The JBL Charge 5 is the latest addition to JBL’s popular line of waterproof Bluetooth speakers. In this review, we will assess the design and comfort, features and controls, connectivity options, battery life, sound quality, microphone performance, and provide alternative options for comparison.

Design and Comfort:

The JBL Charge 5 features a sleek and sturdy design with a woven fabric cover and silicone accents. It comes with a protective sock, charging cable, and documentation. Although not pocket-sized, it is lightweight and portable, making it suitable for outdoor activities. The speaker includes onboard controls and a silicone foot for stability on flat surfaces. With an IP67 rating, it can withstand submersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes without compromising sound quality.

Features and Control:

The JBL Portable app offers access to JBL PartyBoost and firmware updates. PartyBoost enables the connection of multiple speakers for a louder sound, supporting both stereo and party modes. The app provides a user-friendly interface and helpful information about the speaker and its components.

Connectivity Options:

The JBL Charge 5 uses Bluetooth 5.1 for easy pairing with devices. It also supports Bluetooth multipoint, allowing seamless switching between two source devices. The speaker offers a decent range, although thick walls may affect the connection quality. It lacks an aux port, limiting wired listening options.

Battery Life:

With an official 20-hour battery life, the JBL Charge 5 provides extended playback time. It charges via USB-C and takes approximately 4 hours to fully charge. The speaker features an indicator light to display the battery level.

Sound Quality:

The JBL Charge 5 delivers powerful and loud sound, making it suitable for parties and outdoor gatherings. It features a long-excursion driver, a separate tweeter, and passive bass radiators for clear vocals and impressive instrument separation. The speaker’s sound quality surpasses that of the Bose SoundLink Mini and SoundLink Flex.

Microphone Performance:

The JBL Charge 5 does not include a microphone, limiting its functionality for voice calls and voice assistant usage.

Alternatives:

Alternative options to consider include the JBL Xtreme 3, which offers even louder output and an aux input, and the JBL Flip 6 for a more portable option. The UE MEGABOOM 3 provides 360-degree audio, an IP67 rating, and the ability to pair with another MEGABOOM 3 for a more robust sound. The Sonos Roam, although smaller, offers WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and integration with the Sonos ecosystem.

Conclusion:

If you already own the JBL Charge 4 or Charge 3, the JBL Charge 5 may not offer enough upgrades to justify the purchase. However, for those without an earlier model, the Charge 5 is an excellent choice. It delivers impressive audio quality, especially in terms of volume output, and its portable design makes it suitable for various outdoor activities. If portability is a priority, the JBL Flip 5 is a recommended alternative.

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