best.

I used it at work with my iPad Mini, its small size and weight is really handy, as I move into different parts of my work area I can easily take it with me. When connecting the iPad to the charging point the iPad remains fully charged, even when the speaker is not plugged in. This means you need only one plug socket to run both. I used the speaker on its own for a whole day at work, just on the battery, about 9 hours, and there was still plenty of charge left. Basically as long as you plug it in some time during the day the battery is not going to run out. I stopped looking at the little three light battery indicator after a day or so.

The casing is a durable looking, easy clean plastic, I had no qualms about using it in the chemistry lab where I work. The snug fitting case that comes with it will provide enough protection during extended transportation and the charger has a two pin Euro type plug which slots in to replace our normal three pin plug. For holidays, camping, days out or working around the house and garden, this little speaker is spot on. Lose those pesky headphones and engage with the world around you again.

It truly is quite an amazing bit of kit, it has to be seen and heard to be believed. This beer can, sorry bluetooth speaker, is so good that, not only Amazon and my local Currys, but JBL themselves, had run out of the dark grey ones when I tried to buy mine. The light blue one I have looks just fine, not sure about the "bile green" one though. This is the first time I have ever bothered to do a review on Amazon, I hope it enlightens and informs.
22 comments| 79 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 June 2013
I got this for using while on Holiday at our apartment.
I have been using 2 X-mini II's (2.5w each)or my JBL On Tour travel speaker (6w)which have been great for inside the apartment.
Last holiday we had about a dozen friends over for a BBQ on the roof terrace and I used the X-mini's that time.
At first the sound was ample enough but later on as the drinks flowed and the dancing started the music just wasn't quite loud enough so I had to borrow a friends portable speaker. Well not really that portable to be honest.
Hence the purchase of the JBL charge.
Took me 30 seconds from getting it to having it hooked up via bluetooth to my Samsung SG2 and playing at full whack in the living room.
Have to say I am very impressed.
Very clear sound and decent bass.
This will be perfect for our next BBQ on the roof.
I was going to get the Bose soundlink 2 but at twice the price and not that much better it just wasn't worth it. Also the Bose is an awful lot heavier.
The JBL charge is a perfect combination of sound, weight/portability.
The travel case is really good and I can hook it to my belt when weighing in my hand luggage (I don't use hold bags) allowing me to utilize my full 10kg allowance. Couldn't do this with the bose.
I also paired this with my Asus transformer tablet, simple enough task.
To switch between my devices I have to disable Bluetooth on the current one that is playing then go to the Bluetooth menu on the other device and connect. Multi device support would have been nice but pretty straightforward and simple enough to change source device.
Equalizer support not available via Bluetooth but that's a Bluetooth limitation.
Sound improves if you hook up via a cable but then that goes for all speakers.
With cable connected equalizer is available and also when using my phone or tablet I can crank up the volume a tad more using an app I got from the play store. Get about another 6db and the speakers handle it without any distortion.
Another bonus is the charge port. It can charge my phone, satnav, archos media player, it won't charge my asus tablet but that is because it needs a USB 3 charger.
The included charger is a 5v 2amp USB charger which is very lightweight.

One point to note is that when I tried to charge my SG2 it kept starting and stopping with a beeping sound, basically not working.
I figured it may be because I have a custom Rom running on the phone, all I had to do anyway was disable USB Debugging on the phone and it works perfectly.

I also hooked up my phone to the 2 X-mini II's and then those into the JBL Charge, it worked giving even more power but that was just overkill, I wanted to see if I could.

My Verdict:
Very portable and perfect for travelling and house parties.
It won't blow the roof off but that's not the point of a portable speaker that's also suited for out and about use.
Best portable speakers I have owned.
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on 25 August 2014
This is ok at small/ medium volume - no better than my Logitech x100 at £40. At high volume it works very well indeed but you don't always want to listen to high volume when relaxing and reading. It is very compact - about beer can size. I would not call it a small speaker. Battery does last a long time. It will not connect to multiple devices but you just have to hold the on switch down until it glows red and you can then connect to a different device. You do not have to tell the first device to forget the JBL before you connect the new device. I like the ability to stand it on its side on on its end. I have read that the Bose mini is not much better than this. That is complete rubbish. The Bose is a different class as it should be at that price. I wouldn't call the Bose mini very portable but the JBL is. This feels very solid.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
As many reviewers noted, this speaker is tiny, yet I had to see it with my own eyes to really appreciate how minute this speaker is!!

Inevitably my immediate concern was whether the power output would be enough, especially for outdoor use. All I can say is that it definitely is!

What I like about the JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker :

- Punchy, rich sound and loud enough to fill a large room. Great for outdoor use too
- So portable. You really have to see it in order to appreciate its miniature size
- Bass reflex works great in boosting low tones
- Robust and stylish finish
- Very good Bluetooth range, I had over 30 feet line of sight in open area with no glitches. Did not try further yet
- Can be used as a normal speaker due to the AUX in socket neatly placed next to the mini USB power input*
- Intuitive button layout and operation**
- Superb battery life, offering over 10 hours of constant use at moderate sound level (6000mA battery)
- Attention to detail is truly amazing. This is also reflected in the stitching of the protective carrying sleeve!
- Audible sounds confirm powering ON/OFF and signal search
- The JBL brand
- USB "charge port" useful for charging devices

* The standard 3.5mm AUX IN jack will provide better sound quality due to no Bluetooth compression, plus batteries will last longer as Bluetooth will be switched off.
** On powering on, the unit goes through a short cycle indicated by the 3 blue LEDs. Once complete these LEDs will show the status of the battery charge. The power button than flashes blue, and if pressed and held, the signal search starts and is indicated by the alternating red and blue flashing of the power button.

Highly recommended to anyone wanting a small and truly portable unit offering great sound.
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on 25 August 2013
love my speaker,,,, Hmm so do the rest of family, my husband has played with it more than me.
sound quality is great good bass, has to be in same room as device's bluetooth paired with.
excellent sound in one room ...good sound if listening from nearby room.
no speaker phone like the flip and slightly larger also, however I knew this on purchasing and decided the charge facility would be of more use to me.
when watching streaming program ie youtube I find the aux cable better than bluetooth. aux cable not sold with speaker but easily required.
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on 6 August 2013
Lets start by saying its not as good as the speaker it replaces but much better than I expected to be. My Saitek A-200 had been worked hard and produces sound that I have never heard bettered by any other portable but it got old and the power supply was becoming flakey. So the search started and led to the JBL Charge. The sound produced by the charge is stunning, not as crisp nor is the, copious, bass quite as defined but better than expected and different in many ways to my old faithful Saitec. It is however louder and does not distort, its bluetooth (my first bluetooth device) is actually excellent and the 12 hour battery life is useful (the Saitec could manage 20hrs on fresh AAA's if not played too loud) and is much more of a group speaker. It is a heavy item, weight conscious backpackers should not consider it, but has a good rugged feel and the handy neoprene cover should keep it looking good for a while. Why five start when the sound is not as good as the speaker it replaces? The sound has a different signature to the Saitec but its other functions make up for it. If the Saitec was still available that would have been my choice but the Charge provides a worthy opponent and it does surprise others who hear it with its deep gassy sound.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
THE JBL CHARGE 2 IS NOW OUT. IT IS HEAD AND SHOULDERS BETTER THAN VERSION ONE, BIGGER BASS AND STRAIGHT RESPONSE CURVE. CHECK IT OUT BEFORE BUYING THIS VERSION 1.

its hard to choose between the various flavours of jbl portables. The flip 1, flip 2, charge and pulse. Seems the flip 1 and charge have the same drivers while the pulse and flip 2 have the slightly more powerful 2x6 watt drivers( compared to 2x 5 watt). The flips having less bass then the pulse and charge, the pulse being described both bassey and bass light while agreement on the charge being bassy but missing the clarity and highs of the others. The flips have ridiculous battery life of 2-3 hours at full volume, the charge going for 12 hours and the pulse a good 5 hours. In the end i went for the charge because the long battery life is what a portable is all about.

sound quality:
on first listening i found the speakers have a sound that is larger than their dimensions, very pleasing for their size. I was struck however by the muddied mids and rolled off highs. The sound does gel pretty well but if youve spent time with decent hi-fi gear youll be drawn to the mids and highs im sure. However after a short while you will just hear the music. It plays loud well and keeping control without getting edgy. I played around with equalising the sound and found just a little lift in the highs really made a big difference to the sound. It came together nicely and these speakers clearly take equalzing well.

form factor:
the real winner for me and what makes it a great overall package on the move is the form factor. Its really compact, sits nicely length ways or on its end and the controls are well laid out. When sitting length ways the volume rocker is is nicely on the top (not the side like the others) with the battery indicator right next to it. Easy to see and reach when laying next to the speaker (say on the beach). And the power button between the volume control and battery indicator.

summary
I do think all these portable speakers are over priced. I have the creative d100 which at half the price sounds better, but of course its way bigger and not portable as in the same way as the jbl charge. So given the choices its a winner for my needs (beach and long battery life with some bass kick).
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on 21 April 2014
After doing a bit of research I finally decided on this JBL speaker - mainly because of its sound quality and price. It is nearly half the price of the Bose speaker, and I reckon sounds just as good! While it may lack a bit in thumping bass, for good all round performance I would highly recommend this speaker, especially if you have a wide taste in music like myself, this fits the bill perfectly. I don't think spending twice as much on the Bose you would be getting double the sound quality. JBL make really good speakers and this certainly doesn't disappoint. We even did a blind listening test with a Kenwood portably speaker and this was definitely clearer and more detailed (for such a small speaker), but not as bassy. Remember, this is only a small speaker, so is only designed for smallish rooms, ie. bedrooms, lounges etc., or taking away on holiday. What is also good about this speaker is its portabilty - it can be laid down flat, or stood upright. Whilst doing some small jobs around the house it was great just to be able to pick up the speaker and carry it around wherever I went (when using my mobile phone as the bluetooth music source). This speaker represents really good value for money, and would therefore highly recommend it. Really pleased with this purchase.
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on 21 October 2014
Beautiful little speaker. Very nice packaging - bought it as a gift; it's well presented. It feels very hardy with an all solid shell. Operation is simple and intuitive and pairing works reliably in seconds. The included neoprene case, plus the rugged deign, make this ideal for travel and carring inside a regular bag.

The JBL charge 2 (the newer model) has some nice additional features, but bizarrely is designed to have very sensitive sides (which instructions advise must not be touched), and critically, no case either. JBL also don't sell a case separately, so if you intend to use this speaker portably, then the Charge 2 is really not an option. Especially strange as it's primary competitor is probably the Logitech UE Boom, which markets itself as being hard wearing and water and scratch-proof.
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on 19 August 2013
Apart from the sparse user instructions (just about enough to make sense) this is a smashing little speaker. It connects quickly and easily to all the devices that I have tried - various phones, computers and tablets - and plays pure and enjoyable sound.
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