With the rising demand for quality Bluetooth speakers, many companies are emerging, and JBL is renowned. Two of the renowned names are JBL Charge Essential and Flip 5. Let’s compare these two speakers and determine which one could be a better option.
My Verdict: In my opinion, JBL Flip 5 is a better option because of its clear audio response and more refined audio signature, Partyboost feature, stereo pairing option, and Bluetooth 4.2. It also has a built-in power bank, allowing users to charge their devices, and an IPX7 rating for water resistance, making it suitable for outdoor applications.
Quick Comparison between JBL Charge Essential and Flip 5
|JBL Charge Essential
|60 Hz to 20 kHz
|On the speakers
|On top of the speaker
|LED Light indicator
|LED battery indicator
|USB-C For charging
|Yes (JBL Portable App)
|12 hours (advertised)
|20 hours (advertised)
Detailed Comparison: Charge Essential Vs. Flip 5
Design language, Build Quality, and Sturdiness:
First, both the speakers have cylindrical designs with high-quality material manufacturing. The JBL Flip 5 has a tight-knit fabric enclosing the sound drivers and keeping them safe from accidents. You can place this speaker both horizontally and vertically. It comes with a removable strap, which improves the speaker’s portability, allowing the user to carry it anywhere easily.
JBL Charge Essential has a rubber housing and mesh fabric covering its cylindrical body. This speaker is a few grams heavier than the Flip 5 but is also easily portable because of its lightweight and easy-to-carry design. Charge Essential has a tight seal on the connectivity ports to keep them safe in case of accidents.
I tested the sturdiness of both speakers by conducting a fair test of throwing both speakers from a similar height of 4 feet onto a concrete floor. Surprisingly, neither of the speakers showed any visible damage after the fall.
These speakers are IPX7 certified for water resistance, making them splash and water-resistant. I tested it by exposing the speakers to water using a water spray and playing music. Surprisingly, both the speakers worked just fine; no alteration in audio could be heard during the test.
Let’s discuss some of the active features of both speakers to help determine which is better. Both speakers have an IPX7 rating and a built-in power bank allowing users to charge their devices from the speakers, but no built-in microphone or voice assistant support.
However, the Charge Essential has more connectivity options than Flip 5. This speaker comes with a USB-A port for charging, a USB port for connecting devices to charge from the speaker, and a 3.5mm cable AUX input allowing wired connections. Flip 5, on the other hand, only has a USB-C port for charging the speaker and other devices but doesn’t support wired connectivity.
Both the speakers have a battery-saving mode, which allows the speaker to shut down within 10-15 minutes of inactivity. They have a companion app for accessing multiple controls and software updates; however, there is no equalizer option for customizing the frequency as you desire.
Finally, both speakers have a stereo pairing mode. Still, the Flip 5 has an additional feature of Partyboost, allowing you to connect the speaker with a daisy chain of Partyboost-compatible speakers.
Now, let’s discuss the sound quality of both speakers. The advertised audio output and frequency response of both the speakers are the same, i.e., 20 Watts audio output and 65Hz-20KHz frequency response. So, I conducted a sound test to check the quality of sound, frequency response range, and the audio signature of both speakers.
I conducted a sound test of both speakers; Charge Essential was a bit louder than the Flip 5 because of its slightly larger sound drivers. Although both speakers are unsuitable for a home speakers system, the Charge Essential had a bit louder audio output than the Flip 5.
At a volume of 50%, the Charge Essential sounds more bassy than the Flip 5, whereas the JBL Flip 5 had more clarity in audio with clear mids and trebles. At a Volume of 70%, Flip 5 sounds more refined, with a passable frequency response accuracy. A slight dip in trebles could be heard, though, which dulls the sound quality, with a noticeable lack of low bass. On the other hand, the Charge Essential has a better bass response, but it’s still not impressive or very punchy. The audio gets a bit muffled at some points and lacks clarity in mids and trebles.
Overall, Flip 5 has better clarity and a more balanced sound signature, whereas Charge Essential is much louder with better bass response, but the audio may get muffled at higher volumes.
Battery life is another important consideration when comparing the two speakers. The advertised battery life of Flip 5 is about 12 hours; however, at a volume of 50-60%, the speaker’s battery lasted for about 8.2 hours, whereas for volume 90% and above, it dropped to 4 hours.
Charge Essential, on the other hand, has an advertised battery life of a maximum of 20 hours, but that was achievable for volumes under 40%; for higher volumes, the speaker’s battery lasted for 7.5 hours only for volumes 50-60%, whereas for volume 90% and above for about 4 hours.
Furthermore, Flip 5 has a shorter charging time, i.e., 2.5 hours, whereas Charge Essential has a charging time of 4 hours, which is more than its competitor. Another important aspect of the Charge Essential is its larger battery, which produces a better audio output than Flip 5. Both the speakers have a built-in power bank, allowing the user to charge their devices from the speaker whenever required.
Bluetooth and Other Connectivity Options:
Both JBL Flip 5 and Charge Essential are portable Bluetooth speakers; however, JBL Flip 5 features a better version of Bluetooth, i.e., Bluetooth 4.2, whereas Charge Essential features Bluetooth 4.1. JBL Flip 5 has a better connectivity range, faster transmission rate, and a lag-free audio signal transmission than Charge Essential.
In addition, JBL Flip 5 has a USB-C port for charging the speaker and other devices; it doesn’t support any wired connections.
On the other hand, JBL Charge Essential has different connectivity options; it has two USB ports and an AUX cable input, which allows the user to connect devices with the speakers through a wired connection.
Usability: JBL Charge Essential Vs. Flip 5
In my opinion, JBL Flip 5 is a small speaker suitable for filling average-sized rooms. This speaker has an IPX7 rating, which makes it water and splash-resistant. It even comes with a Partyboost feature, allowing users to daisy chain several Partyboost-compatible speakers for simultaneous and more booming audio output.
JBL Charge Essential and Flip 5 are smaller speakers that cannot fill larger spaces. However, Charge Essential does a better job in outdoor spaces because of its louder audio output. Furthermore, it also has an IPX7 rating, making it water and splash-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about outdoor rain. Its sturdy design protects it against accidental drops, keeping the sound drivers safe.
Camping and Hiking Trips
Charge Essential is a better option for camping and hiking trips because of its sturdiness, durability, connectivity options, and louder audio output. This speaker even comes with a detachable strap, allowing the user to hang the speaker with a bag without hassle. It has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, meaning the speaker will not be damaged if it rains during your trip.
Pool Parties and Beaches
In my opinion, JBL Flip 5 is more suitable for Pool parties and Beaches. It has clear audio, which isn’t as loud as Charge Essential; however, it has Partyboost features, which allow the user to connect a Daisy chain of speakers for louder and simultaneous audio playback. This speaker also has an IPX7 rating, making it water-resistant and immune to water splashes during the party.
The decision of a better speaker depends on many factors, including audio quality, price, features, battery life, and connectivity options. So, the decision may vary from one person to another. However, among the two options of JBL Charge Essential and Flip 5, Flip 5 is a better option.
It has a clearer and more balanced audio signature, good battery life, better Bluetooth for lag-free connectivity and audio transmission, and a Partyboost feature to allow users to connect multiple speakers for simultaneous playback.
Although Charge Essential has better application, louder audio output, and diverse connectivity options, the audio sounds muffled and muddy. So, if you’re not looking for a more refined and clear audio signature with better connectivity, you may choose Charge Essential.
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.