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JBL On Stage IV review: JBL On Stage IV

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MSRP: $149.95

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.

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6.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5

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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.

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