Bose SoundLink Revolve vs. JBL Charge 4

Is JBL better than Bose? That’s one of the most common questions people ask us every day. A few weeks ago, we did try to answer this question, or rather give you some general information about each brand and about their Bluetooth speakers.

However, we don’t think that comparing just two brands and not two specific speaker models, can give you the right answer. The only way to make things clearer for you and give you proper advice is to compare just two speakers, list their pros and cons, and give you our verdict.

So, instead of comparing brands, we are today comparing two similarly priced Bluetooth speakers – Bose SoundLink Revolve and JBL Charge 4. Let’s see which one is better.


Bose SoundLink Revolve comes from the SoundLink series of portable Bluetooth speakers that also includes SoundLink Mini (and Mini II), SoundLink Micro, SoundLink Color, and a larger and louder version of SoundLink Revolve called SoundLink Revolve +. 

Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speakers

Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speakers

One thing all SoundLink Bluetooth speakers have in common is that recognizable, clean, but also very stylish design. In fact, SoundLink Revolve and Revolve + are, at least in our opinion, the most attractive of all the SoundLink speakers. Revolve has a fairly rugged exterior, and it is splash-proof (IPX4-certified). 

All the controls are located on the top and are supper-intuitive and responsive. It features Bluetooth 4.2 and has a backup 3.5mm audio input for connecting non-Bluetooth sources. It supports multipoint pairing and wireless daisy-chaining (pair two speakers together). 

It has a built-in battery and can deliver 12h of continuous playtime. To recharge it, you can either use the included micro USB cable or the charging cradle for wireless charging (sold separately). The speaker also has a built-in mic. It can be used for hands-free calls, and it supports Siri and Google Assistant.

Bose SoundLink Revolve delivers nicely balanced 360°-sound. It is not the loudest Bluetooth speaker in its price range, but it delivers very clear and detailed sound, and it could easily be one of the best-sounding Bluetooth speakers under $200. The best thing about sound reproduction is the midrange. 

JBL Charge 4 comes from a very popular line of JBL portable Bluetooth speakers that also includes Flip, GO, Xtreme, Clip, Pulse, Boombox, and JBL PartyBox speakers. They all have different features and purposes, but there’s one thing they all have in common – they are all among the most popular and highest rated on the market in their respective categories. 

JBL Portable Bluetooth speakers

JBL Portable Bluetooth speakers

The majority of JBL speakers (Flip, Pulse, Xtreme, Boombox), including JBL Charge 4, have that familiar cylindrical shape with a famous waterproof fabric grille and passive bass radiators. Unlike Bose Bluetooth speakers, JBL speakers are more sporty than stylish. They are good-looking, but it’s a different kind of good-looking. The speaker is also very rugged and is IPX7-certified (fully waterproof).

Charge 4 features Bluetooth 4.2 and has an AUX input. It delivers a very good Bluetooth range, it supports multipoint pairing, and wireless daisy-chaining (100+ JBL Connect + speakers). The speaker has a huge rechargeable battery and can deliver almost 20 hours of playback per one charge. It comes with a USB-C charging cable and recharges in 4 hours. Thanks to such a large battery, Charge 4 can also charge your phone or any other portable device (USB charge-out port). 

Charge 4 doesn’t deliver 360° sound (only one full-range driver), but it’s quite loud for its size. The biggest highlight is the midrange response, while the bass is surprisingly weak, especially for a JBL speaker.

Comparison Table

Bose SoundLink RevolveJBL Charge 4
Clean and stylish designSporty design
Rugged exteriorSolid build
IPX4 – splash-proofIPX7 – fully waterproof
Multipoint pairingMultipoint pairing
Pair two speakers wirelesslyWireless daisy-chaining – pair more than 100 compatible speakers together
12-hour playtime20-hour playtime
Charging cradle for wireless chargingPowerbank feature
360-soundLoud sound with balanced midrange reproduction
Great midrange reproduction
Built-in mic for hands-free calls

Why Should You Buy Bose SoundLink Revolve?

It goes without saying that Bose SoundLink Revolve is a beautiful speaker. That’s pretty much expected from Bose. It has a very attractive and ergonomic truncated cup shape. Bose designed it to be grabbable and easy to operate.

The top and bottom have rubber bumpers, and the body is made of metal. The overall build quality is very good. The unit is IPX4 certified, so it’s not submersible in water, but it’s still a great choice for outdoor use.

The controls are very simple and intuitive. There’re six buttons, and they are all located on the top (power, Bluetooth pairing, source, volume, MF button). At the bottom, there’s a rubber flap protecting the micro USB charging port and AUX input. On the bottom panel, there’s a threaded mount and a pad for wireless charging (the charging cradle, however, is not included in the package). 

Bose SoundLink Revolve

Bose SoundLink Revolve

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Bose has two playback options – Bluetooth (V4.2) and AUX. Bluetooth range is better than advertised (100+ ft without obstacles). The connection is stable and reliable. The speaker can remember up to 8 devices, and two devices can be paired at the same time (multipoint pairing). You can also pair two SoundLink Revolve speakers together (but not multiple speakers) and choose between two modes – Stereo and Party. Or, you can pair it with any Bluetooth speakers from the SoundLink series

Official Youtube Video

To pair them and control some basic settings, you can use the Bose Connect app (Android and iOS).

The built-in battery delivers up to 12 hours of playback (at 50% volume) and recharges in approx. 4 hours. Unfortunately, even though it has a pretty large battery, it doesn’t have a powerbank port, so you can’t use it to charge other portable devices.

Revolve has a built-in mic so you can use it for hands-free calls. It also supports Siri and Google Assistant.

The speaker has a very interesting driver arrangement. You have a down-firing transducer paired with an omnidirectional deflector that enables 360°-sound. It also has two passive bass radiators.

SoundLink Revolve delivers a fairly neutral sound signature There’s a subtle high-bass emphasis (70Hz-100Hz), while the rest of the spectrum is well-balanced. The midrange is almost impeccable. 


Why Should You Buy JBL Charge 4?

JBL Charge 4 is an attractive sporty-looking speaker. JBL sticks to its famous cylindrical design. Flip, Pulse, Charge, Xtreme, and Boombox – they all have the same shape, but different orientation. Charge, Xtreme, and Boombox are horizontal and have rubberized stands on the bottom. 

The speaker features that recognizable JBL’s waterproof fabric wrapped around it. Passive bass radiators are located on the left and right ends, the logo is on the front, and the controls are on the top. Charge 4 has an IPX7 rating and is fully waterproof (submersible in water). 

The speaker is placed on a rubberized stand. On the front end of the stand, there’re five LED battery status indicators. On the back, there’s a flap protecting the 3.5mm audio input, USB-C charging port, and a USB charge-out (powerbank) port. 

There’re six buttons on the top – power, Bluetooth pairing, volume controls, Connect + button (for pairing multiple speakers together), and play/pause button. The controls are easy-to-use and responsive. 

JBL Charge 4

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Like Bose SoundLink Revolve, JBL Charge 4 supports two playback options – Bluetooth (V4.2) and AUX. Bluetooth works like a charm. Pairing is done in 3sec. NFC pairing is not supported. The range extends well above average (200+ ft without obstacles), and the connection is perfectly reliable and steady. You can pair two phones with it at the same time. You can also pair two or multiple compatible JBL speakers together. Have in mind that the unit is compatible only with other JBL Connect + speakers (the latest generation of JBL portable Bluetooth speakers). To pair them and control some basic features, you can use the JBL Portable app, previously known as the JBL Connect app (Android and iOS). 

One of the greatest highlights was, expectedly, the battery life. Powerful battery and long playtime have become one of the JBL’s trademarks. Charge 4 has a 7,500mAh rechargeable battery. At moderate volumes (approx. 50%), you can get almost 20 hours of playtime. The recharge takes 4 hours (USB-C to USB-A charging cable included). Because of such a powerful battery, Charge 4 can also charge your phone or tablet (via USB powerbank port).

Official Youtube Video

Charge 4 doesn’t have a built-in mic, which is kind of surprising. The previous version (Charge 3) had a mic. We don’t know why they decided to remove it, but if this is something you are looking for, Bose SoundLink Revolve is a better option. 

This speaker has only one front-firing 50x90mm driver paired with two passive bass radiators. The sound reproduction and sound signature are also surprising. JBL Bluetooth speakers are known for their bassy sound signature, but Charge 4 is not like that. The bass is actually not that deep or punchy. There’s just a subtle bass emphasis in the high-bass region. The midrange is nicely balanced and detailed. There’s a sudden roll-off in the treble region (after 3kHz) which makes the whole treble response a bit dull and lifeless. Charge 4 works best with vocal-oriented music. 

The speaker is quite loud for its size. The soundstage is very narrow, and the stereo separation is nonexistent. This is not a surprise when you know that the speaker has only one driver. Pairing two speakers and using them in stereo mode improves the overall performance significantly, especially when it comes to stereo separation and soundstage. 

Specifications

SPECSBose SoundLink RevolveJBL Charge 4
DIMENSIONS WxHxD (in)3.24 x 5.97 x 3.248.7 x 3.7 x 3.75
WEIGHT1.5 lbs2.1 lbs
INPUTSAUX

Micro USB (for charging)
AUX

USB-C (for charging)
OUTPUTSNoUSB x1 (charge-out port)
BLUETOOTHBose SoundLink RevolveJBL Charge 4
Bluetooth VersionBT 4.2BT 4.2
Supported ProfilesN/AA2DP, AVRCP
Supported CodecsN/ASBC, AAC
Range100+ ft200+ ft
Multipoint pairingYes (up to 2 devices)Yes (up to 2 devices)
Wireless daisy-chainingYes (2 speakers)Yes (100+ speakers)
BATTERYBose SoundLink RevolveJBL Charge 4
CapacityN/A7,500 mAh
Playtime (50% volume)Up to 12hUp to 20h
Recharge timeUp to 4hApprox. 4h
DRIVERSBose SoundLink RevolveJBL Charge 4
Woofers3" x150x90mm x1
Passive bass radiatorsx2x2
POWER OUTPUTN/A30W RMS
WI-FI ConnectivityNoNo
App SupportYes (Bose Connect)Yes (JBL Portable)
ADDITIONAL FEATURESBose SoundLink RevolveJBL Charge 4
360°-soundYesNo
WaterproofnessSplash-proof - IPX4Fully waterproof - IPX7
Wireless chargingYes (cradle not included)No
Built-in micYesNo
Siri/Google Voice ControlYesNo
Auto power-offYesYes
PowerbankNoYes

Similarities Between Bose SoundLink Revolve and JBL Charge 4

For starters, both models are Bluetooth speakers and feature the same Bluetooth version (V4.2). They also both support multipoint pairing – you can pair two phones at the same time with them. Both speakers can be paired with other compatible speakers (Revolve with other SoundLink speakers and Charge 4 with other JBL speakers that support Connect +). Both, Revolve and Charge 4 deliver above-average wireless performance with an above-average Bluetooth range. Finally, both speakers have an additional AUX port for connecting non-Bluetooth devices. 

Furthermore, both speakers feature very good build quality, and they are both IPX-rated (Revolve – IPX4, Charge 4 – IPX7). 

Both units feature intuitive and perfectly responsive controls.

There’re some differences when it comes to battery, but both speakers have very powerful batteries and deliver longer-than-average playtimes

The final similarity is related to their sonic performance. Both speakers have a very good midrange reproduction, and that’s their biggest highlight when it comes to sound reproduction. 


Differences Between Bose SoundLink Revolve and JBL Charge 4

Bose SoundLink Revolve has a more elegant look, while Charge 4 features a sporty design. Also, the Revolve is available in two colors only (black and silver), while Charge 4 comes in numerous finishes (various colors and prints).

Charge 4 is fully waterproof (IPX7), while SoundLink Revolve is just splash-proof (IPX4). So, they are both suitable for outdoor use, but Charge 4 is still a better choice.

Even though there’re many similarities when it comes to Bluetooth connection, Charge 4 still offers a slightly better Bluetooth range. Also, Charge 4 can be paired with multiple compatible JBL speakers (100+ speakers), while SoundLink Revolve can be paired with only one additional SoundLink speaker. 

Both speakers have large batteries, but Charge 4 delivers slightly longer playtime (20h VS 12h). Also, Charge 4 has a USB charge-out (powerbank) port, while SoundLink Revolve doesn’t have one. Revolve supports wireless charging, while Charge 4 doesn’t.

In our opinion, Bose SoundLink Revolve wins when it comes to sound reproduction. They both have good midrange, but Revolve has a slightly punchier bass and much better and more engaging treble reproduction. 

Another advantage of SoundLink Revolve is the built-in mic. Charge 4 doesn’t have a mic. Besides, SoundLink Revolve features support for Google Assistant and Siri.

Finally, we have to mention the price. The difference is not huge, but Revolve is still slightly pricier ($20 price difference). If you decide to buy the charging cradle, the price difference is even bigger ($50).


Final Decision

So, which one is better – Bose SoundLink Revolve or JBL Charge 4? The answer depends on the intended purpose. If you need something for outdoor and on-the-go use, especially if you’re looking for something that you can use around the pool or bring with you to the beach, JBL Charge 4 is a better choice. It’s IPX7 certified, it has a long-lasting battery, it’s loud, and you can use it to charge your phone if you run out of battery.

Bose SoundLink Revolve is also suitable for outdoor use but, since it’s not fully waterproof (only IPX4), you have to be a bit more careful. SoundLink Revolve also looks better, and in our opinion, it sounds better. If you only care about the sound, our recommendation is Bose SoundLink Revolve. 


FAQs

Q: Are JBL speakers better than Bose?

A: It is very hard, some would even say impossible, to compare two brands and not two specific speaker models. We did an article about JBL and Bose a few weeks ago, and you can read it if you want, but we still think that you should only compare speakers and not manufacturers.

Q: What speaker is better than JBL Charge 4?

A: If you like balanced and detailed sound, try Bose SoundLink Revolve. If you’re looking for a more powerful bass response and louder sound, try UE MEGABOOM 3.

Q: Is Bose SoundLink Revolve worth it?

A: It all depends on the intended purpose. If you compare it with other popular choices in the same price range (like Charge 4 or UE MEGABOOM 3), Bose SoundLink Revolve delivers the most balanced sound, while MEGABOOM 3 is the bassiest. Both MEGABOOM 3 and Charge 4 are more suitable for outdoor use (both are IPX7 certified). 

Q: Is JBL Charge 4 better than Flip 5?

A: Both speakers feature the same design (but different orientation) and the same build quality. Flip 5 is smaller and lighter, which makes it more portable. Charge 4 has a larger battery, and it can charge your phone (powerbank USB port). JBL Flip 5 delivers better, more balanced sound, but Charge 4 is louder. JBL Flip 5 is also cheaper ($100 VS $180).

Q: Which JBL Bluetooth speaker is the loudest?

A: JBL PartyBox speakers (PartyBox 1000, PartyBox 300, PartyBox 200, PartyBox 100) are the loudest portable, battery-operated JBL Bluetooth speakers. PartyBox 1000 is THE loudest. Even JBL Boombox, which is smaller than PartyBox speakers, is very loud for a portable Bluetooth speaker. 

Q: What’s the difference between Bose SoundLink Revolve and Revolve+?

A: They feature the same design, and most of the features are the same. However, Revolve+ is bigger, louder, it has a stronger bass response, a bigger battery (12h VS 16h), and it has a handle on the top. Revolve+ is also pricier ($50 price difference). 

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