Flip 5 and Charge 4 are two of JBL's speakers that are designed for large gatherings. Mind you though, they can come too large for smaller groups and spaces. I'd recommend you to check out JBL Go 2 in that case.
In summary, the JBL Flip 5 gives more portability (around HALF the size of Charge 4) at a more affordable price point. However, the sound quality of JBL Charge 4 is more pleasing to listen to even at lower volume levels. JBL Charge 4 also has a more well-rounded feature list with great battery life and a wired connection that can charge other devices.
To summarize their best uses:
- The JBL Charge 4 is bigger and heavier than the Flip 5.
- The JBL Charge 4 has a longer-lasting battery.
- The JBL Flip 5 has a weaker sound than the Charge 4.
Build and Portability
The JBL Charge 4 was released in 2018, while the JBL Flip 5 was released in 2019. Both speakers have the same build: chunky and solid, but still small enough to be portable.
They look almost the same, sporting the same cylindrical build with an elongated design, though the JBL Charge 4 is an inch bigger on all sides. The JBL Charge 4 has a heftier weight at 960g compared to the Flip 5, which weighs only 540g.
Both speakers are designed for outdoor use, perfect for taking on hikes and camping. The JBL Charge 4 is bigger and heavier than the sleek Flip 4, making it a bit inconvenient.
Both speakers are also IPX7 rated, making them waterproof in up to 3 feet water level for 30 minutes, though the Charge 4 adds extra protection by having a cover for its charging port.
Check out the Technical Specifications of Charge 4 on JBL's website.
Both the JBL Charge 4 and JBL Flip 5 have the same standard controls: play/pause, skip track, and volume control. Both also have Bluetooth 4.2.
As for the wired connection, the JBL Charge 4 and Flip 5 have USB Type-C charging ports, though the Charge 4 also has an additional 3.5mm audio input that lets you connect the speaker to a device using a cable.
Compatibility with Other Devices
The two speakers also have different features that create the same effect. The JBL Flip 5 has PartyBoost, which allows you to connect to multiple other JBL speakers with PartyBoost.
Similarly, the Charge 4 has JBL Connect+, which lets you connect it to a secondary speaker to create a stereo effect. The main difference is that most JBL speakers can connect to the Charge 4, while only a handful can connect to the Flip 5 via PartyBoost because it’s a newer feature.
In terms of keeping up with modern features on recent speaker releases, the two models keep it stripped down and simple: no Wi-Fi, voice assistant support, and a pretty basic app.
They also don’t have mics, so if your phone is connected to the speaker, no kind of support will let you attend to it via the speaker.
The 20W JBL Flip 5 can hold its own with excellent sound and loudness, though it doesn't get as loud and is not as bass-heavy as the Charge 4, as you might expect from a smaller speaker.
It delivers the beats well, and its driver can enhance low-end frequencies and translate distortion-free bass at high volumes. However, its bass floor is more limited compared to the JBL Charge 4. It compensates for this by emphasizing the midrange and treble more.
In terms of bass, the 30W JBL Charge 4 gives a wider and more powerful bass frequency, and you can feel it once you turn the volume up to max. It also has a more transparent sound and cleanly produces heavy arrangements.
In terms of soundstage, the JBL Charge 4 has a vast and sweeping one that feels more compact. However, it underperforms in the high end, unlike the Flip 5.
You can see the difference in quality when you test the two speakers in terms of the big room and outdoor sound. The JBL Charge 4 is ideal for hosting over ten people at a pool party, while the Flip 5 will do fine for background music once the party starts to die down.
Here is a Quick Start Guide for JBL Flip 5.
The JBL Flip 5 can run for a total of 12 hours and will need 2.5 hours to fully recharge. It uses a glowing white line that slowly darkens as the battery life begins to drop.
While that’s already a pretty good deal, the JBL Charge 4’s best feature is its battery. It can run up to 20 hours after a full 4.5-hour charge and has glowing white dots to show how much battery life is left. This can last you days and can even charge your phone because of its massive runtime and the 5V supply.
As of writing these lines, the JBL Charge 4 costs $150, while the Flip 5 costs at $100, despite being the more recent model. The difference is not that significant, but it’s money off all the same.
In any case, both are top choices for the most affordable portable Bluetooth speakers in the market. If you’re after the JBL Charge 4 for its superior sound quality, then the $50 price jump sounds like a reasonable investment.
Whichever portable Bluetooth speaker you choose, JBL will make sure that you’re getting a great device. It all comes down to which features are the most important to you.
In this case, power, sound quality, and portability are the biggest differences between the JBL Charge 4 and the Flip 5. The JBL Charge 4 wins in terms of runtime and sound quality, though the Flip 5’s sleeker design, portability, and excellent audio make it a worthy competitor for outdoor use.
Here is a rundown of our comparison on the two speakers:
- Build and portability: JBL Flip 5
- User Interface: JBL Charge 4 for the 3.5 headphone jack
- Compatibility with other devices: JBL Charge 4
- Extra features: Draw
- Sound quality: JBL Charge 4
- Battery life: JBL Charge 4
- Price: JBL Flip 5