Review: JBL Charge 5 is not exciting, but it is deafeningly good

Review: The JBL Charge 5 offers a good sound experience and, thanks to its power bank option, is a good portable speaker for the outdoors.

You may be wondering why you should buy a portable Bluetooth speaker at this time. Simple: because you also want to hear music at home. Especially if you go into the shed to do odd jobs or fold the laundry in your bedroom, it is nice to get some work vitamins. JBL is certainly a good option for this, because thanks to the party mode it can connect to other boxes elsewhere in the house. The newest member of the family is the JBL Charge 5. A welcome addition or perhaps a little too much? We have been able to test this compact Bluetooth speaker in recent weeks and in this article you can read our experiences.

JBL Charge, Flip, Go and Clip

Harman Kardon’s subsidiary brand JBL (James Bullough Lansing) has been making Bluetooth speakers for years. Many have also been discussed here on FWD: for example, the JBL Xtreme 3, the JBL Link Portable and more. However, the most famous lines of portable speakers from JBL are the Charge line, Flip line, Go line and Clip line. In short, there are a lot of them. The Charge and Flip line are most similar in design. Both are a bit more cylindrical, with Flip being a bit smaller and simpler. The Charge is large, robust and therefore brings a lot of volume.

The speaker consists almost entirely of fabric that is interwoven in such a way that it looks and feels very robust. Furthermore, the speaker contains silicone elements, a large JBL logo in the middle and extra rubbers on which it can rest. This immediately indicates that this speaker really needs to be placed in one particular way. If that is not clear by the rubbers at the bottom, or by the large exclamation marks on both sides. They are in motion when you play sound (and especially noticeable with the bass).

Signature Pro Sound

The JBL Charge 5 is in principle waterproof and dustproof, although it does attract a lot of dust with its textile design. Fortunately, according to the tests, they do not end up in the speaker, so you can actually move it a lot and take it with you to a crumbly picnic table, the beach or next to the pool, for example. The IP rating is IP67, so it is not recommended to actually run through a sandstorm or dive into the pool with it. According to JBL, that sound is so good because of the so-called Signature Pro Sound.

You will hear this when you switch it on, although you must of course first connect to your smartphone. You do not need any special apps for this: as soon as you switch it on for the first time, it immediately switches to pairing mode and you can add the speaker to the Bluetooth devices on your phone. You then only have to turn on a streaming service or file and you can hear what the JBL Charge 5 is capable of. The Bluetooth connection is made within a few seconds thanks to Bluetooth 5.1.

The sound that comes from this fairly modest speaker is not exactly modest. You do not have to turn on the bass in the sound settings of your smartphone to get a good bass. The driver, tweeter and bass radiators (the ones with the exclamation marks on them) do their best to produce big sound and that works well. The sound (with a frequency range of 65 Hz to 20k Hz) is well distributed and you can use the speaker well into the early hours at a fairly high volume. If the neighborhood allows it, of course, but the speaker can easily manage a dinner party that got out of hand in terms of battery life.

JBL’s Partyboost

If you have other JBL speakers at home, you can link them together thanks to Partyboost. This way the speakers play the same sound. It is something that is used in some gyms to make the room fill with music, but in the house you can use it to hear the same music in the kitchen and garden, or in the attic and downstairs in the home office, for example. It is also possible to use Stereo mode, where you can use two of the same Party Boost speakers as L / R channels.

It takes a while to find the right JBL app, because there are now a lot of them in the Play Store. Plus, you may have got your hands on the right app, but you’re waiting for an equalizer option. Unfortunately, there is none. The JBL Portable app is the app with which you can connect the speaker to another JBL speaker via Partyboost, but that is almost impossible in that app. There are other apps, such as JBL Music, but they are only for playing music files on your phone.

Not very exciting but mature

It is a pity that the speaker is not very exciting in terms of design. It is a nice speaker that you can easily put somewhere and that is also not too heavy for your bag, but especially considering the other products from JBL, it does not do it very differently in terms of design. On the other hand, it is also a plus that it does not work very differently than usual, the JBL experience with Charge 5 is exactly the same as other JBL products, so connecting and Partyboost work like a train.

But, if you want to throw a party, then this is not a speaker that will loosen up the tongues. Moreover, it is not equipped with, for example, LED to really throw a party. In that respect, for example, the JBL Pulse 4 is a better pacemaker, although in terms of volume and sound quality it beats the JBL Charge 5. The new speaker is available in many colors in terms of appearance. Where its predecessor Charge 4 came in twelve colors (including camouflage design), the Charge 5 comes in nine colors (including camouflage options). The suggested retail price of the JBL Charge 5 is 179 euros.

JBL Charge 5 – Conclusion

The JBL Charge 5 offers a good sound experience and, thanks to its power bank option, is a good portable speaker for the garden (or in a park or on the beach). The user experience is again flawless, but also a bit boring. For example, the JBL Charge 5 offers little new under the sun in terms of usage options and design. What he does bring is a good quality of rich sound with which you can easily fill a room or hall.


  • Solid bass and good volume
  • Power bank option
  • IP67 certificate
  • Works well with other JBL products

  • Design is little different than usual
  • Attracts a lot of dust