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JBL Charge 5 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Jan 26, 2023 at 04:02 pm
JBL Charge 5 Picture
6.5
Music
5.8
Videos/Movies
7.4
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
7.6
Outdoors

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.

Our Verdict

6.5 Music

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic battery life.
  • Balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • Requires two units for stereo sound.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
5.8 Videos/Movies

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.

Pros
  • Low Bluetooth latency.
  • Balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • Requires two units for stereo sound.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
7.4 Podcasts

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.

Pros
  • Incredibly portable.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
2.8 Voice Assistant

The JBL Charge 5 doesn't support voice assistants.

7.6 Outdoors

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.

Pros
  • Fantastic battery life.
  • IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
Cons
  • Requires two units for stereo sound.
  • Compression artifacts at max volume.
  • 6.5 Music
  • 5.8 Videos/Movies
  • 7.4 Podcasts
  • 2.8 Voice Assistant
  • 7.6 Outdoors
  1. Updated Jan 26, 2023: Minor updates to the text for accuracy and clarity. No changes in test results.
  2. Updated Dec 19, 2022: Changed Track Next/Previous from No to Forward Only (Physical).
  3. Updated Jan 31, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  4. 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.
  5. Updated Nov 25, 2021: Updated the text to specify the first two letters preceding our model's serial number.
  6. Updated May 10, 2021: Review published.
  7. 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.

See also our recommendations for the best JBL speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best outdoor speakers.

JBL Charge 4

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.

JBL Flip 6

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.

JBL Flip 5

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.

JBL Xtreme 3

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.

Bose SoundLink Flex

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.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

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.

JBL Xtreme 2

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.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

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.

JBL Pulse 4

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.

Sonos Roam

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.

Sony SRS-XB43

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.

JBL Boombox 2

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.

JBL Flip 4

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.

Sony SRS-XB33

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.

Marshall Emberton

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.

Sonos Move

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.

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom

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.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

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.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

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.

Sony SRS-XB23

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.

JBL Clip 4

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.

Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio 6

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.

Anker Soundcore 3

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.

Marshall Emberton II

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.

Sony SRS-XE300

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.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

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.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2

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.

Sony SRS-XE200

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.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Charge 5 is the next generation of the JBL Charge 4. They have similar designs, though the JBL logo on the Charge 5 is much larger and looks more like the one on the JBL Xtreme 3. The speaker is fairly small and is meant to be placed horizontally on its base. It comes in many different colors, so you can choose one that suits your style. We tested the 'Black' variant.

9.1
Design
Portability
Volume
121 inยณ (1,982 cmยณ)
Weight
2.0 lbs (0.9 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This small, lightweight speaker can be carried in one hand, making it easy to take when you're on the move. It's also battery-powered, so you can take it outdoors with you without needing to connect it to an outlet. For an even smaller and more portable speaker, check out the JBL Flip 6 or the Marshall Willen.

8.3
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

This speaker has an impressive build quality. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It's made of materials that feel solid, and there are also two bass radiators on either side of the speaker. On its rear, there's a USB-A port in a sealed compartment and a Type-C charging port.

6.6
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Forward Only (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The speaker has + and - buttons you can use to adjust the speaker's volume. There's audible feedback to indicate when you've reached max volume, too. Its play and pause button can also be double-pressed to skip to your next track. However, there isn't a way to skip to your previous track. You can pair it to your devices via Bluetooth by pressing the dedicated Bluetooth button. This should trigger a flashing light when it's in pairing mode and a solid blue light once it's paired.

It also has a PartyBoost button you can press when you want to connect it to other PartyBoost-compatible speakers. You can control this feature in its companion app. Lastly, there are horizontal dots at the bottom of the speaker that light up to indicate the speaker's battery level.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Charge 5 speaker
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Sound
6.7
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.29
Std. Err.
3.90 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
58.2 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.5 kHz

The JBL Charge 5 has a fair frequency response accuracy. It's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, thanks to its balanced mids, which ensure that voices and lead instruments are reproduced with clarity and accuracy. Like most smaller speakers, however, there isn't much rumble in the low-bass to bring bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop to life.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
5.8
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.27 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

Its soundstage performance is sub-par. It has decent directivity, meaning you can hear your audio clearly from most angles. However, the overemphasis in the treble range can make its soundstage feel a bit uneven. It also needs to be paired to another unit to play stereo sound and has to downmix stereo content to mono when using it on its own, which doesn't sound as immersive. If you're looking for a speaker with a fantastic soundstage, check out the Sony SRS-RA3000.

6.5
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
88.9 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.16 dB

This speaker gets loud enough for average-sized rooms, but it struggles to fill larger and more open spaces with sound. Plus, as you crank up the volume, there's some more compression in the mix, which impacts the clarity of audio reproduction.

Active Features
8.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
14.5 hrs
Charge Time
3.8 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

This speaker is advertised to last over 20 hours, but in actuality, it lasts around 14 hours. That said, this performance is still impressive, and since battery life can vary depending on usage, your real-world experience may vary. It also has a power-saving feature that shuts the speaker off after it's left inactive for a while, which is nice.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
7.9
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Portable
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Graphic
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Portable app is very good. There's a graphic EQ you can use to customize the speaker's sound profile to your liking. There's a Party Mode function you can access by selecting PartyBoost in its main menu, so you can connect it to other PartyBoost-compatible speakers to play music all at once. You can also pair two speakers together to create a stereo pair. That said, it doesn't offer a Multi-Room function, so you can't use it to play different content on different speakers in different rooms at once.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

This speaker can be used as a power bank to charge your devices via its USB-A port. That said, unlike the JBL Charge 4, it doesn't feature an AUX input to wire your devices to the speaker.

8.5
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Bluetooth iOS Latency
125 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
102 ms
Bluetooth Range
328.1 ft (100.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

This speaker has a great Bluetooth performance. You can connect it to two devices at once, which can come in handy when you need to switch between audio sources quickly. It also has fairly low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching movies and videos. However, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may differ.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
No
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

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