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The JBL Charge 5 is finally here! It’s hard to “fix what ain’t broken,” but JBL worked their magic again. Since 2019, the Charge 4 has rocked our world with the best-in-class combination of audio quality, durability, and battery life. Just when you thought that the best outdoor portable Bluetooth speaker couldn’t get any better, the JBL Charge 5 represents a new level of mobile audio.
With big improvements coming on the wireless connectivity side, the biggest improvement is the new independent tweeter and larger woofer. The new 2-speaker setup produces crisper highs and clearer bass at higher volume levels. They also upgraded the overall output power with the tweeter getting 10 Watts and the woofer still getting the full 30 Watts.
The main wireless connectivity improvement is the upgrade from Bluetooth v4.2 (JBL Charge 4) to Bluetooth v5.1. To put it simply, Bluetooth version 5.1 can transmit data at more than double the speed of version 4.2. The top 3 benefits of the upgrade are better battery life, better audio quality, and better range.
While the JBL app has a lot of room for improvement, there are a few nice features that help you take full advantage of owning multiple JBL PartyBoost-enabled speakers. Their new models like the Charge 5, Flip 5, Pulse 4, and more can be connected with PartyBoost for multi-room or indoor/outdoor music. Plus you can adjust the EQ, balance (stereo mode), lighting, and more from the same app. Unfortunately, older JBL Connect+ speakers aren’t compatible with the new protocol, the increased range with PartyBoost-enabled speakers is AMAZING!
- Bluetooth v5.1
- USB Type-C charge port
- USB-A Out power port
- 30W woofer, 10W Tweeter
- 20-hour battery life (7500mAh Battery)
- IP67 water and dust resistance rating
- 60Hz – 20kHz frequency response
- 52mm – 90mm woofer, 20mm tweeter
- Color options: red, gray, navy, teal, black, and camouflage
- Dimensions: 8.7 x 3.76 x 3.67 inches
- Weight: 2.11 lbs (0.96 kg)
- 40 Watts of total output power
- 20 Hours of playback from the HUGE 27Wh (7,500 mAh) Li-Po battery
- Well over 80-meter wireless range thanks to the new Bluetooth v5.1 integration
- The new separate woofer and tweeter setup produces impressive clarity and loudness
- JBL’s signature passive radiators provide a nice bass boost
- USB Out port for charging phones, watches, earbuds, and other mobile devices
- Pair 2 for stereo mode multiple PartyBoost-enabled JBL speakers for multi-room/indoor/outdoor parties
- IP67 rating and it floats for extra security and durability when outdoors and around open water
- No built-in microphone for speaker calls, FaceTime, Zoom, and other conferencing
- No built-in handle, strap, or other easy way to carry, hang, or attach (custom-fit carrying cases, wraps, and more are available here)
The JBL Charge 5 keeps the Charge series in the #1 spot in the world of portable Bluetooth speakers. Its mix of compact size, premium sound, rugged durability, and luxury features (like the built-in power bank for charging mobile devices like phones, watches, and more), make it essential for music lovers on-the-go.
Fresh New Look
Besides the technical audio improvements, the new look is also a nice upgrade. Foregoing the traditional square JBL logo, they went with a large version of their newer letters-only logo containing their signature exclamation point. The “swollen” look and new LED lighting make it look like a tougher version of the Charge 4. Plus, the improved IP67 water and dust resistance rating ensures that it IS a tougher version.
Worth The Upgrade?
Even as a Charge 4 owner, the Bluetooth v5.1 upgrade and new dual-speaker setup, was more than enough for me to upgrade. The Bluetooth range is AMAZING, and the jump in sound quality is bigger and clearer than any previous Charge model. Originally available in Red, Gray, Blue, Teal, Camo, or Black, it’s only a matter of time until we’re able to customize them like the Charge 4.
Until then, you can find the JBL Charge 5 at Amazon.com or JBL.com, but both STILL have limited color options after the initial release. I was going for the Camo version for this review, but unfortunately, that option was sold out within the first 12 hours of online sales.
Hopefully, by the time YOU read this article, I’m wrong, and more than just the Red, Black, and Blue versions will be available for purchase. Either way, you can see what’s available here: