JBL Charge 4 IPX7 with In-Built Power bank 30W Portable Bluetooth Party Speaker
Pay In Interest-Free EMI with
Buy Now Pay Later with
PayU Save Upto 100% with
0% No Cost EMI Available with
Buy Now Pay Later with
Power Output(RMS): 30 W
Power Source: AC Adaptor Battery
Battery life: 20 hr | Charging time: 4 hrs
20 Hours of Playtime under optimum audio settings
JBL Connect Technology enabling pairing of 100 JBL Speakers
No Cost EMI Available
Upto 12 months EMI Available on Bajaj Finserv (Minimum Cart Value Rs. 4499/- TC. Also, available on selected bank Credit Debit Cards.
Fast FREE Shipping
All orders are shipped in 1-3 business days.
7 Days Replacement Return Policy
JBL Charge 4 30W Portable Bluetooth Party Speaker
Introducing the JBL Charge 4 portable Bluetooth speaker with full-spectrum, powerful sound and a built-in power bank to charge your devices. It features a proprietary developed driver and two JBL bass radiators that intensify sound with strong deep bass. Its high-capacity 7800mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery provides up to 20 hours of playtime. The speaker carries a convenient USB charge out to quickly charge your devices, such as your smartphone, so you will never run out of power again. The Charge 4 features a rugged design, IPX7 waterproof rated exterior and comes in a suite of cool colors. Together with JBL Connect it can wirelessly link more than 100 JBL Connect enabled speakers to elevate your listening experience.
➦ Wireless Bluetooth Streaming
Wirelessly connect up to 2 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns enjoying powerful sound.
➦ Up to 20 hours of playtime
Built-in rechargeable Li-ion 7500mAH battery supports up to 20 hours of playtime and charges your device via USB port.
➦ IPX7 waterproof
Take Charge 4 to the beach or the pool without worrying about spills or even submersion in water.
JBL’s Charge 5 sticks to the winning formula of great sound and power to spare
The JBL Charge 5 (available at Amazon for 149.95) is the latest poolside- and outdoors-ready Bluetooth speaker from the portable audio maestros at JBL. This robust, rubber-capped speaker earns its title thanks to its ability to charge up another device (like a phone or tablet) while simultaneously filling your space with rockin’ tunes—it’s kind of like two products in one, presenting a notable value.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.
- About the JBL Charge 5
- What we like
- What we don’t like
- Should you buy it?
As you may have guessed, the Charge 5 marks JBL’s fifth iteration in the Charge line of portable Bluetooth speakers, and this is the best version yet. A rugged, waterproof option that delivers a robust, bass-forward take on music and has enough battery life to last for extra-long outings and charge the device you’re playing music from, keeping the jams jamming to the jamth degree.
That doesn’t mean the Charge 5 is perfect for everyone, of course. The Flip 5 is nearly the same product, minus the pass-thru charging and boosted battery life, and you’re paying a not-inconsiderable surcharge for those features. If you really don’t think you need the charging ability, you could save some money and get the Flip instead. In addition, it only makes minimal improvements over the more affordable Charge 4, so if you want this functionality at a bit of a discount, that’s worthy of consideration. Regardless, the Charge 5 is an excellent Bluetooth speaker in every respect, and the latest version’s new dust-proof design should make it the most rugged in the lineup to date.
About the JBL Charge 5
JBL’s Charge 5 gets its name from its ability to charge USB-based devices like a smartphone while it plays music.
- Price: 179.95
- Width x Height x Depth: 8.7 x 3.76 x 3.67 inches
- Weight: 2.11 pounds
- Colors: Black, Blue, Grey, Red, Teal, and Squad (Camo)
- Battery life: Up to 20 hours per charge
- Speakers/drivers: 52x90mm woofer; 20mm tweeter
- Wireless connection: Bluetooth 5.1
- Charging: USB-C
- Dust/water resistance: IP67
- Special features: PartyBoost, built-in powerbank
Just like the Charge 4 and Flip 5, the Charge 5 doesn’t overcomplicate things—it’s fairly frills-free as features go. You’re getting the standard Bluetooth connectivity here (no Wi-Fi, etc.) as well as JBL’s “PartyBoost” feature, which allows you to chain connections to other JBL PartyBoost-equipped speakers, creating a multi-speaker setup. Otherwise, what really differentiates the Charge from something like JBL’s Flip line is the built-in power bank.
As mentioned, The Charge 5 is now dustproof, and has also received an upgrade to its Bluetooth version (from 5.0 to 5.1). In addition, the speaker has received some minor cosmetic changes. But generally, the approach here seems to be the age-old, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it theory.
What we like
Robust, balanced sound
The Charge 5’s ability to charge up another device may earn it its namesake, but it wouldn’t be worth much if it didn’t sound good while doing it. Whether I was using it inside or out, the Charge 5 provided robust sound quality with both ample volume and well-balanced frequency distribution. There’s plenty of bass and midrange support, but without skimping on higher treble frequencies either.
The Charge 5 provides warm, robust sound whether inside or out. It’s plenty loud, and maintains a balanced emphasis of bass, midtones, and trebles.
When first booting up the Charge 5 and playing some music, I was seriously surprised by how loud it was. You can tell it’s meant to fill an outdoor space such as at the beach or the forest on your next hike with plenty of sound: it was almost too much for my rather cramped office.
I toted the Charge 5 on a trip to northeast Pennsylvania and enjoyed it in a spacious hotel room. I used it alongside a soak in a jet-equipped bathtub, and it handily delivered the sounds of lush synths, sharp percussive beats, and warbling ‘70s guitars even after being (purposefully) splashed with a not inconsiderable amount of water.
The IP67 rating means you can expose this device to dust and water liberally without excessive worry. Still, you probably shouldn’t bathe with it—that’s just weird, right?
JBL’s Flip 5 is one of our favorite Bluetooth speakers ever, primarily due to its well-rounded, warm, robust sound quality—and the Charge 5 captures that same efficacy. It isn’t jaw-dropping, shelf speaker quality, but for a portable speaker that doubles as a charging bank, it’s darn good.
Durable, intuitive design
I’ve always loved JBL’s portable Bluetooth speaker design, and that’s no different for the Charge 5. The first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out the controls, and it really couldn’t be simpler.
From left to right across the top of the speaker, you’ve got raised, tactile buttons for PartyBoost, Volume Down, Power, Bluetooth pairing, Volume Up, and Play/Pause. The power and Bluetooth keys are separated in the center of the other buttons in a small cutout, while the others blend in with the speaker’s fabric grille along the top of the device. Around back, you’ll find the small USB-C charging port and the power bank’s USB, the latter of which is covered by a rubber seal to keep out dust and moisture.
The JBL Charge 5 delivers a durable, intuitive design with all of its control buttons arranged neatly in a row on top.
Speaking of dust and moisture, the Charge 5 is well-equipped to keep them at bay: its rubber-capped ends keep it safe from imminent destruction if you have the misfortune of dropping it, and help it to float in water to boot. The speaker is IP67-rated, meaning it’s essentially dustproof and can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and it also floats so you won’t have to rescue it from the bottom of the pool.
Our review unit came in Blue—it’s a handsome tone, and the (huge) JBL branding on the front has a burnished look with a reddish drop shadow on the letters that almost looks like unfiltered 3D images.
Finally, raised rubber strips along the bottom help keep it stable on a table, and a small, cleverly placed charge indicator beneath the JBL logo helps keep track of battery life. Despite all this, the Charge 5 is relatively light at a little over two pounds. The durability and attractive design touches—along with its robust sound quality—help to justify its price.
Ample battery life
Speaking of keeping track of battery life, you fortunately won’t need to be too fastidious: the advertised 20 hours of battery life are legitimate (give or take depending on mediators like overall volume and how long/often you’re charging another device). Most folks should be able to use the Charge 5 for a couple full workdays (or play days) before they need to plug it in for revival.
The hefty battery life is a big part of what you’re paying for. If you often find yourself shying away from using your phone to play music on outings due to the threat of its battery dying, the Charge 5 makes for an extra-helpful companion: not only does it sound oodles better than your smartphone, but it also can handle charging it back up while it blasts tunes, too.
A rubber-capped USB input on the back of the Charge 5 allows you to charge any USB-based device, like an iPhone or tablet.
Have you ever gone on a longer, multi-day hiking or camping weekend and found yourself constantly turning your phone off, switching battery modes, trying to eke out as much juice as possible over a few days? I know I have; I missed out on a lot of photo opportunities on those weekends because I didn’t want my only lifeline to civilization wholly depleted. If I’d had the Charge 5, I wouldn’t have had to fret so much.
The one thing I didn’t test when it comes to battery life was connecting a bunch of PartyBoost speakers—I just don’t have enough JBL speakers sitting around. But I have to imagine that chain of connections also affects total battery life to some degree. Even still, the 20 hours you’re getting here (especially for how loud this thing is in general) is an excellent result.
What we don’t like
A little bit inflexible
Other than its power-bank ability and the proprietary JBL PartyBoost option, the Charge 5 doesn’t deliver some of the features you might expect for what you’re paying. You’re not getting Wi-Fi (which means no Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay, etc.) nor any built-in voice assistant compatibility. While those features aren’t exactly standard, they’re available on the similarly priced Sonos Roam.
The JBL Charge 5 is a bit inflexible: it’s Bluetooth-only (no 3.5mm input or Wi-Fi), and it can’t climb trees—I put it there.
The only way to play music over this speaker is Bluetooth—you can’t even plug in an auxiliary audio device like an MP3 player, as there’s no 3.5mm input jack. This means it can’t double as a speaker for most desk monitors. It won’t interface with any of your Smart home gear either.
This extends to your charging options, too. While the included USB-C cable is on the longer side, there’s no wall adapter included, which means if you need to charge while on a trip (or road trip), you need to either find your own or bring something like a laptop along. Unlike the Roam, there’s also no wireless (Qi) charging, so cables are your only option.
You’re paying a good bit for the big battery
Right now, you can get similar functionality, sound, and durability in JBL’s “standard” speaker, the Flip 5, for around 80 less. All you’re sacrificing is 8 hours of battery life and the ability to charge your other devices. Depending on your use cases, it’s worth keeping in mind if you don’t need the charging feature or don’t think you’ll be away from a charging port for extended periods of time.
Should you buy it?
Yes—especially if you were already shopping power banks
It took me a few days to wrap my head around the key stamp that this product makes upon the Bluetooth speaker market: it’s really two products in one. You can charge any USB-equipped device—be it a smartphone, tablet, game controller, or even some laptops—using the Charge 5’s pass-thru. So not only are you getting a robust, dust-and-waterproof Bluetooth speaker, you’re also essentially buying a portable battery pack.
This is worth considering if you’re interested in this product: if you don’t need a power bank, you could save money by buying something like the JBL Flip 5, or you could spend the same amount on a more feature-stuffed product like the Sonos Roam. It’s also worth mentioning again that this model only changes a couple of things compared to the previous-gen Charge 4—the Charge 5 adds dust proofing and updates its Bluetooth codec—so if those aren’t high on your list, you can get many of the same features for less money by opting for the older model.
Otherwise, you’re getting solid audio presentation, plenty of battery to go around, and excellent attention to durability and design, making the Charge 5 a very attractive buy.
Meet the tester
Lee was Reviewed’s point person for most television and home theater products from 2012 until early 2022. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversaw reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviewed headphones, and has a background in music performance.
Checking our work.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you’re confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we’ll compare notes.
JBL’s popular waterproof speaker series gets a new look and slightly better sound
Tom’s Guide Verdict
With a new look, a little more ruggedness and improved sound, the JBL Charge 5 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers — just not one of the cheapest.
Why you can trust Tom’s Guide?
Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what’s best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
The JBL Charge 5 is the latest evolution in the long-lived Bluetooth speaker line. With each generation, JBL has tended to add a little bit more to the Charge’s capabilities. With the Charge 5, it makes a few small changes — especially to the design — while also simplifying certain features.
The result is a basic but rugged portable Bluetooth speaker, and one that sounds good enough to contend with the best waterproof speakers. However, it also ends up more expensive than even better-sounding speakers with more features. Keep reading our full JBL Charge 5 review to find out if it’s still worth your cash.
JBL Charge 5: Price and Availability
The JBL Charge 5 has a list price of 179.95, and as a new product you’re unlikely to find it for much less than. You can buy it directly from JBL, or order it from Amazon, BH or Best Buy.
It’s also worth noting the varied color schemes available. In addition to solid colors like black, red, teal, gray and the blue version we received, there’s also a version with a camouflage finish.
JBL Charge 5 review: Design
The Charge 5 received a fairly significant redesign from the Charge 4. The biggest change is the JBL logo: it’s much bigger, so there’s no doubt who made this speaker.
JBL also tweaked the shape and dimensions. At 8.7 x 3.8 x 3.7 inches, it’s slightly shorter and a little plumper in the middle than the Charge 4. The end caps, which house the passive bass radiators, are cut at a slight angle, similar to the JBL Flip 5. That gives the speaker a bit more visual flair, but also causes it to lean like the Tower of Pisa if you want to stand it on one end instead of laying it flat.
As with the last few versions, the Charge 5 is wrapped in mesh — the same as you’d get on the JBL Go 3 — and has rubber end caps. Having six colors to choose from is nice, though this is actually a step back from the Charge 4, which was available in 12 colors.
On the top, you’ll find buttons for power, Bluetooth and volume up/down. The play button can also pause a track, or with a double click, advance to the next song. The PartyBoost button pairs two JBL speakers together in stereo mode or multiple speakers in party mode to spread the sound more widely.
On the back there’s a USB-C port for recharging the battery, and under a rubber flap, a USB-A port that you can use to charge other devices. At least JBL has kept the Charge’s namesake feature in each generation. But the Charge 5 ditches the 3.5 mm auxiliary connection that other generations included.
Below the large JBL logo is a single light that shows the amount of battery power left. The light fades as the power decreases — a slick-looking way to see the battery life left, though it’s not as easy to get an accurate read as the five lights on the Charge 4.
JBL Charge 5 review: Waterproofing
The Charge line has improved its ruggedness with each iteration. Along with being waterproof, the Charge 5 adds resistance to dust, giving it an IP67 rating. That means you can submerge the speaker in water up to 1 meter deep, for up to half an hour, without worry.
Sure enough, I dunked the Charge 5 in a sinkful of water and it continued to play without problem. Light rain or shower jets won’t pose a threat in the slightest.
JBL Charge 5 review: Sound quality
The Charge 5 delivers very good sound for a speaker its size, with easy-to-hear vocals and impressive bass. It sounds more balanced than the Charge 4, but it isn’t as full or wide as our current Bluetooth speaker top pick: the UE Megaboom 3.
On Black Pumas’s “Fire,” the horns came across bright and punchy, while the vocals were clear above the guitar and keyboards. The menacing bass and thumping drums were prominent on The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” but didn’t overwhelm his singing. However, both songs sounded much fuller and richer on the Megaboom 3, although the vocals weren’t as far forward in the mix.
The difference between the two speakers was easier to hear when listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again;” while Lindsey Buckingham’s vocals were clearer on the Charge 5, the fingerpicked guitars were much fuller on the Megaboom 3.
JBL Charge 5 review: Battery life
JBL says the Charge 5 will run for 20 hours, the same as previous models and the same as the Megaboom 3. That seems accurate enough — after 15 hours of use at mostly low volume, I had about 25% battery left.
Of course, a key feature of the Charge series is its ability to act as a power bank for your phone, though this draws from the same battery as the speaker itself. So, if you do use the Charge 5 to power other devices, expect a reduction in play time.
JBL Charge 5 review: Wireless and setup
The Charge 5 paired quickly with my phone. It had a good signal up to about 50 feet indoors, with walls between my phone and the speaker.
You can download the JBL Portable app to upgrade the Charge 5’s firmware and see its battery level. The app is also how you manage PartyBoost, to connect to another JBL speaker in stereo mode or party mode. I was able to get PartyBoost to work with the Charge 5 and a Flip 5, but strangely, not a Charge 4.
The app doesn’t let you make any kind of sound adjustments. There aren’t any preset sound modes or an equalizer. The sound you hear out of the box is the sound you get. UE’s Boom Megaboom app, by comparison, offers a five-Band equalizer with several presets, as well as other features like an alarm and the ability to set a one-touch playlist.
JBL Charge 5 review: Verdict
The JBL Charge 5 is a very good Bluetooth speaker. It doesn’t have many frills, aside from being able to charge another portable device, but it delivers impressive vocals and bass, and it can withstand the elements.
At 179, its list price is lower than that of the Megaboom 3 — but UE’s speaker has been out for much longer, and often sells at a much lower price despite the MSRP. And the Megaboom 3 is a better all-around speaker, too, in terms of both sound and features. The only thing the Charge 5 can do that the Megaboom 3 can’t is charge another device.
Don’t forget about the Sonos Roam either. This, too, is more affordable than the Charge 5, despite offering Wi-Fi connectivity and voice assistant smarts.
Still, if you’re a fan of the JBL sound, want that power bank functionality or simply prefer its looks, the Charge 5 is a solid choice for a portable (and waterproof) Bluetooth speaker.
JBL Charge 5 Speaker Review
The JBL Charge 5 is the next generation of the JBL Charge 4. It’s a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s designed to bring your favorite tunes with you wherever you go. Bring it from room to room, or take it outside with you, and its IP67 rating for dust and water resistance helps to protect the drivers inside. Plus, it gives you access to sound customization tools in the JBL Portable app. Compared to the Charge 4, you can also connect it with other PartyBoost speakers to enjoy sound all throughout your room.
The JBL Charge 5 is alright for music. Thanks to its balanced mids, it reproduces voices and lead instruments with clarity and detail. As a result, it’s suitable for listening to lots of different genres, and its graphic EQ allows you to switch up its sound to your liking. That said, as a smaller speaker, it doesn’t bring a lot of rumble in the low-bass.
The JBL Charge 5 isn’t really designed for listening to movies, but if you want to watch a video from your paired smartphone, it can get the job done. Dialogue is clearly reproduced, and relatively low latency means that you don’t notice lip-synching issues. However, this speaker doesn’t get loud enough to fill larger rooms with sound, and it lacks the rumble in the low-bass for action-packed films.
The JBL Charge 5 is satisfactory for podcasts. Dialogue is reproduced clearly, so you can follow along with your favorite shows with ease. Thanks to its portable design, you can carry it with you from room to room, which is great for longer episodes. Plus, multi-device pairing allows you to connect it to up to two audio sources at once, making it easy to switch between listening from your phone and your laptop.
The JBL Charge 5 doesn’t support voice assistants.
The JBL Charge 5 is good for outdoor use. It’s a portable Bluetooth speaker with a solid build, so it can withstand some exposure to the elements. In fact, it’s rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, and its long battery life is suitable for afternoons outdoors. That said, it doesn’t get very loud, so you’ll want to stay closer to the device while listening to your favorite tunes.
- 6.5 Music
- 5.8 Videos/Movies
- 7.4 Podcasts
- 2.8 Voice Assistant
- 7.6 Outdoors
- Updated May 30, 2023: Added market comparison with the Anker Soundcore Motion X600 in the Voice Assistant box.
- Updated Apr 05, 2023: Added a market comparison with the Marshall Middleton in the App box.
- Updated Mar 08, 2023: Added market comparison with the JBL Pulse 5 to the Style box.
- Updated Jan 26, 2023: Minor updates to the text for accuracy and clarity. No changes in test results.
- Updated Dec 19, 2022: Changed Track Next/Previous from No to Forward Only (Physical).
- Updated Jan 31, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
- Updated Jan 19, 2022: Retested the speaker after updating the firmware (V.0.8.2.0). Updated the test result for ‘EQ’ from ‘No’ to ‘Graphic’ in the ‘App’ Box.
- Updated Nov 25, 2021: Updated the text to specify the first two letters preceding our model’s serial number.
- Updated May 10, 2021: Review published.
- Updated May 06, 2021: Early access published.
Differences Between Sizes And Variants
The JBL Charge 5 comes in nine color variants: ‘Black’, ‘Red’, ‘Blue’, ‘Teal’, ‘Grey’, ‘White’, ‘Pink’, ‘Khaki’, and ‘Squad’. We tested the ‘Black’ variant; you can find its label here. The serial number on our speaker begins with ‘TT,’ and some users have reported differences in the performance and build of variants of this speaker depending on the first two letters preceding its serial number.
If you come across any other variants of this speaker, let us know in the discussions, and we’ll update our review.
Compared To Other Speakers
The JBL Charge 5 is a portable Bluetooth speaker similar to the JBL Charge 4. The Charge 5 has a more neutral sound profile than its predecessor and is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, meaning it’s certified to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Unlike the Charge 4, which uses the older Connect protocol, the Charge 5 has a PartyBoost button that you can use to pair it to other PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers like the JBL Xtreme 3.
The JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Flip 6 have different strengths. The Charge 5 can get slightly louder and can produce a more extended low-bass out-of-the-box. It also has a much longer battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage. However, the Flip 6 is smaller and has a removable carrying strap, making it a bit more portable than the Charge 5. It also has better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage.
The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The Charge 5 has a more balanced sound profile. It’s also better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust-tight and immersible in a meter of water for 30 minutes. That said, while the Charge 5 can connect to PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers, it can’t connect to those with the Connect feature like its predecessor. The Charge 4 has lower latency with iOS and Android devices, though some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.
The JBL Xtreme 3 and the JBL Charge 5 are very similar speakers. While they both have very similar designs, the Charge 5 is smaller, lighter, and more portable. It also has a slightly better-balanced sound profile. That said, the Xtreme 3 can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which sounds more immersive. It uses the JBL Connect app, as opposed to the Charge 5 that uses the JBL Portable app.
The JBL Charge 5 and the Bose SoundLink Flex perform similarly. They both offer neutral sound profiles and are well-built with IP67 ratings for dust and water resistance. The JBL’s battery lasts longer than the Bose, though this can vary depending on your usage. However, the Bose is a bit smaller in size and supports voice assistants through your smartphone.
The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Flip 5. The Charge 5 has a more neutral sound profile, and longer battery life, though the latter can vary depending on your usage habits. It’s also better built and is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance. However, while the Charge 5 can get louder with slightly fewer compression artifacts at max volume, the Flip 5 has a somewhat wider-sounding soundstage.
The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. While the Charge 5 has a more balanced sound profile, the Xtreme 2 can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It can also get louder than the Charge 5, with fewer compression artifacts at max volume, and supports voice assistants through your smartphone.
The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. The Ultimate Ears can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has an outstanding soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design. That said, the JBL has a more neutral sound profile out of the box. You can connect it to two devices at once, which can come in handy when you need to switch between two audio sources quickly.
The Sonos Roam and the JBL Charge 5 are similar speakers, though they have different strengths. The Sonos is smaller and more portable than the JBL. It has outstanding voice assistant performance and comes with bass and treble sliders you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. However, the JBL can get louder than the Sonos with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It can be paired to two devices at once via Bluetooth and has outstanding battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage habits, so your real-world experience may differ.
Depending on your preferences, you may prefer either the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 or the JBL Charge 5. The Ultimate Ears is better built and has a wider and more open-sounding soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. That said, the JBL has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce more extended low-bass than the Ultimate Ears out of the box. It can also get slightly louder, though there’s some compression at max volume that may affect the clarity of your audio at louder volumes.
The JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Pulse 5 are both portable Bluetooth speakers with strengths and weaknesses. The Charge 5 has a better sound quality out of the box, with a more balanced sound and a more extended low-bass. It also has a longer-lasting battery life. However, it doesn’t come with RGB lights like the Pulse 5, which you may prefer depending on your tastes.
The JBL Charge 5 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Pulse 4. The Charge 5 is better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It can also get louder and offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce deeper bass than the Pulse 4. That said, the Pulse 4 comes with customizable RGB lights and offers a more natural-sounding soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design.
The JBL Charge 5 and JBL Flip 4 are similar speakers with different strengths. The Flip 4 is smaller, making it easier to carry around with you when you’re on the go. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono resulting in a more immersive soundstage. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone. That said, the JBL Charge 5 offers a better-balanced sound profile and has a longer-lasting 14.5-hour battery life. However, battery performance can vary depending on your usage, and your experience may differ. Also, while the Flip 4 is compatible with JBL speakers that support JBL Connect, the Charge 5 can only be paired to PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers.
The Sonos Move is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5 overall. The Sonos has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the JBL. Its sound profile is more customizable, thanks to the bass and treble adjustments featured on its companion app. It even offers outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. That said, the JBL is smaller than the Sonos, making it easier to transport with you when you’re on the go.
You may prefer either the Marshall Emberton or the JBL Charge 5, depending on your preferences. The Marshall is smaller and offers a soundstage that can be perceived as open and spacious. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which sounds more immersive. That said, the JBL can get louder with less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volume levels. It also has a longer battery life, lasting over 14 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage. Additionally, you can connect the JBL to other PartyBoost-compatible speakers to create a stereo pair or when you want your audio to fill a large room.
The Sony SRS-XB33 is a slightly better speaker than JBL Charge 5. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile and slightly longer battery life, though battery life can vary depending on usage, so your experience may differ. However, the Sony comes with a ClearAudio feature advertised to automatically adjust its sound according to your audio. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn’t very good.
The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. The Boombox 2 can produce deeper bass and can get louder than the Charge 5. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. The Charge 5 is smaller and more portable than the Boombox 2. It’s also better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning it’s dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.
Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Marshall Middleton or the JBL Charge 5. The JBL’s battery lasts longer, and its graphic EQ makes it a bit more customizable. However, the Marshall can reproduce a slightly more extended low-bass. It has a better soundstage as well.
The JBL Charge 5 and the Anker Soundcore Motion Boom are similar speakers. The JBL has a more neutral sound profile out of the box that’s suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It’s smaller, making it a bit more portable. You can also pair it to up to two devices at once, so you can easily switch between audio sources. That said, the Anker can get louder with less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn’t great.
The Sony SRS-XB43 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Charge 5 though they’re similar. The JBL is smaller and has a better-balanced sound profile out of the box. That said, like many Sony speakers we’ve tested, the Sony has a ClearAudio feature advertised to adjust the speaker’s sound according to your audio content and can get louder than the JBL. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn’t great.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. The Bose offers a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage thanks to its 360-degree design. It also has a slightly better-balanced sound profile than that of the JBL. Additionally, it supports voice assistants through your smartphone and does an excellent job of understanding you from far and in noisy environments. That said, the JBL is better built and can also get slightly louder than the Bose with less compression at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio.
The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4 overall, though you may prefer one over the other depending on your listening habits. The Charge 5 offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce deeper bass than the Clip 4. It can also get louder and can last over 14 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage. That said, the Clip 4 is smaller and more portable thanks to its built-in carabiner hook. It also offers a wider-sounding soundstage.
The Anker Soundcore Motion is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. The JBL is better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance that certifies it to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It also has a better-balanced sound profile than the Anker out of the box. However, the Anker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. Additionally, it supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though it doesn’t do a good job of hearing you from far and in noisy settings.
The JBL Charge 5 is a slightly better speaker than the Anker Soundcore 3. The JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the Anker out of the box. It can also get louder and has a wider-sounding soundstage. That said, the Anker is smaller and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive.
You may prefer either the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 or the JBL Charge 5, depending on your listening habits. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile out of the box that can produce a slightly more extended low-bass than the Anker. It’s better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance and can also get a bit louder. That said, the Anker can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and offers a wider-sounding soundstage, thanks to its 360-degree design.
The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6. The JBL is better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning it’s dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It’s smaller, more portable, and has a longer-lasting battery life than the Harman, though battery life can depend on your usage habits, and your experience may differ. That said, the Harman can produce a slightly more extended low-bass than the JBL.
The Anker Soundcore Motion X600 is better than the JBL Charge 5. The Anker is a stereo speaker that gets louder than the JBL. Plus, it offers voice assistants through a paired smartphone, which the JBL lacks. There are also more sound modes and presets with the Anker, so you can switch up its sound. That said, the JBL’s battery life is a touch longer.
The JBL Charge 5 is a slightly better speaker than the Sony SRS-XB23. The Sony offers a wider-sounding soundstage thanks to its 360-degree design and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn’t great. However, the JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile out of the box and can produce a more extended low-bass. It can also get a bit louder with less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. Additionally, it has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage.
The Marshall Emberton II is a slightly better speaker than the JBL Charge 5, though they have different strengths. The Marshall is smaller, making it more portable. It offers a wider and more immersive-sounding soundstage that can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It has a longer-lasting battery life. It also has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices, making it more suitable for watching movies and videos. However, the JBL gets a touch louder than the Marshall, with much less compression present at max volume, so your audio doesn’t degrade as much as you bump up the volume. Also, while the Marshall comes with EQ presets to adjust its sound, the JBL comes with a graphic EQ that gives you more control over the speaker’s sound.
The Sony SRS-XE300 and the JBL Charge 5 are similar speakers with different strengths. While the JBL offers better overall sound quality, the Sony is more versatile. The JBL has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more open-sounding soundstage, while the Sony’s sounds a bit more muffled. It also has a bit less compression present at max volume, so audio sounds cleaner at louder volumes. Its sound profile is also more balanced and a bit smaller, making it easier to transport. However, the Sony can produce slightly deeper bass, and its battery life lasts almost three hours longer. It supports voice assistants through your smartphone too. Also, it can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, resulting in a richer and fuller sound. However, it’s hard to notice the channel separation when passively listening due to the speaker’s size.
The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5. It has a slightly better-balanced sound profile out of the box and offers a wider-sounding soundstage thanks to its 360-degree design. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone. That said, the JBL has a longer battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage habits.
The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the Sony SRS-XE200, though they perform similarly. The JBL offers a more balanced sound profile out of the box, suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It gets as loud as the Sony with less compression at max volume, so audio quality sounds cleaner and clearer when you bump up the volume. It also has better directivity, so you’ll perceive its soundstage as more open and spacious than the Sony speaker. The Sony can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It supports voice assistants through your smartphone too.
The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5, though they have different strengths. The Ultimate Ears is smaller, more portable, and has much better directivity resulting in a more open and natural-sounding soundstage. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and has fewer compression artifacts at max volume. The JBL can produce deeper bass than the Ultimate Ears, and you can pair it to multiple PartyBoost-compatible speakers, which can come in handy when you want your audio to fill a large room.
JBL Charge 5 – portable, loud, Bluetooth speaker and power bank (review)
What has a 27Wh battery and is not afraid to share? The JBL Charge 5 is an IP67 portable, loud, Bluetooth speaker and power bank that can entertain you for up to 20 hours on a charge.
JBL has made quite a name in the portable Bluetooth speaker market, ranging from mono ultra-portables to the amazingly loud and proud Party Box 310. But the best thing is that you can buy any of these and get JBL build quality and its excellent JBL neutral and natural sound signature – more on that later.
If you are looking for the best BT portable at 199 – this is it.
JBL Charge 5
|From||JBL online and CE retailers|
|Country of origin||China|
|Company||JBL (Est. the mid-40s) is short for James B Lansing (Yes, he was the Lansing in Altec Lansing.) Now it’s part of the Harman group of companies owned by Samsung.|
|GadgetGuy JBL news and reviews|
How does it look – first impressions
It’s a bit bolder than the Charge 4 with the new JBL orange and steel grey logo (on our black version), but otherwise, it’s a typical waterproof, rubberised fabric-covered cylinder with a little middle-age spread and a rubber base. It sits in landscape mode – it is not a 360° speaker. Size is 223 x 96.5 x 94mm x.98kg.
Controls are power on/off, BT, /- volume and fast forward. There is a dedicated PartyBoost button, so you don’t need the app. It comes in different colours – Pink, Teal, Blue, Forest Green and boring black!
It supports BT connections to two BT 5.1 devices – PC and phone. The BT signal is very strong – we could connect at 60m. Latency (BT 5.1 devices) is around 100ms, so you don’t get lip sync video issues.
JBL Portable app Android and iOS (formerly JBL Connect)
While you don’t need the app, it is handy to check for firmware updates. It does not require a login, but it does need location data, Bluetooth access, and storage access (to play on-device audio).
Otherwise, the app does nothing extra.
It also has JBL PartyBoost to join with up to 100 like-minded JBL speakers. These include Xtreme 3, Boombox 2, Pulse 4 and Flip 5.
PartyBoost is a great concept but is supersedes Part Connect that may upset some owners of older JBL speakers that cannot use it.
Power bank and battery life
The battery is 3.6V/7.5A/27W, which is significantly larger than most BT speakers. Charge time using any USB-C PD charger is about four hours – there is no fast charge. It will also charge at 5V/2A/10W or less, but charge times can be longer. That also means it can charge from a car utility socket (cigarette lighter).
The Power Bank bit means it has a USB-A port capable of 5V/2A/10W charging. To put that in perspective, it should charge an iPhone 13 about 1.5 times. Of course, that reduces playing time accordingly. It can charge a USB device while charging, but that also increases the speaker charge time.
JBL claims up to 20 hours, based on 50% volume and BT 5.1 SBC low-res MP3 audio content from a BT 5.1 device.
We tested on a continuous loop under the same parameters, and it achieves just over 19 hours. At 100% volume (test over an hour and extrapolated), that gets closer to 13 hours.
1m for 30 minutes provided the charge out socket cover is in place.
Mono 90 x 52mm woofer (30W) and 20mm tweeter (10W RMS) plus the characteristic JBL passive bass radiators at either end. See exploded video below.
Missing (and not usually expected from a BT speaker)
- Aux or USB Input
- Wi-Fi (buy the JBL Essential)
- EQ would be nice
- Voice assistant (no mic)
- Backwards compatibility with JBL Part Connect/ speakers (it’s a BT 5.1 thing)
How does it sound? Amazing
JBL calls it Pro Sound. I call it terrific with JBL’s neutral sound ‘signature’ that neither adds nor subtracts from the original content. Just to reinforce this – few speakers achieve this nirvana that is a delight to listen to and certainly you don’t expect this at 199.95.
This is amazing (Gold line) – a delight to listen to. (Ignore white line)
To put this in perspective it has significant low to mid-bass, powerful high-bass and flat all the way to about 8kHz (low treble). It covers all the significant audio characteristics. The top end is a little harsh but back off a few dB and that goes.
But the lack of an app EQ means garbage in, garbage out, so have a little pride and play at least 16-bit, 44.1kHz ripped music that Spotify et al., provide.
We found podcasts to be clear and clean courtesy of the new tweeter – it adds clear dialogue missing from the Charge 4. Outdoors it is loud enough, but the passive bass radiators struggle to ramp up the bass in the wide-open spaces.
We did not have a second unit to play stereo in PartyBoost, but it has a decent enough signature to handle that.
Volume-wise it reaches 84.4dB (loud), but there is a little too much distortion at 100% volume. It is not so much distortion but clipping or compression and backing off a few dB fixes that.
JBL has done it again with its expertise in water-resistant, no-frills, Bluetooth speakers that sound great. Above that is the JBL Xtreme 3 9.5/10 (399.95), and below are the JBL Charge Essential (199.95) and JBL Flip 5 (169.95). Interestingly the speaker it replaces, JBL Charge 4, was 229.95.
I review many BT speakers, and I would put it close to the Ultimate Ears Mega Boom 8.2/10 (299.95) and well above the Boom 3 8.2/10 (199.95). But to be fair, these are 360° speakers focusing on volume, and comparisons are not all that objective. The BlueAnt X3 8.9/10 (239) is a closer competitor
It is the perfect portable with a terrific sound signature and heaps of volume. At 199.95 you can’t go wrong with the JBL Charge 5.