JBL Flip 5 REVIEW
JBL Flip 5 REVIEW
PAT PILCHER flips over JBL’s latest Bluetooth speaker while firing up the barbecue.
Now that summer is finally here, taking electronics outside is finally an option. Perhaps the most essential piece of outdoors tech are speakers for delivering some vitamin boost as we slave away over a hot barbeque.
Short of spending vast sums of money wiring in outdoor speakers, your best bet is a portable Bluetooth speaker, which can play tunes from a connected smartphone. Finding a decent Bluetooth speaker requires manufacturers to strike a balance between audio quality/volume, portability and durability. Has JBL cracked it with the Flip 5? Read on! My JBL Flip 5 review is underway!
Like Logitech’s highly regarded UE Boom, the Flip 5 comes in a cylindrical design that features a shock-resistant and near bombproof design. It has a mesh covering and heavy-duty, rubberised bass radiators that saw it delivering audio that belied its small form factor.
Its controls consist of a power/Bluetooth pairing /playback buttons.
The JBL Flip 5 is ideal for delivering background music while out on the deck or at a picnic. You can get better quality audio from the likes of Bose, whose wired outdoor speakers are way more expensive. But the Flip 5 is affordable, built tough and is waterproof. Its compact and lightweight design also makes it ideal for carrying to picnics. Best of all, its battery easily exceeds JBL’s stated 12 hours of playback spec, which isn’t too shabby at all.
On the audio front, the Flip 5 sounded surprisingly good. Its sound was well balanced with no noticeable muddiness, waffly bass or shrill and fatiguing treble/midrange. Considering its small size, it threw out plenty of good noise. That said, it’s best suited for delivering background music, which is what most are likely to want at a barbecue or picnic. Equally handy, JBL offers what they call PartyBoost. This allows you to link two Flip 5’s together for stereo sound, or if you’ve got more than two Flip 5’s you can connect them all up for a faux surround sound.
Sound aside, the Flip 5 is a durable wee beastie. This comes in part from its IPX7 rating, which pretty much equates to total waterproofness. This proved to be a good thing as the Wellington summer is already supplying an abundance of falling liquid sunshine. It’s reassuring to know that the speaker can handle a downpour or even a dunking (yes, Wellington’s weather can get squirrely).
While it isn’t a large speaker, it did belt out a big sound, but it’s not going to get a nightclub rocking. It’s more than ample for a barbeque with friends, however. I was able to crank it right up, although I did notice that the sound was marred by distortion at full volume. That said, dropping volume levels back a tad delivered loud audio that sounded reasonably good.
JBL says that it should last 12 hours. In testing during this JBL Flip 5 review, it delivered and kept on going – for almost double that before finally conking out. Battery life isn’t likely to be an issue with the Flip 5, although your mileage will vary depending on listening volume levels and so on.
It’s waterproof, and it feels built to withstand thermonuclear war. It delivers audio that is also bigger than its pint-sized package would have you believe. Considering it’s priced at a very reasonable $109.95, the JBL Flip 5 looks (and sounds) like a pretty sweet deal.