JBL Charge 5 Bluetooth speaker looks to improve on the very best

JBL Charge 5 Bluetooth speaker
(Image credit: JBL)

There are product lines in consumer electronics that have consistently impressed, time and time again and without fail – and JBL’s Charge Bluetooth speaker range is one of them. So the fact it’s now entering its fifth generation is big news to anyone looking for excellent on-the-go sound from a compact wireless speaker.

The successor to the Charge 4 (which we called “a fun and bubbly Bluetooth speaker with a serious sound”), the all-new JBL Charge 5 is, the US audio brand claims, even more rugged and better sounding than the four Charges that have come before it.

While the Charge 4 has an IPX7 rating, meaning it can handle being submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m, the IP67-rated Charge 5 builds on that by also being fully dustproof.

There’s now a racetrack-shaped driver, separate tweeter and dual passive radiators to deliver the sonic goods, too, while the iconic aesthetic (available in black, blue, red, teal and more) has been ever so slightly tweaked to introduce a bolder JBL logo.

JBL Charge 5

(Image credit: JBL)

The same 7500mAh battery offers the same 20 hours of playback from a single charge, and there’s still the option to use the speaker’s USB output to charge your phone or tablet. JBL’s PartyBoost feature, which allows owners to connect the Charge 5 to other compatible JBL portable speakers for a bigger sound, is naturally present and correct, too. Last but not least, the latest Bluetooth 5.1 standard promises the quickest, most efficient connectivity available.

The JBL Charge 5 will be available from March for £160 (about AU$230), and if the line's track record is anything to go by it might just be worth every penny. We hope to find that out very soon.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.