JBL On Stage IV review: JBL On Stage IV

  • 1
  • 2

The Good The JBL On Stage IV has the look of modern art and offers a practical, portable solution for charging and listening to your iPod or iPhone.

The Bad In spite of the JBL name and four-driver design, the On Stage sounds anemic for the price.

The Bottom Line We understand buying the JBL On Stage for its unique look, but there are better-sounding options available.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5

Editors' note: We've lowered the JBL On Stage IV's rating from 7 to 6 in order to better reflect its current value among the competition. Be sure to visit CNET's list of the best iPod and iPhone speakers for the latest and greatest products hand-picked by our editors.

The JBL On Stage series has a long history as a stylish speaker dock with a small footprint. Now in its fourth generation, the design of the On Stage IV ($149) is a conversation piece unto itself, though its sound quality can't compare to the recent influx of great, affordable speakers.

The On Stage IV (and its smaller spin-off, the On Stage Micro III) looks like something you'd find in Frank Gehry's home. The fluid, organic lines of the glossy plastic weave across each other, creating a mound of speaker grilles that fire upward and out.

Best Speakers for 2020

All best speakers
  • VIZIO SB3621N-E8

    The Vizio SB3621n-E8 is the best budget soundbar we've ever heard, period.

  • Q Acoustics 3020i

    Starting at: $314.99

    The Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers combine cutting-edge design with excellent sonics.

  • Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2

    Starting at: $349.98

    The Elac Debut B6.2 changes things up with a greater emphasis on build quality and sonic...

  • Sonos One

    Starting at: $197.96

    With great sound, a compact size and the option of either Google Assistant or Alexa, the...

  • ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

    Starting at: $579.98

    The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 shattered our expectations for the sound quality we could expect from...

More Best Products

All best products