JBL Charge 5 Vs. Bose Soundlink Flex: Better Bluetooth Speaker

Portable Bluetooth speakers have become an essential accessory for music lovers who want great sound on the go. Two of the top options on the market right now are the JBL Charge 5 and the Bose SoundLink Flex. But which one is right for you?

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll look at the key features, sound quality, battery life, durability, and overall value offered by each speaker. Knowing the pros and cons of the JBL Charge 5 and Bose SoundLink Flex will help you decide which speaker best fits your needs and budget.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureJBL Charge 5Bose SoundLink Flex
Power Output30W18W
Battery Life20+ hours12 hours
Waterproof RatingIP67IP67
Sound ProfileBold, powerful, heavy bassBalanced, natural mids
Maximum VolumeVery loudModerate max volume
Extra FeaturesApp connectivity, PartyBoost, Alexa built-inPositionIQ sensors

Overview And Key Features

The JBL Charge 5 is the latest in JBL’s popular Charge lineup of portable Bluetooth speakers. It’s a cylindrical speaker with a durable fabric coating available in black, blue, gray, red, and teal color options.

The Bose SoundLink Flex is a newer release from audio giant Bose. It has a unique rectangular shape with a soft silicone covering. You can buy it in black or white.

Both the Charge 5 and SoundLink Flex are compact, portable speakers powered by rechargeable batteries. They connect to devices using Bluetooth 5.1 and can also be used as power banks to charge phones or tablets thanks to their built-in USB-A ports.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key features offered by each speaker:

JBL Charge 5
JBL Charge 5

JBL Charge 5

  • Rated power output: 30W
  • Driver size: 50mm woofers x 2 + 20mm tweeters x 2
  • Frequency response: 65Hz–20kHz
  • Built-in battery provides up to 20 hours of playtime
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating
  • Built-in powerbank charges devices via USB-A port
  • Connects with Bluetooth 5.1
  • JBL PartyBoost allows syncing multiple JBL speakers
  • Useful companion app

Bose SoundLink Flex

  • Rated power output: 18W
  • Proprietary PositionIQ technology auto-adjusts sound based on orientation
  • Frequency response: 90Hz–10kHz
  • Built-in battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating
  • Built-in powerbank charges devices via USB-A port
  • Connects with Bluetooth 5.1
  • Simple button controls (no app)
  • Integrated mounting slots for easy hanging or strapping

Both speakers sound impressive considering their compact size. But on paper, the JBL Charge 5 delivers significantly more power and a wider frequency range than the SoundLink Flex.

The Charge 5 also lasts notably longer on a charge – up to 20 hours compared to 12 hours for the Bose. However, the Flex has some unique advantages like PositionIQ technology and integrated mounting options.

Also Read: Is Bose SoundLink Flex Better Than JBL Flip 6?

Sound Quality

When it comes to audio performance, the JBL Charge 5 and Bose SoundLink Flex each have their strengths and weaknesses that will appeal to different listeners.

  • JBL Charge 5

With its 30W power output and four-driver array, the Charge 5 can get very loud for a portable speaker. It delivers punchy bass that you can really feel, nice open mids, and crisp treble.

JBL’s “signature sound” has lots of power and emphasis on the low end. So if you love deep bass when listening to EDM, hip hop, pop, or rock, you’ll probably prefer the Charge 5 over more balanced options.

It fills medium to large rooms with rich immersive sound. The overall sonic profile is exciting and emotive, optimized for fun rather than critical listening.

However, the bass orientation means the Charge 5 lacks a bit of midrange clarity. It also doesn’t provide the widest soundstage.

  • Bose SoundLink Flex
Bose SoundLink Flex
Bose SoundLink Flex

The SoundLink Flex takes a more balanced tonal approach. It has a pleasing full-bodied sound with warm lows and smooth, natural mids.

Compared to the JBL, vocals and instruments sound more clear and lifelike on the Bose. It presents a nice stereo image with good channel separation.

However, the SoundLink Flex doesn’t deliver room-filling volume or thunderous bass due to its lower 18W power output. It lacks some sparkle and energy in the treble range as well.

So, the Bose speaker sounds more refined overall, but won’t crank up as loud or shake your insides with booming bass like the Charge 5 can.

Battery Life

Battery life is a significant differentiator between these two speakers.

The JBL Charge 5 is the clear winner in this category, offering an incredible 20 hours of continuous playtime at moderate volume levels. For a portable Bluetooth speaker, that’s an outstanding battery that will get you through long days at the beach or pool without having to recharge.

In comparison, the Bose SoundLink Flex lasts around 12 hours on a full battery according to official specs. That’s still respectable uptime and enough for most users’ needs. But it falls several hours short of the JBL’s marathon battery.

Both speakers can be used to charge external devices like smartphones thanks to their built-in USB-A ports and powerbank functionality. However, the JBL will keep the music and your devices juiced up for much longer before it needs to be plugged in again.


Portable Bluetooth speakers need to be durable to withstand life on the go. You don’t want to worry about breaking your speaker every time you toss it in a bag or bring it outdoors.

The JBL Charge 5 and Bose SoundLink Flex both have excellent durability credentials:

  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating – This means both speakers can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes without damage. They are also sealed against dust ingress.
  • Sturdy, rugged builds – The Charge 5 has a durable fabric covering while the SoundLink Flex uses soft silicone. Both enclosures protect the interior components from drops and dings.
  • Stain resistance – The exterior materials also resist staining from splashes, mud, and other mishaps you might encounter trekking around with a portable speaker.

Overall, the Charge 5 and SoundLink Flex match up nicely for toughness. They should both easily handle the abuses of travel and outdoor use. The IP67 rating gives you confidence they will survive common accidents like pool splashes or rainstorms.

Also Read: Differences Between Bose Portable Smart Speaker And Sonos Move.

Ease Of Use And Features

For controls and features, the JBL Charge 5 offers more options while the Bose SoundLink Flex takes a simpler approach.

The Charge 5 has playback buttons right on the speaker, plus LED battery indicators. There’s also a useful JBL Portable app that lets you control playback, customize EQ, link multiple JBL speakers for larger sound, and more.

The SoundLink Flex keeps things straightforward with just power, volume, play/pause, and Bluetooth buttons on the speaker itself. There’s no companion app or EQ settings to bother with. Bose’s philosophy here seems to be keeping operation as simple as possible.

Both speakers have built-in voice assistants activated by pushing a dedicated button. You can access Siri or Google Assistant for hands-free commands. But only the Charge 5 offers access to Amazon Alexa as another option.

One neat extra for the SoundLink Flex is PositionIQ – sensors automatically optimize audio output based on the orientation of the speaker. So, if you flip it on its side, sound profile adjusts so you don’t lose any audio fidelity. It’s a clever feature Bose pioneered for their portable line.

Price And Value

The JBL Charge 5 retails for $179.95 USD while the Bose SoundLink Flex carries an MSRP of $149.95.

At first glance, the Bose holds a clear price advantage. But when you factor in the Charge 5’s significantly longer battery life, higher power and volume capabilities, and inclusion of the Alexa voice assistant, it delivers excellent value for money.

The SoundLink Flex keeps pricing competitive and offers beautiful lifelike sound in a compact rectangular design. But you are getting less power, volume, and battery stamina for your money compared to the JBL.

Considering its impressive audio performance, 20+ hour battery, and IP67 waterproof/dustproof rating, the Charge 5 represents one of the best value propositions available in this category. The added perks like JBL’s companion app, PartyBoost speaker linking, and access to Alexa make it an even more well-rounded package overall.

Also watch the video!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are JBL speakers better than Bose?

Generally, JBL speakers emphasize louder volume and bigger bass than Bose, which focuses more on balanced lifelike sound. However, both brands make excellent speakers. The right choice comes down to listening preferences and use cases.

What is the ranking of the Bose SoundLink Flex?

The SoundLink Flex is among Bose’s top-rated portable Bluetooth speakers. Reviewers praise its sleek, lightweight design along with clear, natural audio performance. It ranks just below larger Bose models like the SoundLink Revolve in overall quality.

What is louder than JBL Charge 5?

Some portable Bluetooth speakers that play louder than the Charge 5 include the JBL Xtreme 3, JBL Boombox 2, Sony XB33, and Ultimate Ears Hyperboom. But the Charge 5 can still reach up to 90+ decibels for potent sound in this size class.

Does the Charge 5 sound better than flip 6?

Yes, the JBL Charge 5 delivers noticeably better sound quality and higher maximum volume than the smaller Flip 6. The Charge 5 has greater power output, larger drivers, and a fuller frequency range leading to superior bass and clarity. But the Flip 6 is a more affordable ultra-portable option.

Also Read: Differences Between JBL Boombox 3 And Xtreme 3.

The Verdict

The JBL Charge 5 and Bose SoundLink Flex both deliver impressive audio and build quality in convenient portable designs.

For those seeking booming bass and loud max volume to rock out anywhere, the Charge 5 is easily the better choice. It packs far more power into a compact chassis while still reaching 20+ hours of battery life.

However, listeners wanting a rich, balanced sound at more moderate volumes will be very happy with the lifelike audio the SoundLink Flex provides. It’s not as feature-packed but nails the basics with its sleek look, sturdy feel, and positional sensors.

Ultimately, let your personal listening preferences and budget guide you toward the right speaker. With their latest models, JBL and Bose have created two stellar options for enjoying your music out loud wherever life takes you.

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