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JBL Charge 5 WiFi and Bluetooth Speaker

Pros

  • Rich, balanced, and spacious sound quality.
  • Limited distortion at high volumes.
  • Comprehensive and intuitive controls.
  • Sturdy construction with IP67 certification.

Cons

  • Slight lack of precision in the bass.
  • Disappointing battery life.
  • Not compatible with PartyBoost mode.
  • No wired audio connectivity.
Features
Output power (W) 30W woofer & 10W tweeter
Built-in Wi-Fi Yes
JBL One App Yes
Powerbank Yes
Waterproof Yes
Wireless Yes
Dustproof Yes
Rechargable battery Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Charging time (hrs) 6
Maximum music playing time (hrs) 20

The Charge 5 Wi-Fi is a variation of the Charge 5 with added Wi-Fi connectivity, in addition to Bluetooth. Besides this enhanced connectivity, the Charge 5 Wi-Fi hardly differs from its Bluetooth counterpart.

JBL Charge 5 WiFi -2

Overview

Undoubtedly leading the market in Bluetooth portable speakers, JBL had somewhat neglected the Wi-Fi speaker sector since releasing the Link Portable in 2019. With Wi-Fi speakers becoming more fashionable, the American manufacturer revisits the concept by introducing the Wi-Fi version of its excellent Bluetooth speaker: the Charge 5 Wi-Fi.

As its name suggests, the Charge 5 Wi-Fi stands out for its Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with many communication protocols. Microphones have also been integrated to adjust the sound quality based on its placement in a room. Its design, sturdy construction, and the promised 20-hour battery life remain unchanged.

This review will focus solely on the differences between the Charge 5 Wi-Fi and the Charge 5. We recommend reading the Charge 5 review for more detailed information.

Build

The Charge 5 Wi-Fi is nearly identical to its Bluetooth sibling. Its size is slightly different: 22.3 x 9.7 x 9.4 cm and 1 kg for the Charge 5 Wi-Fi, compared to 22 x 9.6 x 9.3 cm and 960 g for the Charge 5. Aesthetic differences are minimal: only the front logo is darker and surrounded by a gold trim, matching the logos on each side’s passive radiators. Otherwise, they’re virtually identical.

User Experience

 Controls

There are also very few changes regarding the physical controls on the speaker. However, there’s a new heart-shaped button in place of the Charge 5’s PartyBoost button. This new button initiates a “Moment”, a sort of preset where one can set up a streaming platform (from a limited list), a predefined volume, and a sleep timer.

Speaking of the PartyBoost function, it’s not available on this Charge 5 Wi-Fi. Hence, you can’t pair multiple speakers together, which is possible with other JBL speakers. However, you can still pair two Charge 5 Wi-Fis for a stereo setup.

Another significant change: the play button now allows users to skip back to the previous track with a triple press! A real game-changer for a JBL speaker! It’s also worth noting that the speaker integrates seamlessly with ecosystems managed by Google Assistant or Alexa.

JBL Charge 5 WiFi - 3

Connectivity

 The Charge 5 Wi-Fi really distinguishes itself from the Charge 5 in its connectivity features. Bluetooth is still available, now in version 5.3, along with a multipoint feature allowing pairing with two devices simultaneously. As the name suggests, the Charge 5 Wi-Fi has Wi-Fi connectivity and is compatible with a range of protocols like AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Alexa MRM, and Spotify Connect. This allows streaming from any platform whilst benefiting from a Wi-Fi connection.

We encountered some connectivity issues when switching between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but otherwise, the speaker was stable. As for latency, we measured it at 242 ms for Bluetooth and approximately 1.5 seconds for Wi-Fi.

Application

Unlike the Charge 5 and all other JBL Bluetooth speakers that pair with the JBL Portable app, the Charge 5 Wi-Fi works with the JBL One app, managing the manufacturer’s Wi-Fi speakers. Available on iOS and Android, this app is stable and provides settings and information about the speaker, such as a music player, remaining battery level, and a simplified equaliser, among others.

Audio

The Charge 5 Wi-Fi has the same acoustic architecture as its Bluetooth sibling, featuring an oblong mid/bass speaker, a 2 cm tweeter, and two side passive radiators. So it’s no surprise that the speaker provides almost the same listening experience as its counterpart. That’s why, once again, we recommend checking the Charge 5 review for more details.

What sets this Charge 5 Wi-Fi apart from the Charge 5 is the inclusion of microphones that allow real-time sound adjustments based on the speaker’s room position. These adjustments are subtle; there might be a slight change in bass treatment, especially when placed in a corner, but it doesn’t fundamentally alter the speaker’s sound signature.

JBL Charge 5 WiFi - 4

Battery Life

Despite a significant increase in battery capacity compared to the Charge 5 (14,100 mAh vs. 7,500 mAh) and a promised 20-hour battery life, the Charge 5 Wi-Fi lasts 12 hours at 50% volume (equivalent to a sound level of 79 dB SPL at 1 m, our standard measure).

The Charge 5 Wi-Fi therefore underperforms compared to its Charge 5 counterpart, which we found to last 16 hours at 50% volume, and is also below the current market average (around 15 hours). However, this volume level is quite generous and is more than adequate for filling a spacious room or for outdoor use. By lowering the volume to 30%, we measured a battery life of 20 hours. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the speaker takes a lengthy 6 hours to fully charge!

Conclusion

The Charge 5 Wi-Fi follows in the footsteps of the Charge 5, which is a good thing. We continue to appreciate its musicality, robust construction, and ease of use. This version does gain in versatility with the inclusion of Wi-Fi connectivity, expanding possibilities. However, this enhanced connectivity comes at a cost: a reduced battery life compared to the Charge 5.

★★★★★

JBL Charge 5 WiFi and Bluetooth Speaker with up to 20 hours Battery Life, Waterproof and Dustproof, in Black

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Price History

Statistics

Current Price -
Highest Price £20,610,206.00 February 8, 2024
Lowest Price £161.10 March 4, 2024
Since August 24, 2023

Last price changes

£199.00 March 5, 2024
£161.10 March 4, 2024
£20,610,206.00 March 2, 2024
£20,610,206.00 March 1, 2024
£20,610,206.00 February 28, 2024
4.5/5 (2 Reviews)

2 thoughts on “JBL Charge 5 WiFi and Bluetooth Speaker”

  1. So how exactly can you pair two Charge 5s Wifi in stereo ?? I have never seen anywhere on internet including the JBL website mentioning this…

    1. Hello there,

      I believe I understood your question correctly.

      You can connect up to 2 phones or tablets to a JBL speaker and take turns playing music.

      You can also pair 2 JBL speakers with PartyBoost mode and play from a single music source. This information is also available on their website.

      If you can’t find it, let me know, and I will share the links with you.

      Thank you.

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Richard Garrett

Richard Garrett

As an expert on the latest techy stuff, the primary focus is PCs and laptops. Much of his time is split between smartphones, tablets and audio, focusing on the latest devices.
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