JBL FLIP 5 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 02, 2021 at 08:02 am
JBL FLIP 5 Picture
6.0
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
7.4
Podcasts
2.9
Voice Assistant
6.8
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL FLIP 5 is a cylindrical Bluetooth speaker. It's well-built, has a carrying strap so you can take it with you on-the-go, and it comes in several different colors to better suit your style. However, like most small speakers, it struggles to reproduce low-bass and doesn't get very loud. It also doesn't come with any sound enhancement features and doesn't support voice assistants. That said, its over eight hours of playback time should be enough for long days outdoors.

Our Verdict

6.0 Music

The JBL FLIP 5 is just mediocre for music. It has a boomy sound profile that struggles to reproduce low-bass, so genres like EDM lack thump and rumble. Its treble range is also a bit underemphasized, so sibilants like cymbals sound a little dull. This speaker doesn't have an EQ either, and it doesn't get very loud. That said, its mid-range is fairly balanced, resulting in clear and accurate vocals and lead instruments.

Pros
  • Well-built and portable design.
  • Wide soundstage.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
5.6 Videos/Movies

The JBL FLIP 5 is sub-par for videos and movies. It struggles to reproduce low, thumpy bass, so sound effects in action movies sound a bit less immersive, and it lacks an EQ so you aren't able to customize its sound profile. It also downmixes stereo content into mono to play this content and it doesn't get very loud. It has somewhat high latency on iOS, although it's much lower on Android devices.

Pros
  • Well-built and portable design.
  • Wide soundstage.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
  • Doesn't support Apple AirPlay or Chromecast.
7.4 Podcasts

The JBL FLIP 5 is good for podcasts. This speaker can easily be moved from one room to another, and it has a wide soundstage, so your audio sounds clear from all directions. It can also be paired with up to two devices at the same time, making it easy to switch audio sources from your smartphone to your laptop. However, it doesn't get very loud.

Pros
  • Well-built and portable design.
  • Wide soundstage.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
2.9 Voice Assistant

The JBL FLIP 5 doesn't support voice assistants.

6.8 Outdoors

The JBL FLIP 5 is alright for outdoor use. It's well-built and is very portable thanks to its battery-powered design. It also has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. It lasts over 8 hours before it needs to be recharged, and it can be paired with up to two devices at a time. However, it doesn't get very loud, and it struggles to produce a thumpy low-bass. It also lacks an EQ, so you won't be able to tweak its sound.

Pros
  • Well-built and portable design.
  • Wide soundstage.
Cons
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
  • 6.0 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 7.4 Podcasts
  • 2.9 Voice Assistant
  • 6.8 Outdoors
  1. Updated Mar 23, 2021: Thanks to user feedback, we corrected an error in our weight measurement.
  2. Updated Feb 02, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jan 28, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL FLIP 5 is a cylindrical speaker with a tight-knit fabric wrapped around the speakers. You can place it horizontally or vertically, and it has a removable strap. It comes in a lot of color variations, so you can find a style that looks best for you. You can also personalize your speaker's design via JBL's website.

9.3
Design
Portability
Volume
47 in³ (771 cm³)
Weight
1.2 lbs (0.5 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

Update 03/23/2021:Thanks to user feedback, we updated an error in our weight measurement for this speaker.

This speaker is incredibly portable. It has a strap so you can easily carry it around. It also uses a battery, so you can easily bring it outside.

7.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
No
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL FLIP 5 has a good build quality. It's mostly made from plastic, but it feels solid and sturdy. There's tight-wrapped fabric covering its speakers, which doesn't seem like it can easily rip, and the buttons have a rubber texture. While there's no cover for the USB-C port, the speaker is still rated IPX7 for water resistance, although we don't currently test this.

5.9
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
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL FLIP 5 has sub-par controls. You can turn the speaker on and off, pair a Bluetooth device, adjust volume, and turn on or off 'PartyBoost', which allows you to link multiple 'PartyBoost' compatible speakers. However, there aren't any call-related controls. While you can skip the track forward by pressing the play button twice, you can't go to a previous track. There's a chime to let you know when you've reached max volume, and there are lights on top of the power and Bluetooth buttons to let you know when it's on and connected to a source. There's also a light indicator to let you know that the speaker is charging. If you're looking for a speaker with a wider selection of controls, check out the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL FLIP 5 speaker
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • User Manual

Sound
6.3
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.31
Std. Err.
3.76 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
68.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
13.7 kHz

The JBL FLIP 5's frequency response accuracy is passable. When placed horizontally, it struggles to reproduce low-bass. It's still a little boomy, though, as the treble-range is mostly recessed, resulting in dull sibilants. That said, it has a balanced mid-range, which is good for ensuring that vocals and lead instruments sound present and accurate in your mix. If you're looking for a speaker that lets you customize its sound profile using bass and treble adjustments, check out the Sonos Roam.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
6.2
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
3.29 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The JBL FLIP 5 has a mediocre soundstage. Unlike the Anker Soundcore Motion+, it has to downmix stereo into mono to play this content, which doesn't sound very immersive. Its directivity is good, though, resulting in a wide soundstage. For a speaker that can get almost as loud with less compression at max volume, consider the JBL Charge 4.

5.8
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
85.5 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.74 dB

The JBL FLIP 5 has a sub-par dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts at max volume, which may not be suitable for parties or large rooms.

Active Features
7.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
8.2 hrs
Charge Time
2.6 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C

The JBL FLIP 5 has a decent battery performance. It's advertised to last around twelve hours, but we measured just above eight hours. However, battery life can vary depending on usage, so your results can differ. The speaker also shuts down after approximately 20 minutes with no audio file to help conserve battery life. If a long battery life is important to you, consider the JBL Xtreme 2 or the JBL Charge 5, which last over fourteen hours on a single charge.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

This speaker doesn't support voice assistants.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Connect
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Connect app is okay. It's compatible with Android and iOS. You can pair two units to create a stereo pair, or you can link several units to play the same audio across a larger space. However, unlike the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3, it lacks an EQ, so you can't tweak its sound profile.

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

This speaker can't be used wired. It comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging up the speaker.

8.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
154 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
96 ms
Bluetooth Range
219.8 ft (67.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL FLIP 5 has great Bluetooth connectivity. Unlike the OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA, it can be paired with up to two speakers at a time, and it has low audio latency on Android devices, which is good if you like to stream video. While latency on iOS is a bit higher, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary. For a speaker with lower latency over Bluetooth with iOS and Android devices, consider the Beats Pill+.

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

The JBL FLIP 5 isn't Wi-FI compatible.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL FLIP 5 comes in several color variants: 'Black', 'Red', 'White', 'Teal', 'Blue', 'Gray', 'Green', 'Yellow', 'Pink', 'Sand', 'Yellow', and 'Camo' (also known as 'Squad'), and 'Black Camo'. We tested the Black Camo variant, and you can see its label here. You can also customize the look of this speaker with your own design through the manufacturer's website. We expect these color variants to perform similarly to our model. However, JBL also makes an 'Eco Edition' of this speaker, which is advertised as being made from recycled plastic. This variant comes in two colors: 'Forest Green' and 'Ocean Blue'. Due to their unique build, we don't know if these two variants perform similarly to our model.

If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL FLIP 5 is a Bluetooth speaker that comes in a variety of color schemes to better suit your style. It feels well-built and has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. Like most small speakers such as the JBL Xtreme 3, it lacks low-bass and struggles to get loud. Even though it has a companion app, it doesn't offer an EQ or other sound enhancement features to help tweak its sound. Check out our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers and the best cheap speakers.

JBL Clip 4

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4, though they have different strengths. The FLIP 5 can get louder and has a better-balanced sound profile that can reproduce a deeper bass than the Clip 4. It also has a longer battery life, lasting over eight hours from a single charge, though this can vary depending on your usage. However, the Clip 4 is smaller and more portable with a built-in carabiner hook. It also has a wider-sounding soundstage than the FLIP 5, and is better-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this.

JBL Charge 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, though we don't test for this. 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 Charge 4

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4. The FLIP has better directivity, resulting in a wider soundstage. It also has a more balanced sound profile. However, the Charge has longer battery life. 

Sonos Roam

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Sonos has built-in voice assistant support over Wi-Fi, and it offers an incredible voice assistant performance. It also comes with a room correction feature as well as bass and treble adjustments. However, the JBL has a longer battery life, though battery can vary slightly depending on usage.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 is a better speaker for most uses than the JBL FLIP 5. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, gets louder with less compression, and has longer battery life. Also, it has a better soundstage performance, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. While the JBL has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, only the Ultimate Ears offers a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization.

Sony SRS-XB23

The Sony SRS-XB23 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Sony is better-built, can play stereo content, and has longer-lasting continuous battery life. It also has a companion app with a graphic EQ so that you can tweak its sound to your liking. However, the JBL can get a bit louder with fewer compression artifacts.

Bose SoundLink Micro

The JBL FLIP 5 is a slightly better speaker for most uses than the Bose SoundLink Micro. The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile, and it can get louder, although with more compression artifacts at max volume. The JBL also has longer battery life. However, the Bose supports your smartphone's voice assistant.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Ultimate Ears is better-built, can play stereo content, and has a wider soundstage. It can also get louder, and its continuous battery life lasts longer.

Marshall Emberton

The Marshall Emberton is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5 overall. The Marshall has a wider-sounding soundstage, and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. It also has a better-balanced sound profile, and a longer-lasting battery life, though battery performance can depend on your usage, and your experience may vary. That said, the JBL can be paired to another compatible unit to create a stereo pair, or to multiple other units when you want your audio to fill a large space without increasing its volume.

JBL Pulse 4

The JBL FLIP 5 and the JBL Pulse 4 are similarly performing speakers with slightly different features. The Pulse has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, and it comes with customizable RGB lights. Its soundstage is also perceived as more open, and its battery lasts longer. However, the FLIP has a better build quality and is more portable, thanks to its removable carrying strap that lets you easily bring it with you on-the-go.

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Xtreme 3 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5overall. The Xtreme 3 can get louder, and can produce a more extended low-bass than the FLIP 5. It can also play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and has a longer-lasting battery life, though the latter can depend on your usage, and your real-world experience may differ. That said, the FLIP 5 is smaller and more portable than the Xtreme 3. It also has a wider-sounding soundstage.

JBL Xtreme 2

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Xtreme has a more neutral sound profile with a lower bass extension. Its battery lasts longer, and it has voice assistant compatibility. However, the FLIP is a smaller speaker, which can be useful for carrying it with you on-the-go.

Sony SRS-XB33

The Sony SRS-XB33 is a better speaker for most uses than the JBL FLIP 5. The Sony is better-built and can get louder with fewer compression artifacts. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, supports voice assistants from your smartphone, and its companion app has a graphic EQ so that you can tweak its sound profile. However, the JBL sounds better-balanced out-of-the-box.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Ultimate Ears is a better-built speaker and its soundstage is perceived as more open and spacious. Also, it can get louder and has much longer battery life. Although its sound profile is a bit less neutral than the JBL's, there's a graphic EQ and presets in the Ultimate Ears app that lets you customize its sound to your liking. However, some users may prefer the JBL's smaller, more portable design.

Bose SoundLink Color II

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Color II for most uses. The JBL has a more balanced sound profile and its soundstage has better directivity. It also has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, while the Bose has an IPX4 rating, though we don't currently test for this. That said, only the Bose has voice assistant support, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2

The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Anker has a better soundstage performance, and its graphic EQ and presets give you more ability to customize its sound. Also, the Anker supports voice assistants from your smartphone, though it doesn't offer the most impressive performance.

Anker Soundcore 2

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the Anker Soundcore 2. The JBL has a more neutral, balanced sound profile, and it also comes with a companion app that makes it easy to pair it with another speaker. However, the Anker supports voice assistants, and it has longer battery life.

Beats Pill+

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the Beats Pill+. The JBL is a better-built speaker with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. It also has a more balanced sound profile. However, the Beats can play stereo content, and its latency over Bluetooth with iOS devices is lower, making it more suitable for watching videos. That being said, some apps compensate differently for latency.

Anker Soundcore 3

The JBL FLIP 5 and the Anker Soundcore 3 are similar speakers with different strengths. The JBL is better-built and has a slightly better-balanced sound profile than the Anker. It also has a PartyBoost feature you can use to pair it to multiple other PartyBoost-compatible speakers, handy when you want your audio to fill a large room. The Anker features a Graphic EQ you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It can also support voice assistants through your smartphone and has a longer battery life, though this can vary depending on usage, so your experience may differ.

OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA

The JBL FLIP 5 and the OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA have different strengths and depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other. The JBL is better-built, has a more neutral sound profile, and supports multi-device pairing. However, the OontZ is a stereo speaker and it can get louder with fewer compression artifacts. It also has a significantly longer-lasting battery life and supports your smartphone's Google Assistant or Siri voice assistant. It also has bass and treble sliders.

Sony SRS-XB43

The Sony SRS-XB43 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5 overall. The Sony can get louder than the JBL and is more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ featured on its companion app. It also has a longer battery life, lasting about 15 hours from a single charge, though this can vary depending on your usage. Additionally, it can support voice assistants through your smartphone, though its performance isn't very good. That said, the JBL is smaller and more portable than the Sony.

JBL Boombox 2

The JBL Boombox 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Boombox has a more balanced sound profile, reproducing a more extended low-bass. It can get louder than the FLIP, and its battery lasts much longer. That being said, the FLIP has better directivity thanks to its 360-design. 

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. Unlike the Anker, the JBL has to downmix stereo content to mono, which doesn't sound as immersive. The Anker also has a longer battery life, and its sound profile can be adjusted using the graphic EQ in its companion app. It also supports voice assistants, although it may have some trouble understanding you.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5 overall. The Bose is better-built with an IP55 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone and does a really good job of hearing you when you're far from the speaker or in noisier environments. That said, the JBL is smaller and lighter than the Bose. It’s incredibly portable and comes with a carrying strap that makes it easy to take with you when you’re on the go.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is a better overall speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. It has a slightly more balanced sound profile, is better-built, and can support voice assistants. It also has better directivity that makes it easy to hear your audio clearly from most angles. That said, the JBL is slightly more portable than the Bose and comes with a strap you can use to carry it around with you. It also comes in over ten other color variants, which some users may prefer.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 Gen 2 is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Bang & Olufsen has a more solid build, and its directivity is better, so audio is more even from all angles. Also, it has a 'Beosonic' sound customization feature, EQ presets in its companion app, and supports Alexa, while the JBL doesn't support voice assistants. However, the JBL's battery lasts slightly longer.

Alpine Corporation QLP542SLR-GR

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the JBL FLIP 5 or the Alpine Corporation QLP542SLR-GR. The JBL is smaller, more portable, and offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass. It also has better directivity, resulting in a more natural-sounding soundstage than that of the Alpine. That said, the Alpine Corporation can get louder, and has an outdoor-friendly, rock-like design with a built-in solar panel. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can depend on your usage.

Sony SRS-RA3000

The Sony SRS-RA3000 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5. The Sony has a better-balanced sound profile that you can customize thanks to the graphic EQ and presets available on its companion app. It also has an exceptional soundstage performance. However, the JBL is better-built and is rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don’t test for this. It’s also battery-powered and more portable than the Sony.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore is a better speaker than the JBL FLIP 5 overall. The Bang & Olufsen is better built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't test for this. It also has a wider-sounding soundstage and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. Also, it's more customizable thanks to its EQ presets and 'Beosonic' feature, which you can use to adjust the speaker's sound to your liking. However, The JBL has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and has a 'PartyBoost' feature you can use to pair it to other 'PartyBoost' compatible speakers when you want your audio to fill a large space.

Theater Solutions B83GR

The JBL FLIP 5 is a better speaker than the Theater Solutions B83GR overall. It has a much more balanced sound profile and can reproduce a more extended low-bass. It also has much better directivity, which allows your audio to sound clear from all angles, is more portable, and has a longer battery life. That being said, the Theater Solutions can get a bit louder than the JBL with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. It can also be paired with up to 99 B83GR speakers and has a unique rock-like design which some users with a large outdoor space might prefer in an outdoor speaker.

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