JBL Flip 5 - A speaker for everyone

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The JBL Corporation, a subsidiary of Harman International, has introduced its first Flip wireless speakers in 2012.

Focusing on customer feedback and growing experience, they have been improving ever since.

The first generation of the JBL Flip had 5-hour playback time and 10 Watt nominal output power.

Today, we are going to look at how much the Flip has changed over 5 generations.

Bluetooth range

Battery life

Water protection



Bottom line



Flip 5

Bluetooth range:

  • Up to 165 feet

Battery life:

  • 4-12 hours

Water protection:

  • IPX7 certification
  • It is completely waterproof, it can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water


  • Relatively lightweight
  • Loud
  • Clean sound, which doesn’t get distorted
  • Rigid construction


  • A lot of essential functionality has been removed
  • New PartyBoost protocol, incompatible with older models

Bottom line:

The Flip 5 remained a solid choice in its category, however, it is not worth to upgrade from Flip 4.

The Box, Accessories


The Flip 5 comes in 10 different colors and 2 camouflage options. If you really want to stand out of the crowd, you have the option to customize your Flip 5, for example, by printing your picture on the grill or virtually anything else for extra $30.

Click here to check the updated price of the JBL Flip 5 or to buy the speaker

What’s in the box? 

  • JBL Flip 5

  • One Type-C USB cable

  • User Guide

  • Warranty card

The Design

The JBL Flip 5 has a simple, minimalistic look that compliments most of the interiors.

The durable fabric grille is covering most of the speaker with the bright orange JBL logo attached on the front side.

Based on the usage of the Charge 3 that I own for 2 years already, the grille used on the JBL speakers proved to be durable through years of both indoor and outdoor usage and no rips occurred overtime.

The sides of the speaker are reinforced with rubber inserts, which protect the speaker from fall damage.

There is also an option to attach a lace to the speaker, in case you want to carry it that way.


Comparing to Flip 4

The previous JBL Flip 4 utilized two 40 mm speakers with 8 Watts each for a total of 16 Watts RMS.

The new Flip 5 has a single 20-Watt speaker, which is larger in diameter measuring 44mm x 80mm (1.73 in x 3.15 in) to provide richer sound with 25% more power.

The playback time remained the same 12 hours; however, the battery capacity of the Flip 5 grew to 4800 mAh compared to 3000 mAh of the Flip 4 at the same time shortening the charging time from 3.5 hours to 2.5 hours.

The bigger battery resulted a slight increase in weight from 510 grams (1.12 lbs) to 540 grams (1.19 lbs) as well as in length from 17.5 cm (6.89 in) to 18.1 cm (7.12 in). The new Flip 5 also lacks the integrated microphone for making voice calls.


Music Control

The buttons for speaker and music control are positioned on two sides of the speaker.

There are 4 buttons on the grille: JBL Connect, Volume down, Volume up and Play/Pause.

On the rubberized side of the speaker are the Bluetooth and Power on/off buttons.

The Play/Pause button has the functionality to skip tracks, which is compatible with most devices.

Flip 5 utilizes JBL-s PartyBoost system, which supports up to 100 compatible speakers for synchronized playback or two JBL speakers for the stereo mode and both can be configured into stereo mode via the JBL Connect app on your smartphone.

Unfortunately, the new PartyBoost protocol is not backward compatible, which means that you won’t be able to pair it with older JBL Bluetooth speakers.


Water Protection

The Flip 5 continues the latest traditions of JBL Bluetooth speakers being IPX7 compatible, which allows the speaker to remain up to 3 feet 3 inches underwater for up to 30 minutes as well as during the use in dusty conditions and still not get damaged.

Fortunately, this type of water protection is getting more and more common among the Bluetooth speakers, however, it’s combination with the durable mesh fabric grill, the optimal size, and the shoelace lanyard makes the Flip 5 an excellent outdoor speaker.


Mobile app

The JBL Connect app is available for iOS and Android. It offers basic functionality such as renaming the speaker, connecting multiple speakers, changing playback mode as well as update the speaker software. The app can come handy in specific tasks but probably it is not something you will use every day.

Connectivity, Bluetooth range

The Flip 5 features Bluetooth 4.2, which is a rather old version of Bluetooth but is sufficient for smooth playback on most of the devices.

One big drawback that Flip 5 has is the lack of 3.5mm jack.

The use of 3.5 jack was much more convenient when using the speaker on a desktop with your laptop or PC but now unfortunately it is Bluetooth exclusive.

The connectivity range is up to 50 meters (or about 165 feet).

The speaker charges via the USB Type-C port, which has no rubber cover and is much more convenient than the micro USB that was implemented on the older models.

Battery Life

Although Flip 5 houses a more powerful speaker, a better circuitry, and a larger battery, despite the 60 percent increase in capacity, the playback time remained the same.

The upside of the new design is much faster charging.

Unlike other JBL models such as Charge 4, you cannot charge your phone from the speaker.

Instead, you may find out that if you connect your phone via USB, your phone will start charging the speaker by itself.

The advertised speaker playback time is 12 hours, but that number can be achieved only by not listening at more than 30% of the volume.

If you blast your songs at full volume, the speaker will likely drain its battery in around 4 hours.

Sound Test

New does not always mean better and this is the case with the Flip 5.

While under the hood, it was completely redesigned, with its new single driver, in the actual sound quality you cannot sense so dramatic change.

Apart from some slight improvements, the Flip 5 sounds quite similar to the Flip 4.

It has a bit larger sound with more pronounced lows.

Some would argue that the Flip 4 had more highs and a brighter sound, which is true and can be easily explained by the Flip 5’s reduced number of drivers.

However, I do not see it as a step back, I think the Flip 4 was way too harsh especially at maximum volume and the cut back in the highs made the sound profile of the Flip 5 more natural and balanced.



JBL is still holding it’s excellent reputation with its Bluetooth speakers on the market and the Flip 5 is no exception.

Just as the former model, it is a great choice in the compact, durable Bluetooth speaker category.

While it does not provide a huge improvement over the Flip 4, it sounds a bit better and sports a newer charging port.

Although the Flip 5 remained a solid choice on the market, I do not recommend upgrading from a Flip 4.

If you want rich sound, and closer to V-shaped frequency response, which will sound very good with modern music, I would suggest checking it’s big brother the Charge 4, which has a better sound, 3.5mm jack and ability to charge your phone.

Click here to check the updated price of the JBL Flip 5 or to buy the speaker


  • Relatively lightweight
  • Loud
  • Clean sound, which doesn’t get distorted
  • Rigid construction


  • A lot of essential functionality has been removed
  • New PartyBoost protocol, incompatible with older models


You can still buy the former model, which can be a good alternative, especially if you find it in a deal.

If you are after a fuller sound, I suggest checking its larger brother the JBL Charge 4.

In the Sony's line-up, the SRS-XB22 is in the same compact outdoor category.


  • Playback time: 12 Hours
  • Output power: 20 Watts RMS
  • Frequency response: 65 Hz – 20000 Hz
  • SNR: > 80dB
  • Bluetooth Version: 4.2
  • Battery Capacity: 4800 mAh, 3.6V
  • Charging Time: 2.5 hours
  • Weight: 540 grams (1.19 lbs)
  • Waterproof: Yes, IPX7
  • Automatic power off: Yes
  • Dimensions: 181 x 69 x 74 mm (7.1 x 2.7 x 2.9 in)
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