JBL Flip 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

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Introduction

In this article I’ll review the JBL Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker to help you figure out if it’s the right fit for you. I’ll take a deep dive into the Flip 5’s build and form factor, button access and features, power and ports, and I’ll also do a sound comparison with the JBL Flip 4 in the YouTube video above.

Build and Form Factor

The JBL Flip 5 is slightly larger than the JBL Flip 4, in that it’s just over 7 inches long, just under 3 inches tall and 3 inches deep, and weighs 1.19 pounds. The added weight is barely noticeable, and shouldn’t be a determining factor. The Bluetooth speaker is the smallest in the family of JBL’s portable speakers, along with the JBL Charge 4 and the JBL Xtreme 2.

The JBL Flip 5 is built for the outdoors, wrapped in a tough wire and mesh combination to protect the drivers, and rubber end caps to protect the exterior passive radiators from dents and dings.

Finally, the JBL Flip 5 Bluetooth speaker is IPX7 rated, which means it’s waterproof for up to three feet, and also dust-proof.

Button Access

The buttons on the JBL Flip 5 are easily accessible, sitting along the top of the speaker and the back of the device. Built into the wire mesh along the top of the speaker are the PartyBoost, volume up and down, and a Play button that can only be used to start and stop playing music on your device. This is different from the JBL Flip 4, which let you configure the Play button to interact with Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, and also answer phone calls. The Power and Bluetooth buttons sit in the center of the plastic bar that runs along the back of the device. Additionally, if you were frustrated with the buttons on the JBL Flip 4 and felt like you had to drive your finger through the speaker to press any of them, you’ll be much happier with the Flip 5, as the buttons are much more responsive.

Sound Comparison

The JBL Flip 5 hands down sounds better at all levels — low, high, and mid range, and pumps out insanely great sounding bass for its size, driven by the improved one-inch passive radiators. The overall audio quality is similar to what you’d get out of the JBL Charge 4, but without the higher power output afforded by the Charge 4 that can help it get louder. Additionally, the audio from the JBL Flip 5 carries well outdoors, and will crank out clean and clear audio that will reach everybody’s ears at a backyard party or pool.

Power and Ports

One of the biggest changes from the JBL Flip 4 to the JBL Flip 5 is the switch from the micro-USB port that powers the Flip 4 to a USB-C port that powers the Flip 5, allowing for faster charging. Both devices offer up to 12 hours of music playback on a full charge, but the Flip 5 only takes 2 and a half hours to fully charge, while the Flip 4 takes 3 and a half hours. Additionally, the USB-C port on the JBL Flip 5 is located on the right end of the plastic bar that runs along the back of the Bluetooth speaker, and is exposed with no cover for easy access.

Additional Considerations

In addition to PartyBoost not being able to connect to JBL speakers with JBL Connect+, no ability to interact with Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, and not including a mic so the device can be used as a speakerphone, one of the other big downsides is that the device uses Bluetooth 4.2 rather than Bluetooth 5.0, which would have afforded higher data transfer rates and better wireless range.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the JBL Flip 5 is an awesome sounding speaker that’s worth the price, even if you can get the JBL Flip 4 for a little less. The combination of great sound, high portability, and tough body mean it can fit into a lot of different scenarios, whether you’re just looking for a speaker to sit on your desk at work, whether your kid wants a speaker in her room, whether you need something to sit out by a pool, whether you want to pack it on a camping trip, or whether you want to park it in the garage. However, it’s lacking in the feature department when compared with the Flip 4, and if the ability to use the device as a speakerphone and interact with Google Assistant or Siri are important to you, you’ll be better off with the Flip 4.

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About Max

Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

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