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JBL Flip 5 review: Killer sound with different color options

Other than the great sound, battery life, a simple design, and ease of use make the JBL Flip 5 worth picking up.

9.3/10 rating

JBL has been around for over 70 years and has been doing extremely well in the audio department. Every year or so they come out with upgraded models to most of their previous generations of wireless speakers. In this case, the JBL Flip 5 is the next iteration of the Flip series wireless speakers. The speaker comes with up to 12-hour battery life, excellent JBL sound, 11 different color choices, and an IPX7 water-resistance rating. Continue reading below for our full review below.

Specifications

  • Frequency response: 65Hz–20kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >80dB
  • Transducer: 44mm x 80mm
  • Support: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6
  • Bluetooth: 4.2
  • Bluetooth transmitter power: 0-11dBm
  • Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.402 – 2.480GHz
  • Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
  • Music playtime: up to 12 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
  • Rated power: 20W RMS
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion Polymer 17.28Wh (Equivalent to 3.6V 4800mAh)
  • Battery charge time: 2.5 hours (5V/3A)
  • Water/dust resistance: IPX7 water-resistant. 1M submersion for 30 mins.
  • Dimension (W x D x H): 181 x 69 x 74mm
  • Weight: 540g

What’s in the box

  • JBL Flip 5 Bluetooth wireless speaker
  • USB Type-C cable
  • Carry strap
  • Starter guide
  • Warranty card
  • Safety sheet

Design

JBL tends to keep the design of the majority of their speakers the same year over year and while that may be something people may not want to see, I think it’s great. Each speaker in JBL’s lineup has its own unique style, allowing users familiar with the lineup to easily remember and tell what speaker they’re looking at.

The JBL Flip 5 has the usual fabric material energy can-shaped design to it. The rubber ends of the speaker have a “wave” kind of shape to it. On the front of the speaker, you’ll see JBL’s usual orange block logo with white lettering. As for the top, you’ll find the function buttons. From left to right respectively, these are play/pause, volume up (+), volume down (-), and the PartyBoost button. We’ll cover more on the functionality of these buttons in the next category.

JBL Flip 5 Top Buttons
The buttons on the top of the JBL Flip 5 from left to right: Play/pause, volume up, volume down, and PartyBoost.

Moving to the back of the speaker, you’ll find a cutout where you can attach the included strap, allowing you to carry it on your wrist or backpack. The Flip 5 logo is also on the back along with the power and Bluetooth buttons, the battery LED light indicator, and a USB Type-C charging port.

Finally ending with the side of the device, you’ll see tweeters with JBL’s logo on the right-hand side and the JBL exclamation mark icon on the left-hand side.

Ease of Use

Like many other Bluetooth speakers we’ve reviewed, using it is pretty standard. Power on the device and make sure it’s in pairing mode before choosing “JBL Flip 5” from the Bluetooth list on the device you’ll be using.

Once you have the speaker and the device of your choosing paired, you’re able to start playing music. As I mentioned before in the Design category of this review, you have a row of buttons with different functions. Starting off with the PartyBoost button, this will allow you to pair compatible JBL devices together and have the same song playing from up to 100 speakers. To pair all of them together, you will need to download the JBL Connect app from your devices app store. Unfortunately, I was unable to test the PartyBoost feature since we only had one Flip 5 on hand for the review and the Flip 4 I have is not compatible.

JBL Flip 5 Backside With Buttons
Backside showing more buttons, the charging port with battery LED, and strap.

The other buttons are volume up(+), volume down (-), and play/pause. They work as intended but the play/pause button has an extra function to it. By pressing that same button twice, it’ll skip to the next song. There is no way to backtrack a song unless you pick up the device that’s casting music to the speaker.

Recharging the speaker is also fairly simple. Simply plug in the included Type-C cable into the Type-C port in the back of the device and the speaker will start charging. The LED light next to the port will light up and flash when it’s charging. Once it’s fully charged, the light will shut off.

Sound

Having used JBL products in the past like the E65 Bluetooth headphones to the first generation Extreme to the Flip 4, the sound quality on the Flip 5 is similar for the size of the speaker.

JBL Flip 5 Left Side Tweeter
The left side tweeter on JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 5 comes with a 20W driver which pushes out clear sound and deep bass when playing music. The speaker performs better at higher volumes which really shows how well the speaker can handle mids, highs, and lows. Of course, that’s not to say that lower volume levels make the speaker sound lousy. I rarely had the volume over 40% since anything higher was overkill.

I tried out different genres of music ranging from hip-hop/rap to post-hardcore to rock to electronic/dance. It didn’t matter what I played, each song came out with great sound.

Overall, I think people will be happy with the sound quality with the speaker as much as I did.

Reception

Most wireless speakers will either come with Bluetooth 4.2 or 5.0 with a range varying from 33ft to about 100ft. Since the Flip 5 comes with Bluetooth 4.2, I was able to get around that 33ft range with obstacles in the way such as doors and walls.

Speaking of reception, one quick note here: the JBL Flip 5 does not come with speakerphone or voice assistant functionality if that is on your list of must-have features.

Battery Life

Just like the Flip 4, JBL claims you’ll get up to 12 hours of battery life on the Flip 5. For a speaker of this size and caliber, 12-hours is plenty for those who may be using it in their room or a house party outside. When testing the battery life, I was able to get around the 10 to 12-hour mark. That included letting music playing for hours at different volumes and different songs. Remember, battery life can vary depending on the environment and volume levels.

Charging the speaker back up to 100% will take two and a half hours. It may seem like a long time to charge but if you’re busy doing something else while not using the speaker, you won’t notice how quickly it charges back up.

One issue I had, which is super minor, is that the only way to check battery life, no matter what the percentage is at, you will need to press any of the buttons on the top of the speaker.

Price

The Flip 5 wireless speaker has an MSRP of US$119.99 which isn’t bad at all considering this is JBL we’re talking about. I’m sure you can find other wireless speakers for a more affordable price but you may not get the same experience as having something from a company that works with audio consistently.

Wrap Up

Again, having used JBL in the past, it’s nice to know that they’re still offering great sound in their speakers, especially with the Flip 5. Other than the great sound, battery life, a simple design, and ease of use make the JBL Flip 5 worth picking up.

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JBL Flip 5 Wireless Speaker

US$119.95

Design

10.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Sound

10.0/10

Reception

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Simple design
  • Excellent sound
  • 11 color options
  • Able to pair multiple JBL speakers

Needs work

  • Need compatible models to use PartyBoost
  • Checking battery life requires you to press the top buttons
  • No speakerphone or voice assistant functionality
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