JBL Charge 5 Speaker Review : The perfect beach companion

The Charge 5 is the latest entry into JBL’s roster of quality portable speakers. The Charge 5 shares many qualities with its predecessor, the Charge 4, but boasts a more durable design and superior sound quality.

SPECS
PRICE: $279, available in Lazada and Shopee
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.1
WATER RESISTANCE: IP67
BATTERY: 7500 mAh
WEIGHT: 960g

Available in a wide array of colours, the Charge 5 adds dustproofing to its list of features and has more rubberised sections for improved durability. The speaker can even be used as a power bank, with a USB charging port on its back, so you can top up your mobile device’s battery while listening to some sweet tunes.

The JBL Charge 5 comes in a wide array of colours. (Photo: JBL)

DESIGN
The Charge 5 has the same basic design as all its predecessors, with a fabric covered body and rubbery ends. Additionally, the Charge 5 has rubber feet to prevent it from rolling around during use. At its rear, there is a USB out port for charging devices, and a USB-C port for charging the speaker.

The Charge 5 has a USB-C input charging port and a USB-A output port for charging other devices. (Photo: Nadine Rohan)

On the top of the speaker, you will find the volume up/down, power, playback, bluetooth, and JBL PartyBoost buttons. PartyBoost is a feature that allows you to pair your speaker with up to two other PartyBoost-compatible speakers, to play audio from the same source. Unfortunately, the Charge 5 does not have an aux input.

The six buttons on top of the Charge 5. (Photo: Nadine Rohan)

The Charge 5 has a water and dust resistance rating of IP67, so you can bring it to the beach with zero worries. The speaker can be submerged in water or buried in sand.

I tested its water and dust resistance when I went to the beach the other day. And the speaker came out of the experience unscathed while still sounding great.

The Charge 5 is water resistant at depths of down to one metre for 30 minutes. (Photo: Nadine Rohan)

The speaker is quite heavy though, at nearly 1kg. For those who drink, it is around the weight of a wine bottle. While I had it in my tote bag, I could feel its weight on my shoulder. But maybe I just need to go to the gym more.

PERFORMANCE
Hidden behind the metallic JBL logo are its optimised long excursion driver and separate tweeter. On either end are the bass radiators, which really pack a punch.

FOR
+ Superb audio performance
+ Long battery life
+ Great for outdoor use
+ Can double up as power bank

AGAINST
– No aux input
– Quite heavy
– No customisable equaliser setting

Sound-wise, you really could not ask for more. Its sound output is quite surprising for a portable speaker. The Charge 5 delivers crisp highs, with a superb kicky bass. Seriously, I can feel my table vibrate when I listen to my particularly bassy tunes.

Audio sounds clear and impactful. The Charge 5 is also surprisingly loud for its size. When listening at home, I never have to bring the volume over 50 per cent. When I tested its maximum volume at the beach, I felt like a public nuisance because it was that loud.

The Charge 5 is a medium-sized portable speaker. (Photo: Nadine Rohan)

However, do take note that EQ is not customisable, even with the JBL app. Not to mention, the audio output does get a little distorted when the volume is being pumped up.

Connection-wise, I did not encounter any problems. Pairing the speaker to my phone via Bluetooth is super simple. And when I switch on the speaker later, it automatically connects to my phone.

BATTERY LIFE
The Charge 5 boasts a 20-hour battery life, depending on the volume of listening. I only had to charge the speaker after a week, with heavy listening of around three hours daily. The speaker takes around four hours to charge fully.

The Charge 5 can charge other mobile devices, but it does not support fast charging. (Photo: Nadine Rohan)

One good thing about this speaker is that it doubles up as a power bank, especially when your mobile device is running out of juice when you are outside. The Charge 5 has a battery capacity of 7500mAh, so there is plenty of charge to go around. However, it does not support fast charging for your devices.

VERDICT
The Charge 5 is an excellent wireless speaker choice for any party-lover who enjoys the outdoors. It has great water and dust resistance, while delivering superb audio for its size.

RATINGS
FEATURES: 9/10
DESIGN: 9/10
PERFORMANCE: 9/10
BATTERY LIFE: 10/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8.5/10
OVERALL: 9/10