Because the JBL Flip series is JBL’s most liked portable Bluetooth Speaker, the JBL Flip 5 finishes up being the flagship of the lineup.
The cylinder chassis with a directionally discharged main driver and 2 gimmicky pulsing “subs” on the ends of the device has been the go-to style for JBL for some generations.
However, it’s additionally been copied by the likes of Ultimate Ears and infinite overseas makers.
This appearance cool, however it additionally implies a degree of “360-degree sound”.
I’ll get a lot of into the playback quality in a very later section dedicated to sound.
However, it’s necessary to notice that even though the speaker grille goes almost fully around the device’s perimeter, there aren’t speakers firing in each direction.
With that said, the speaker does look nice.
Taking it out of a bag and putting it on a table shows that you mean business, and also the pulsing subwoofers on either facet of the device look cool when they’re moving. that style flourish additionally features a functional purpose since those subs fire bass in either direction.
The black unit I have isn’t super-flashy, and the only real pop of color comes from the metallic orange JBL brand on the front.
I do like that rubber rings around either finish because they aren’t specifically symmetrical and provides the speaker a touch of extra character in its form.
Of course, the most necessary side of the Flip 5’s style is just however customizable.
Its normal colors include everything from a refined black or white to a stark mustard color or the brilliant red probably most familiar for the brand.
If you buy the Flip 5 from the JBL website you can actually use a web tool to style your own pattern, creating your visual choices nearly limitless.
Portability: modest however not tiny
What I prefer most concerning the form factor of the Flip 5 is that it doesn’t desire there’s a full lot of wasted space.
There are no strange clips jutting out, no odd rounded parts making an offbeat form.
It’s just a tiny low cylinder that matches in the footprint of a tiny low bottle or a portable coffee tumbler.
This suggests that it fits very nicely into a bottle pouch on a backpack.
However, because it’s additionally designed in a very thin, extended chassis (rather than a rounded oblong one) it fits nicely part notebooks or laptops inside bags.
On paper, the Flip 5 is just over 7 inches long, and also the circular ends measure but 3 inches in diameter themselves.
Probably the most cumbersome side of the device is its weight.
At nearly 1.25 pounds, this tiny speaker isn’t precisely light, and I positively noticed its presence when moving it into my picnic bag.
But, if having a fairly speaker unit at your disposal for an outdoor journey or a gathering in your yard is very important to you, then it isn’t very bulky… however you actually need to wish to allocate the space for it.
Durability and JBL Quality
Like with most alternative JBL product, ruggedness and durability was a clear focus in the style of the Flip 5.
The grille that covers most of the device is truly a rigid shell with tightly woven fabric, giving me no qualms concerning tossing this speaker onto the ground.
The rest of the chassis is made of a soft-tough, however powerful rubberized plastic that should give a great deal of shock absorption.
This all offers me a great deal of confidence in this speaker’s ability to require a beating.
Creating it an ideal companion for hikes, pool parties, beach days, and alternative locales that may damage additional delicate electronics.
The other facet of the durability coin is water resistance.
Like most speakers in the category, JBL has taken the time to earn IPX7 water resistance.
which suggests that the speaker can technically be submerged in 3 meters of water for an affordable amount of your time.
These tests are done in lab conditions tho’, thus considering you’ll likely be running your “real world” tests in chlorinated water or underneath alternative unideal conditions.
We don’t suggest dropping the speaker into water for fun.
What the IPX7 rating really amounts to is a perfectly durable speaker to be used in the rain or on a poolside table obtaining splashed.
Connectivity and Setup: easy and turn-key
I’ve been impressed with JBL’s ability to provide you speakers that simply connect easily to Bluetooth.
Some off-brand choices don’t play thus nicely with your device’s Bluetooth menu, however each JBL device I’ve ever unboxed (this one included) has gone right into pairing mode and showed up quickly on my Bluetooth device.
And, because there’s a really obvious Bluetooth button on the outside that enables you to go back to pairing mode, you won’t need to deal with the headache of wondering a way to connect to a brand new device.
The protocol used here is Bluetooth 4.2, which provides you with 30 meters of connectivity on paper, however I can’t help however surprise why JBL didn’t come with Bluetooth 5 for their most up-to-date version of the Flip.
If you’re using the speaker outdoor as I did in most of my tests, without annoying walls to interfere with communication, the difference between 5.0 and 4.2 isn’t that noticeable.
And, truth be told, my speaker never cut out, even insignificant interference environments. Plus, because the quality handset Bluetooth connection ways are at play here, you can use this device as a speaker for higher quality calls.
one in all the most effective in its category
I’m getting to try tod} be clear here: I’m a touch of an audio snob. Not “$1,000 or your headphones are bad” levels of arrogance, however I tend to like the sound profile from Bose and Sony to brands like JBL or Beats.
However, the Flip 5 is one of the most effective small-format Bluetooth speakers I’ve tried. I feel this is possible because of the super-unique driver that JBL has hidden behind its circular grille.
The Flip 4 sported 2 smaller speakers to undertake to offer a stereo sound, however what this accomplished was truly a subpar bass response.
The Flip 5 has incorporated what JBL is looking a “racetrack” speaker, which, per the specification sheet, measures an odd 44×80 mm.
This oval style theoretically means the driver can produce stronger lows than a circular 44mm driver would (because it earns some properties of 80mm diameter).
On paper, the speaker can only manufacture 65Hz through 20kHz, technically lacking on the low aspect of the spectrum. however, the strange-shaped driver, paired with the side-firing subs, truly offers an amazingly full listening experience.
What impressed me the most is that the detail provided by this speaker, whether or not you’re paying attention to soft classical tunes or using the speaker as a speakerphone.
There’s a good nuanced response that doesn’t appear as prone to the harmonic distortion that plagues different speakers of this size at higher volumes.
It’s not all positives here—there aren’t any fancy Bluetooth codecs to talk of, thus you’ll got to move with the lossier SBC and AAC formats.
Finally, because JBL has done away with the twin speaker cones, you aren’t getting quite the stereo unfold of larger speakers.
However, pairing the Flip 5 with the app (more on it later) and alternative JBL speakers allows for that spread to occur using multiple units.
Battery Life: Still somehow lacking
After testing some JBL units in this category, 2 things are clear: JBL takes a really conservative approach when quoting their battery life estimates.
If you wish for higher battery life with a JBL product, you have to stay the volume relatively low.
Those factors are gifts on the Flip 5, too. JBL’s promoting materials quote that you’ll go 12 hours of play out of the rechargeable 4,800 mAh battery, and in my tests that appeared regarding right.
I did notice that battery life takes a dip at higher volumes, as expected, however I feel if you kept it to regarding 40 % max, you’ll get over 12 hours, looking at the content you’re streaming.
I’m only disappointed in these totals because of however heavy this speaker is. At a few pounds and a half, it would have been nice to check nearer to 15 hours even in louder listening situations.
The bright aspect is that because of the more trendy USB-C port, you can charge the speaker totally in only concerning 2 and a half hours—a lot of better-charging speed than JBL’s micro USB models.
The speaker should simply get you through a full night’s gathering tho’, I can’t help however assume a much bigger battery would higher justify the value purpose.
Software and additional Features: Some cool very few extras
At first look, the Flip 5 appearance and feels pretty normal, and that’s because the portable Bluetooth speaker type factor is absolutely meant as a standalone device.
However because of brands like Sonos, consumers have a lot of a “network” expectation, therefore JBL has chosen to incorporate some extras here that help to fill out the offering.
First, what JBL is asking “Party Boost”, is a function that allows you to play identical supply audio across some completely different compatible JBL speakers, using one as the main supply device.
You can even try up to 100 different JBL speakers (you know, if you have got 100 friends who have a similar speaker), that is kind of insane when you consider it.
Perhaps the more helpful function for this feature is to try only 1 alternative Flip 5 and set them as a stereo try to give you a higher sonic image.
You accomplish each of those functions simply using the JBL Connect app, and it’s this app that helps you to watch your battery life, update the firmware.
And switch off the “audio feedback” sounds, which are the pings that allow you recognize what mode the device is in.
The functions aren’t nearly as strong as on alternative Connect-compatible speakers (like the pulse series).
However, there’s one thing nice regarding having control of your device via an app, rather than limited on-board buttons.
Price: a touch expensive, however possibly worthwhile
Like most different JBL products, the Flip 5 isn’t specifically a budget speaker.
The asking price at most retailers is just below $120 for this speaker, which doesn’t include any accessories apart from the charging cable.
While it’d be nice if this product went for around $100, $120 isn’t exorbitant when you think about the amazingly good sound quality and the impressive durability here.
That said, it’s still necessary to consider if this is a class of Bluetooth peripheral you’ll get plenty of use out of.
If you wish something a lot of casual, there are far better deals from off-brand makers that will get you most of the way to where the Flip 5 does.
JBL Flip 5 vs. ultimate Ears Blast
In appearance and sound profile, final Ears speakers tend to feel nearest to the JBL line out of any of its competitors.
The Blast (view on Amazon) is their mid-sized model with A battery that lasts 12 hours and includes a sound handling that’s loud and full.
It isn’t quite as loud as the Flip 5 and it doesn’t look quite nearly as good.
However, with IP67 water and dust resistance still as Wi-Fi choices, it could be more versatile. the value does tend to hover around $50 additional, however.
If you’re getting to have many pool parties and don’t need to line up a permanent system in your pool area, then the JBL Flip 5 pays for itself in volume, durability, and reliability.
But, if this is often just a supplemental device you’ll need just in case you wish it sometimes, you can get better worth elsewhere. There’s no denying tho’ that this speaker sounds and appears unbelievable though.