JBL Charge 5 Review
The JBL Charge 5 is the latest Bluetooth model from the JBL, created for outdoors and poolside. As you can notice from the name, it is the fifth and, so far, the best generation in the Charge line of portable Bluetooth speakers. The Charge 5 is now IP67 certified, which means it is dustproof now and capable of surviving submersion in a 1-meter depth for 30 minutes. It also floats, so you won’t need to save it from the bottom of the pool. The Charge 4 is IPX7 rated, meaning only waterproof.
- Thoroughly dust and water resistance
- USB-A port for charging mobiles
- Loud for its size
- Powerful bass
- Wide soundstage
- Good battery life
- No speakerphone
- The JBL Portable app lacks EQ
The JBL Charge 5 has a significant redesign from the Charge 4. The first one you notice is the JBL logo, which is much bigger now.
As far as the shape is concerned, Charge 5’s dimensions are 8.7 x 3.8 x 3.7 inches, the weight is 2.1 pounds, and come in six different colors (black, blue, camouflage, red, teal, and gray), which is in a way step back from Charge 4, which is available in twelve colors.
The JBL Charge 5 has the same wire mesh recognizable for all JBL’s portable speakers that keep the internal parts safe. The rubber end caps on both ends stick out from the speaker, so if you stand it vertically, the Charge 5 will lean to one side. On the bottom, there are rubber strips to keep it stable on a table.
Under the grille, there is a single 20 mm tweeter (10 watts) and a 52 mm by 90 mm woofer (30 watts). The Charge 5 is mono, and if you like stereo, you can pair two JBL Charge 5 speakers via the PartyBoost feature.
PartyBoost has a more extended connection range and less latency than the previous JBL Connect and JBL Connect+. Unfortunately, the three platforms are not compatible with each other, so you can’t use Charge 4 (supports JBL Connect+) and Charge 5 (PartyBoost) to create stereo mode. So if you like to take advantage of the PartyBoost feature, you can use it with JBL’s Boombox 2, Xtreme 3, Pulse 4, and Flip 5.
With the JBL Portable app, you get support for the JBL Charge 5, like firmware updates, and deploy PartyBoost from the phone where other JBL speakers supporting the app will appear to link. The Portable app doesn’t allow tweaking the EQ settings.
There are buttons for PartyBoost, volume up and down, and play/pause on the speaker’s top, all blend in with the grille. If you tap twice the play/pause button, you will skip forward a track. There is no backward navigation function. The power and the Bluetooth controls are separated in the center of the other buttons in a small cutout. The speaker has Bluetooth 5.1, offering increased data transfer speed, more stable connection, and a better range. It supports the SBC Bluetooth codec (not AAC or aptX).
There is a covered USB-A port (for charging mobile phones) and an uncovered USB-C port for charging the speaker on the back panel. There is no 3.5 mm aux connection present in the previous generations.
The battery is 7500 mAh, with estimated 20 hours of playback from a single charge. Below the large JBL logo, there is a battery indicator. The light fades as the power decreases. You can use Charge 5 for charging the phone while it plays music.
There is no Wi-Fi connectivity and no microphone, so you can’t use it as a speakerphone to receive calls or to use a voice assistant.
Sound quality of JBL Charge 5 Review
The JBL Charge 5 delivers good sound, vocals are clear, and the bass is impressive. The sound is more balanced, crisper, and more precise than the Charge 4 due to a separate tweeter added in the newer model.
The mid-range and treble have plenty of detail, and the bass has a forceful kick.
Although treble can become a little overbearing when the volume is at top levels when listening to vocal-dominated tracks, the speaker plays well in most genres.
The total 40 watts RMS output provides enough sound to fill up a room or turn heads if you play the speaker outside. The Charge 5 has enough muscle in a small package. Even at lower volumes, the speaker pushes out surprising amounts of bass without overshadowing the highs.
The JBL Charge 5 is a great Bluetooth speaker capable of charging other portable devices while delivering excellent vocals and bass. And it is resistant to water and dust.
So if you are a JBL fan and you like the design and power bank functionality, the Charge 5 is a perfect choice for you.