With the previous generation of their portable Bluetooth speakers, JBL made a clear distinction between the functionality of the Charge and Flip model, but with Charge 2 the two models gets fused together. Sort of.
The original Charge was equipped with a really good battery and let you charge other devices like phones and tablets, while the Flip offered the possibility to conduct phone calls using the built-in microphone. Therefore, despite having approximately the same size and price, the two devices offered different features, and the customers had to opt for either one or the other depending on their needs. The new Charge 2 is kind of a merger of the two models, while still keeping the visual look of its predecessor. The large frame grille is now gone, and the mesh grille covering the speaker drivers is significantly larger. The ends of the cylindrical housing are not as deep to accommodate the passive radiators, and the overall look is now more sleeker.
The markings (buttons) on the top panel is another indication of the increased functionality, which in addition to the power button and volume control now has commands for managing phone calls and pause music playback. There is a completely new function called 'Social Mode', which allows you to connect and play music from three different Bluetooth sources. Like the previous generation, the battery level is displayed with five discrete LEDs.
The technology on the inside has also been improved, and Charge 2 is now equipped with an amplifier of seven watts per channel (compared to five watts on the previous model), and under the solid metal mesh grille are two broadband transducers with a diameter of 45 millimeters. Also, the sides are now housing flat aluminum passive radiators of the same diameter. All this has resulted in lowering the limit of the frequency band from 150 to 75 hertz, which is a remarkable improvement. In addition, the USB-A output has been moved to the lower part of the back, next to the micro-USB port for charging the battery and an optional analog audio 3.5mm input jack.
So, How Is The Upgrade?
The JBL Charge 2 package includes a quick-start guide, USB power adapter and USB-A / micro-USB cable. The internal battery has not changed, and this is a good thing since the original battery would last up to 12 hours and be fully charged in four hours. Like the previous model, Charge 2 is offered in five different colors (black, blue, purple, red and white). The improvement in sound quality is immediately noticeable, especially in the bass, which is now fuller, more massive and leaves a more powerful impression on the listener. The bass is really great and almost unrealistically good for a device of this size, and in addition to the added weight, there is also quite good definition and speed. The upper frequency range is slightly withdrawn, but still present enough with a character that is more subtle than ‘in-your-face’. The midrange is excellently presented and provides plenty of pretty faithful tonal colors, which never becomes tiring to listen to. Also, Charge 2 is capable of playing very loudly without any noticeable distortion in the sound.
During testing, I noticed one thing that might be considered a minus; a lack of proper buttons for volume control. Charge 2 uses what I guess you´d call 'touch' buttons, and although they are completely integrated into the surface of the control section on the top using symbols (and is more aesthetically pleasing), it doesn´t have the same tactile feeling as the previous model and is perhaps not the best solution from an ergonomic standpoint. This is of course a matter of taste, but it is the only thing I can find that bothers me, really. Anyway, the added speakerphone function, which allows phone calls without reaching for the phone with commands to answer and end a call, and the impressive battery capacity that allows you to use the speaker for 12 hours and also recharge a phone or tablet makes the minor flaws I found insignificant.
Overall, JBL Charge 2 proved to be a worthy successor to the already capable Charge, and improvements are present not only in terms of functionality, but also in better sound quality. In this light, the increase in price is completely justified, and Charge 2 is really a great choice if you are looking for a convenient portable speaker with Bluetooth connectivity.
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Big bass and big sound on the go
No matter how you plug it, play it, or stream it, the JBL Charge delivers with dual drivers and twin passive bass radiators for a powerful and punch sound experience
Stream your music wirelessly via Bluetooth®
Not only can you carry your Charge 2 portable in your backpack, you can play your music from it too. The Charge 2 features Bluetooth 3.0 that lets you connect it with any Bluetooth-enabled device to let the good times roll wirelessly – not to mention communicate with your friends through the Charge 2’s hands-free conference speakerphone that features noise and echo cancelling technology.
A built in 6000mAh battery for 12 hours of playback and charging your portable devices
Like its long-lasting predecessor, the JBL Charge 2 features a 3.7V 6000mAh Li-ion battery that lets you play music for up to 12 hours without any need for recharge. There’s power to spare for charging your phones, tablets, and music players. That’s even more impressive when you account for its newly upgraded, best-in-class sound and overall bass output.
Social mode so everyone can share their music
What’s the fun in having best-in-class sound without sharing it amongst friends? The Bluetooth Social Mode on the Charge 2 lets up to three people take turns playing their respective mobile phone, tablet, and laptop play-lists on the same portable speaker – keeping your music options nonstop. Any Bluetooth-enabled portable device is cordially invited to experience the Charge 2 cordless power.
Bluetooth® version: 3.0
Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
Transducer: 2 x 45mm
Rated power input: 2 x 7.5W
Frequency response: 75Hz – 20kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio: >80dB
Battery type: Lithium-ion Polymer
Battery charge time: 4 hrs @ 1.8A
Music playing time: up to 12 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
Dimensions (H x W x D): 79mm x 184mm x 75mm Weight: 540g
- 1 x JBL Charge 2
- 1 x 5V 2.3A USB adapter
- 1 x Micro USB cable (1m)
- 1 x Safety sheet
- 1 x Quick start guide