Get Them Here
The new JBL Flip 5 is a mixed bag of emotions. There are some good things about it and some notable upgrades from the JBL Flip 4... But then there are some other things about it that just make you wonder but why. So if you're thinking about picking up the JBL Flip 5 here's how it stacks up against the JBL Flip 4 and the JBL Charge 4.
So just like before the JBL Flip 5 has a retail price of $100 which means the Flip 4 is now typically on sale. And for comparison sake the larger Charge 4 typically retails for $150. So if you want to pick any of these speakers up they'll be linked down below.
Now first let's talk about what comes included with the flip 5 cause there are some major differences from the flip 4 and charge 4. So first off, the flip 5 comes included with a hard styrofoam carrying case which honestly was a huge surprise to me. And personally I do think this is an awesome touch on JBL's part cause the flip 5 is one of those speakers that you pick up cause you plan on taking it on the go with you. But the flip 5 still has the same super durable body as the Flip 4. Its fabric and soft touch plastic body is going to have no problem standing up to constant abuse and it's still rocking that same IPX7 rating making it water proof. The only thing you really gotta worry about on this speaker is just not pushing in or getting dirt trapped inside those dual passive radiators. So besides that this speaker is built like a tank. Which makes me doubt I'll actually end up using the included carrying just cause the flip 5 is so rugged all on its own.
But another thing that comes included with the flip 5 is this new USB C to USB A charging cable which obviously means the flip 5 now charges via a USB C port just like the JBL Charge 4. But just like the older JBL Flip 4, the Flip 5 still has an advertised battery life 12 hours. And in my testing with the volume set at 80% I got a real world battery life of 8 hours and 5 hours at Max volume. So battery life on this speaker is not bad at all. But one of the first things that just make me wonder “But Why” about this speaker is the lack on an audio jack. Now personally I don’t mind not having an audio jack on this speaker, but I still feel JBL should have included it cause some people want or still need to use a wired connection in certain situations and its not like JBL got rid of the Audio jack on their speaker cause they needed the extra room to cram in other features like what’s happening on phones. And I also want to point out that this USB C port can only be used to for charging. You can’t use it as a wired connection and you also can’t use it to charge your own phone. Actually when I connected the flip 5 to my pixel 3A, my pixel 3A started to charge the Flip 5. So even though I think it great that this speaker now have a USB C port, I feel JBL is leaving a lot of functionality on the table. Let me use it as a wired connection and let me use my speaker to charge my phone.
Now when it comes to bluetooth connectivity the Flip 5 can be connected to 2 devices at the same time so you and a friend can both be DJ… that’s good. And when it comes to range this guy is good for about 100 feet which is way more than what you actually need which is also good.
But the Flip 5 is still only using the SBC audio codec so it is kind of disappointing that there isn’t any AAC or APTX support. But what this really means is that this speaker isn’t great for watching movies or podcasts on your phone cause there is a slight latency when ever watching videos on both an Android or Apple device. And personally I just feel that if you’re going to get rid of the Audio jack on your speaker you gotta support higher quality audio codecs and make sure your wireless connection is on point.
But now lets talk about speaker set ups cause its very different from past JBL Speakers. Now the Flip 4 is a 16 watt speaker that’s rocking dual 40 millimeter transducers and dual passive radiators that shoot out the sides. And for the most part this is a very standard speaker set up for most other $100 speakers out there. But ever since the JBL Charge 4, JBL has transitioned from a dual transducer set up to a single transducer set up on their speakers. So now the JBL Flip 5 is a 20 watt speaker rocking a single oval transducer that’s been offset to the left but you still have those dual passive radiators that shoot out the sides. Now personally I don’t care if the Flip 5 has a single transducer set up or a dual transducer set up cause at the end of the day all that matters is how this speaker sounds. So we’re going to jump into a sound test.
So sound signature wise all three of these speakers do put an emphasis on the mids and they all have a good amount of bass to them. But when it comes to audio fidelity the Flip 5 does out perform the Flip 4 when it comes to those higher pitched sounds. In those small instances where the Flip 4 was distorting both the Charge 4 and Flip 5 kept everything sounding clear. And in general JBL’s newer speakers do sound a little warmer than the Flip 4. The Flip 5 also has slightly more bass than the Flip 4 over all. Its not a noticeably huge difference that’s going to shock you like the Wonderboom 2 did to me when I first heard it but it is there. But also the Flip 5 gets slightly louder than the Flip 4. Again like the bass on the Flip 5 its not a noticeably huge performance difference between the Flip 4 but it is there. But what does surprise me here is just how well the Flip 5 manages to keep up with its larger brother the Charge 4. But still obviously if you want the most volume and most amount of bass here you’re still better off just picking up the Charge 4.
But now let's talk about perhaps the most controversial thing about the JBL Flip 5 which has got to be its new JBL Party Boost speaker pairing protocol. For those who may not be in the know, JBL Connect Plus has been by far my favorite speaker pairing protocol for the last few years cause you literally just press one button on each speaker and the speakers will pair themselves together so you can play your music in sync. You don’t have to open up any other apps and the speakers don’t have to be paired to the same phone it just works. JBL Connect Plus is perhaps the best speaker pairing protocol on the market and its available on the JBL Flip 4, Charge 3, Charge 4, Pulse 3, Xtreme 2 and JBL Boombox. But now since the JBL Flip 5 only supports Party Boost that means that the Flip 5 can’t be paired up with any other JBL Speakers using JBL Connect Plus. Which means if you buy a new JBL Flip 5 you can’t pair it up to a Flip 4 or anything else unless you get multiple Flip 5’s or wait until other JBL PartyBoost Enabled speakers are released is the future. Now what’s rubbing people the wrong way here is that it looks like JBL just changes their speaker pairing protocol every generation so that people continue to buy their speakers. Now when we went from JBL Connect to JBL connect Plus I guess it was understandable cause JBL’s newer generation of speakers was transitioning from bluetooth 4.1 to bluetooth 4.2. And since the Charge 3 was equipped with bluetooth 4.2 you could download a firmware update to upgrade to JBL Connect Plus. Now JBL claims that their new Partyboost feature is better than JBL Connect Plus cause it has better bluetooth range and sound clarity… which means you’re going to be able to spread your connected speakers out farther. But personally I don’t understand why there isnt any backwards compatibility this time around between Partyboost and JBL Connect Plus cause the JBL Flip 5 is still using Bluetooth 4.2 and only supports SBC just like the rest of JBL’s current crop of speakers that use JBL Connect Plus. So as someone from the outside looking in I don’t understand why JBL connected Plus speakers can’t pair to Partyboost speakers since they all use bluetooth 4.2 they all support the same bluetooth profiles and they all only support SBC. And as a consumer this does look and feel like planned obsolescence cause JBL has came out and said that they don’t plan on upgrading any JBL connect Plus speakers to Partyboost.
So with all that being said like I mentioned at the beginning of this video, the JBL Flip 5 is a bit of a mixed bag right now. The Flip 5 does have some improvements over the Flip 4 like it sound slightly better, it gets slightly louder, it has slightly more bass, and it now has USB C charging. But like I mentioned earlier I wish we could do more with that USB C port like use it as a wired connection and use it to charge your own phone. Personally I don’t understand why they got rid of the audio jack besides being a cost saving measure cause this speaker still doesn’t support higher quality audio codecs like AAC and or APTX and this speaker does have a slight latency when watching videos on your phone. So for those reasons I still see a need for an Audio Jack on this speaker. But the biggest offense right now is just Partyboost not being able to connect JBL connect Plus speakers. If you’re someone that currently has JBL connect plus enabled speakers and was thinking about getting the Flip 5 I recommend you hold off and be prepared to be disappointed here on out cause your speakers are now last gen. But if you’re someone that just looking into getting a Flip 5 in general then yeah its still a decent speaker to get over all and if you currently don’t have any other JBL speakers I do recommend getting the Flip 5 over the Flip 4.