JBL Charge 5 vs. Bose Soundlink Flex: Which is Better?

As an audiophile, I've tested the JBL Charge 5 and Bose Soundlink Flex to find the ultimate portable speaker. Let's dive in!

Updated on: February 5, 2024

Can’t decide on the right Bluetooth speaker to bring your favorite tunes to life? Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s like choosing between two good friends: the JBL Charge 5 with its deep bass that fills up the room, and the Bose Soundlink Flex, known for its crisp, clear sound that makes every note sparkle. It’s a tough call, right?

Let’s figure this out together. I’ll walk you through what makes each of these speakers special, from their design and build to the unique features they offer. By the end, we’ll find the perfect match for your music adventures. Ready to dive in?

JBL Charge 5 Vs Bose Soundlink Flex Comparison Table

FeatureJBL Charge 5Bose Soundlink Flex
Weight960 g730 g
Battery Life20 hours12 hours
Frequency Response58 Hz- 20 KHz60 Hz- 20KHz
Sound DriversDual JBL Bass Radiator, Tweeter, single frontward firing transducer.Single frontwards firing transducer, pair of passive radiators.
Dust and Water ResistanceIP67 ratingIP67 rating
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.1, USB-A portBluetooth 4.2, USB-C charging
Voice assistantNoYes (Google Assistant/ Siri)
Additional FeaturesPartyboost feature, Equalizer Partymode feature, Bose SimpleSync technology
Companion AppJBL Portable App ( Firmware updates and customized settings)Bose Connect App (Firmware updates and customized settings)

Bose Soundlink Flex vs JBL Charge 5 – in-depth Review

Design, Build Quality, and Portability:

Both these speakers have a sturdy build and excellent portability. With their compact and lightweight design, these speakers are perfect for hand-carry bags or backpacks.

The Bose Soundlink Flex has a silicon wrap body and metal grill at the front to protect sound drivers. The JBL Charge 5 has a fabric-wrapped body with a rubberized bottom to place the speaker on the table with ease and protect the speaker against accidental drops. The fabric wrap also serves to protect the sound drivers due to its durability.

 JBL Charge 5 and Bose Soundlink design

Furthermore, the Bose Soundlink Flex is a rectangular-shaped speaker with a small built-in handle, which could be used to hang the speaker on a hook. Whereas JBL Charge 5 has a cylindrical shape and no handle or carabiner. 

Additionally, both these speakers are dust and waterproof with an IP67 rating, which means they are submersible in water for about 30 minutes without any damage. However, it’d be best not to push the limits. 

If you’re interested in how JBL Charge 5 compares with other models, you can read about the differences between JBL Charge 5 and Flip 5 here.

Sound Quality and Frequency Response:

To understand their sound signatures, let’s discuss these two speakers’ audio output and frequency response. Bose Soundlink Flex has a frontwards firing single transducer and dual passive radiators on the sides. This speaker has a frequency response of 60 Hz to 20 KHz, which means it can handle all frequencies well. In addition, this speaker comes with a position IQ which adjusts the speaker’s Equalizer according to its orientation.

The Bose Sound Flex produces detailed and accurate audio with well-balanced mids. However, the trebles on this speaker might be raised a bit more than normal.

On the other hand, the JBL Charge 5 has dual bass radiators, a dedicated tweeter, and a frontwards firing transducer. It has a power output of 30 Watts RMS and a frequency response of 58 Hz- 20 KHz. With its dual bass radiators, this speaker delivers impressive bass and can effortlessly handle heavy bass tracks. It also has a balanced and clear mid and high-frequency audio emission. 

In my own testing, I found that the JBL Charge 5 packs a serious punch when it comes to volume. To put it in perspective, when I cranked up the Bose Soundlink Flex to 87% of its maximum volume, I only needed to set the JBL Charge 5 to 75% to match it. That’s how much louder the JBL Charge 5 is, and it’s a difference you can truly feel, especially in larger spaces or outdoor settings.

So, in terms of sound quality, JBL Charge 5 is a better choice.

If you’re interested in hearing the difference in sound quality between the JBL Charge 5 and the Bose Soundlink Flex, check out the video below.

Battery Life: Performance at Different Volumes

The JBL Charge 5 boasts an impressive battery life of up to 20 hours, outlasting the Bose Soundlink Flex, which offers up to 12 hours on a full charge. However, it’s essential to note that these figures can change based on several factors.

Playing music at higher volumes tends to consume more power, potentially reducing the battery life. For instance, while the Charge 5 might last the full 20 hours at moderate volumes, continuously playing at maximum volume might reduce this duration. Similarly, the Soundlink Flex’s 12-hour battery life might be shorter when used at its loudest settings.

Other factors, such as the type of music played (bass-heavy tracks can consume more power) and the overall usage pattern, can also influence battery longevity.

In summary, while the JBL Charge 5 generally offers a longer battery life than the Bose Soundlink Flex, actual performance can vary based on usage. Nonetheless, the Charge 5’s extended battery life makes it an excellent choice for extended trips and travels.

For more information on how the JBL Charge 5’s battery life compares to other JBL models, you can see the comparison between JBL Xtreme 2 and JBL Charge 5 here.


JBL Charge 5 and  Bose Soundlink Flex battery

JBL Charge 5 and Bose Soundlink Flex are Bluetooth speakers that connect to the audio source wirelessly. However, the Charge 5 has an advanced version of Bluetooth, i.e., Bluetooth 5.1, whereas the Soundlink Flex offers Bluetooth 4.2. 

The advanced version of Bluetooth offers perks such as an extended connectivity range, quicker connections, and faster transmission rates.

Furthermore, both speakers have a USB-C port for charging and don’t have an AUX cable input or an audio jack. However, the JBL Charge 5 has a USB-A port, which can charge other devices from the speaker.

Latency and Bluetooth Range:

To give you the most accurate information, I decided to put both the JBL Charge 5 and the Bose Soundlink Flex to the test. After all, what’s the point of having a Bluetooth speaker if it doesn’t perform well in the situations you’ll actually use it?

What is Latency:

Latency is the delay between the audio signal being sent and when you actually hear it. This is crucial for activities like watching movies or playing video games where audio sync is important.

JBL Charge 5: I paired the JBL Charge 5 with both an iPhone and an Android phone and played a high-action movie clip. The audio was nearly perfectly in sync, and I didn’t notice any lag. The official specs state a latency of around 125 ms for iOS and 102 ms for Android, and my experience seemed to align with that.

Bose Soundlink Flex: On the Bose Soundlink Flex, I noticed a slight delay when watching the same movie clip on an iPhone. The official specs state a latency of 236 ms for iOS and 109 ms for Android. The delay was more noticeable on the iPhone, but it was still within an acceptable range for casual viewing.

Imagine you’re at a beach party, and someone decides to play a funny video. With the JBL Charge 5, everyone laughs at the jokes in real-time. With the Bose Soundlink Flex, you might find people’s laughter slightly out of sync with the video, especially if they’re using an iPhone.

Bluetooth Range

Bluetooth range is another critical factor, especially if you plan to move around a lot with your speaker.

JBL Charge 5: The official specs claim a Bluetooth range of up to 30 feet. To test this, I placed the speaker in my living room and walked around the house, even stepping outside into the yard. The connection remained stable, and I didn’t experience any dropouts.

Bose Soundlink Flex: The Bose Soundlink Flex has an official range of 29 feet. During my test, the connection started to waver when I reached the far end of my yard.

Imagine you’re hosting a BBQ party in your backyard. You’ve set up the JBL Charge 5 near the grill, and you’re moving around, and socializing with your guests. Even if you leave your phone inside, the music keeps playing seamlessly. With the Bose Soundlink Flex, you might experience some interruptions if you wander too far from the speaker.

Other Features:

JBL Charge 5 and Bose Soundlink Flex have a companion app with an equalizer to adjust the bass, mids, and trebles as desired. Charge 5 also has a partyboost feature, allowing it to connect with other Partyboost-compatible speakers. On the other hand, the Bose Soundlink Flex also has a partyboost feature allowing it to connect to multiple compatible speakers.

Furthermore, the Bose Soundlink Flex features a built-in microphone for hands-free calling and voice assistants like Google Assistant or Siri. 

Price: Value for Money Analysis

Charge 5 price

When comparing the Bose Soundlink Flex and the JBL Charge 5, it’s essential to consider not just the price but also the value each speaker offers. The Bose Soundlink Flex is priced higher, starting at $149, while the JBL Charge 5 is more affordable with an average price of $129.

While the Soundlink Flex offers unique features like Position IQ and a built-in microphone, the Charge 5 boasts a longer battery life and advanced Bluetooth connectivity. Both speakers deliver exceptional sound quality, but the Charge 5 provides a slightly better value for its price, especially for those prioritizing battery life and connectivity.

Charge 5 price

It’s worth noting that prices can fluctuate based on location, retailer, and any ongoing promotions or discounts.

Usability and Preferences 

When it comes to choosing a Bluetooth speaker, specs and features are important, but how do they translate into real-world usability? Here’s my take based on personal experience and testing.

For Clean and Clear Sound:

Bose Soundlink Flex: If you’re someone who values audio clarity, the Bose Soundlink Flex is your best bet. I found that its bass and mids are well-balanced, ensuring that the audio remains clear and crisp.

Imagine you’re a podcast enthusiast who loves to catch up on episodes while cooking. The Bose Soundlink Flex ensures that you don’t miss a single word, even when the blender is going full speed.

For Outdoor Use:

JBL Charge 5: If you’re an outdoor adventurer, the JBL Charge 5 is tailor-made for you. I was impressed by its robust sound and long-lasting battery life of 20 hours. The dedicated tweeter and dual bass radiators deliver a full-bodied sound that can easily fill open spaces.

Picture yourself on a camping trip with friends. You’ve set up the JBL Charge 5 near the campfire, and it’s providing the soundtrack to a memorable night under the stars. The battery lasts all evening, and the sound quality makes you feel like you’ve brought a mini-concert along.

For Larger Gatherings and Rooms:

JBL Charge 5: If you’re planning to host larger gatherings or need to fill a big room with sound, the JBL Charge 5 is your go-to choice. With a power output of 30 Watts, this speaker can get really loud without losing audio quality.

Imagine you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party. The JBL Charge 5 is stationed in the living room, but its powerful sound easily travels to the kitchen, the patio, and even upstairs, ensuring that no one misses the countdown.

User Reviews about JBL Charge 5 and Bose Soundlink Flex:

JBL Charge 5:


  • Balanced Sound: Users remarked that the JBL Charge 5 offers clean and clear mids and highs, maintaining a good degree of detail in the music.
  • Bass Quality: Many users were impressed with the bass of Charge 5, stating that it isn’t overwhelming and maintains a balanced sound profile.
  • Build Quality and Power: Some users praised the robust build and overall everyday application of JBL Charge 5. Its power and build quality make it suitable for outdoor parties.
  • Battery Life and Portability: A few users mentioned the easy battery swap feature, allowing for extended playtime. Its size, while on the bigger side, was not a significant concern for some users.
  • Volume and Composure: The speaker holds its composure at high volumes and keeps the sound orderly, according to some users.


  • Sound Quality: A few users found the sound of Charge 5 lacking in punch and impact compared to other models, like the Flip 6. Some even found the sound quality inferior to the older Charge 3 model.
  • Harsh Treble: A couple of users remarked that the treble in Charge 5 is unbalanced and can be unpleasant to hear at times.

Bose Soundlink Flex:


  • Detailed and Cleaner Sound: Users often prefer Bose Soundlink Flex for its more detailed and cleaner sound, especially at low to moderate listening volumes.
  • Portability and Design: The Bose Soundlink Flex was appreciated for its elegant look and small, lightweight design, making it more portable.
  • Balanced Sound: The Bose was often mentioned as having a balanced, warm sound that is pleasant and enveloping, ideal for everyday listening.
  • Quality Feel: Some users mentioned that the Bose Soundlink Flex feels really high quality compared to the JBL Charge 5.


  • Loss of Control at High Volumes: Users mentioned that the Bose loses a little control and sounds a bit messy at higher volumes compared to the JBL Charge 5.
  • Cost: The Bose Soundlink Flex is more expensive than the JBL Charge 5, which raised questions among users about whether the increase in price was justified by the quality.

General Opinions:

  • Subjectivity of Sound: Many users emphasized the subjectivity of sound and encouraged others to listen to the speakers themselves and trust their own ears, as sound is never objective.
  • Versatility: The JBL was often seen as the bolder, more versatile choice suitable for both party evenings and everyday listening, while the Bose was often preferred for its more detailed sound and everyday application.
  • Variety of Options: Several users mentioned that there are many more options available in the market, and it is essential to explore other models and brands.

The discussions illustrate a diverse range of opinions, preferences, and use cases for both speakers. While some users prefer the balanced and clear sound of the JBL Charge 5, others lean towards the detailed and cleaner sound of the Bose Soundlink Flex. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference, use case, and value for money.

Which One’s Better: JBL Charge 5 Vs. Bose Soundlink Flex?

Both of these speakers have great audio performance and power efficiency. However, the JBL Charge 5 is certainly a better option. It has an impactful audio output of 30 Watts RMS, and with its wide frequency response values, it can cover most audio frequency ranges. It delivers loud audio suitable to fill larger rooms and can deliver deep and punchy bass and clear mids and trebles. 

In addition, it also has a more powerful Bluetooth version for better connectivity range, and longer battery life of 20 hours, and dust and water resistance to make it suitable for outdoor use.

On the other hand, Bose Soundlink Flex also produces impactful audio; however, the trebles on this speaker could be a bit louder. In addition, it also has a unique feature of Position IQ to adjust the equalizer according to the speaker’s positioning. This speaker is not as loud and impactful as Charge 5, and the battery life is only 12 hours, which is great but nothing compared to the Charge 5’s 20-hour battery.

Finally, this speaker does have a built-in microphone which could be great for voice assistants; yet, this shouldn’t be the only criterion for purchasing a speaker.

Final Word

Purchasing a Bluetooth speaker is more than just falling for looks. Several factors can influence the decision, including the battery life, sound signature, features, and compatible apps. In addition, personal preference and budget also have a great role in making this choice. 

So, what might be suitable for someone may not be your best choice. So, to get the best one for yourself, look into all the features, your usage, audio signature preferences, and budget to get the best one!


Does the Charge 5 have an equalizer feature?

Yes, the Charge 5 now has an equalizer through the JBL app, allowing users to adjust the bass and other sound settings.

How does the bass of the Bose compare to the JBL?

The upper bass is louder on the Bose, but the JBL extends deeper. The JBL uses metal membranes that vibrate under the pressure of the main driver, functioning much like a bass reflex port. This design allows the JBL to be waterproof while still delivering deep bass.

Is the front of the Flex made of plastic?

No, the front of the Flex is not plastic. According to Bose’s official site, the transducer and passive radiators underneath the steel grille are built with rugged, waterproof materials and sealed tightly to the speaker’s housing.

Does the Charge 5 have an aux port?

The Charge 5 lacks an aux port, which means it cannot be wired directly to a phone or other device. However, it does support Bluetooth connectivity.

Which speaker is better for outdoor use, the JBL Charge 5 or the Bose Flex?

Both speakers have their merits. The JBL Charge 5 is louder and has more bass, making it suitable for outdoor gatherings. The Bose Flex, on the other hand, is known for its crystal clear and rich sound, making it ideal for personal listening.

I’m Shaun Conroy, an audiophile & founder of HiFi Audios. Holding a Bachelor’s in Sound Engineering, I bring deep expertise in audio devices and offer insights & recommendations to fellow enthusiasts.

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