JBL Charge 5 Review

JBL Charge 5 Review: Is this 40W speaker worth it?

The JBL Charge 5 is a powerful Bluetooth speaker that hits the sweet spot between sound performance, portability, and bass. Amongst all JBL speakers, the JBL Charge 5 sits in between the JBL Flip 6 and the JBL Xtreme 3 and delivers extremely good sound performance together with portability and durable construction; it is larger than the highly portable JBL Flip 6 but smaller than the Xtreme 3, making it suitable to take with you for outdoor trips or pool parties. Compared with the previous Charge 4 speaker, the JBL Charge 5 delivers an improved 40W sound performance with very nice bass response down to 65 Hz, and also comes with two passive bass radiators at the sides for deeper lows. The Charge 5 speaker also comes with a built-in battery that delivers 20 hours of playtime on a single charge and is IP67 waterproof which means that it can be brought virtually anywhere outdoors to the beach or pool without any issues. The Charge 5 speaker comes with its signature built-in power bank that allows you to charge your smartphone devices on the go with its 7500 mAh battery.

We really liked the sound of the JBL Charge 5 compared with the latest JBL Flip 6 and the JBL Xtreme 3. It hits the sweet spot between bass and clarity, and does not feel bloated like the JBL Xtreme 3 in the lower frequency ranges. It also delivers deeper and more punchy bass than the Flip 6, giving EDM and rock music soundtracks an extra added punch. We played a couple of soundtracks including “Golden Hour” by JVKE and the vocals and mid-bass sounded absolutely stunning with crystal clear clarity; the highs are crystal clear and do not sound “artificial” or warm like the JBL Xtreme 3 – they sound natural and well-defined. The JBL Charge 5 delivers some of the best clarity and vocal performances we have heard from a JBL Bluetooth speaker with really good volume output.

The JBL Charge 5 is slightly larger than the JBL Flip 6 and hits the sweet spot in sound performance and portability

Sound Performance

The JBL Charge 5 has a natural-sounding signature with an emphasis on the vocals and bass ranges; it sounds natural and wide, and we really liked how crisp and clean the highs sounded. Compared with a larger JBL speaker such as the JBL Xtreme 3, the JBL Charge 5 sounded less bloated and muddy when it comes to bass response – the bass hits hard and feels very tight and punchy, and this makes EDM and rock music very fun and enjoyable to listen to. The JBL Charge 5 is also louder than the JBL Flip 6 by comparison (40 watts vs 30 watts) and delivers much deeper bass response, making them ideal for outdoor parties and pool events. The JBL Charge 5 has a wide frequency range of 65 Hz to 20 kHz and can reproduce the entire audio spectrum with crystal clear clarity; it does not sound “warm” like the Xtreme 3 speaker and the bass does not muddy into the midrange frequencies but stays where it should be as bass.

We played a couple of hip-hop music on the JBL Charge 5 including Senorita by Shawn Mendes and it sounded really vibrant and punchy, with excellent vocal clarity. The beats of the music sounded distinct and tight, and the vocals sounded exceeding clear despite the punchy bass response. One of the good things about the Charge 5 is that it comes with its own long excursion driver and separate tweeter, allowing the speaker to deliver distinct highs and bass response. The Charge 5 also sounds louder than the Flip 6, and you can push up the volume on the Charge 5 to maximum levels without hearing any distortion.

The JBL Charge 5 comes with a dedicated large excursion driver for mids and bass, with a dedicated tweeter for crisp highs

Design and Specs

The JBL Charge 5 looks exactly like the JBL Flip 6 but is much larger at 8.7” x 3.76” x 3.67” as compared to the JBL Flip 6’s 7” x 2.6” x 2.8” dimensions. This speaker looks really sleek and also comes with JBL’s signature dual passive bass radiators at the side which vibrate and enhance the lower-end bass response. It comes with the same button functions including pause/play and skip soundtracks and supports wireless Bluetooth pairing. The Charge 5 speaker uses Bluetooth 5.1 and also supports A2DP 1.3 and AVRCP 1.6 and has a wireless range of around 30-40 feet without any dips or drops in connectivity. The Charge 5 speaker is also IP67 waterproof which means that it is fully waterproof and can even be submerged underwater to a depth of 1m without any issues. The built-in battery on the Charge 5 lasts 20 hours at around 60-70% volume level and has a charging time of 4 hours when charging via USB-C.

The JBL Charge 5 top and bottom view. Compared with the Charge 4, the Charge 5 features a newly improved silicone grip

We also really liked the PartyBoost feature where you can connect multiple JBL PartyBoost speakers together to create a much wider sound-field with multiple Charge 5 speakers linked together. You also have the option of adjusting the EQ settings using the JBL app, although we found that the speaker delivers really nice and balanced sound performance straight out of the box without any adjustments.

How does it compare with other JBL speakers?

We found that the JBL Charge 5 was the best sounding speaker as compared to the smaller JBL Flip 6 and the larger JBL Xtreme 3 speaker. The Charge 5 does not sound boomy or bass-heavy like the Xtreme 3 speaker, and gets much louder than the Flip 6 which is ideal if you want to use the speaker to power a larger party or play music indoors. The Charge 5 delivers a solid 40W output which is higher than the Flip 6’s 30W and sounds much clearer and crisp than the JBL Xtreme 3’s 100W output. In terms of sound performance, we would say that the JBL Charge 5 really hits the sweet spot between sound quality and portability, making it a really good speaker to blast music and still get crystal clear audio performance.

JBL Charge 5 vs Flip 6 size comparison

Compared with the JBL Charge 4 speaker, the JBL Charge 5 also comes with a few notable improvements. The Charge 5 sounds louder than the Charge 4 with a 40W output, which is a good improvement over the Charge 4’s 30W output. It also uses Bluetooth 5.1 which is a significant upgrade from the Charge 4’s Bluetooth 4.2 and provides a much more stable and consistent wireless connection between 30-40 feet range. Both the Charge 4 and Charge 5 both have 20 hours of battery life and are virtually identical when it comes to size and weight. The Charge 5 however does deliver slightly more bass than the Charge 4 due to its upgraded long excursion driver which improves the overall mid-bass response.

The Verdict?

The JBL Charge 5 is hands down one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers from JBL, delivering much louder volume than the JBL Flip 6 and sounds much clearer and crisper than the JBL Xtreme 3. This speaker hits the sweet spot between sound quality and portability, deliver really clean vocals, smooth midranges and pretty decent bass performance that outshines the JBL Flip 6. It also delivers much more power (up to 40 watts) compared with the Flip 6 and you can push this speaker to maximum volume without hearing any distortion. When we tested this speaker with hip-hop soundtracks including Golden Hour from JVKE, we found the sound really rich and full-bodied with impressive bass response. We also liked the USB charge-out port which is really convenient if you need to charge your smartphone and Bluetooth devices on the go. The battery life is also excellent and delivers up to 20 hours of playtime on a single charge, and the entire speaker is very durable and IP67 waterproof for poolside parties and outdoor use. We also liked the ability to connect multiple Charge 5 speakers using the PartyBoost feature on the JBL app, making this a really versatile party speaker. Overall, the JBL Charge 5 is the best sounding JBL speaker we have tested that delivers louder volume than the Flip 6 and better clarity than the Xtreme 3, and hits the sweet spot between sound performance and portability.