5 Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Charge at All Costs

JBL Charge 4 vs Flip 5

5 Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Charge at All Costs

Key Points

  • The JBL Charge 5 is bigger and bulkier than rival portable Bluetooth speakers.
  • At $179.95, the JBL Charge 5 is a lot more expensive than the competition.
  • There are limited audio customizations available with the JBL Charge.

Thinking about buying a JBL Charge portable Bluetooth speaker? You aren’t wrong for finding them appealing. They’re incredibly popular and look quite appealing. However, don’t head to the checkout just yet. Not until you find out all there is to know about the product. Though the Charge product line has plenty to love about it, there are some seriously concerning factors that might deter you from purchasing. Let’s take a closer look at these five reasons to avoid a new JBL Charge today.

5 Must-Know Facts About the JBL Charge

  • The Charge 5 is the latest in a long line of portable Bluetooth speakers from JBL. The Charge product line began in 2013 and is known for its powerful, high-quality sound.
  • Charge 5 speakers offer up to 20 hours of continuous playtime. Conveniently, the speaker also comes with a charging port and power bank for your smartphones or other devices. 
  • The JBL Charge 5 has an IP67 rating, which means it is both water and dust-proof. Combining this with a rugged, durable design, the Charge 5 speakers are made to withstand various conditions.
  • Internally, the Charge 5 boasts a built-in oval-shaped driver and two bass radiators that deliver punchy and dynamic sound. You can also connect multiple JBL Charge 5 speakers for a surround-sound experience.
  • The JBL Charge 5 allows you to play music via Bluetooth or USB. This unique feature means you can connect a phone or flash drive to the USB port in addition to connecting wirelessly.

JBL Charge Specs

Latest ModelCharge 5
Battery Life20 hours
Charge Time4 hours
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.1
Bluetooth ProfilesA2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6
Size8.7 in. x 3.76 in. x 3.67 in.
ColorsBlue, Red, Grey, Teal, Camo, Black

The History of the JBL Charge

The JBL Charge series has grown tremendously since its inception in 2013. The latest model, the JBL Charge 5, represents close to a decade of portable Bluetooth speaker innovation. It all began with the original JBL Charge — a powerful, compact Bluetooth speaker unlike much else on the market at the time. The speaker quickly gained popularity for its impressive sound quality and built-in USB port and power bank. Not many rival products could match these specs, allowing it to become a bestseller in no time.

The JBL Charge 2 emerged the following year with several key improvements. This included enhanced battery life, more powerful sound output, and a built-in speakerphone feature for hands-free calling. The JBL Charge 2 also introduced Social Mode, enabling multiple users to connect their devices simultaneously and take turns playing music. All of these features are essential components of the JBL Charge 5 today.

The JBL Charge 3 arrived in 2016, further refining the series’ capabilities with a new waterproof design. making it suitable for outdoor adventures. The JBL Charge 3 also introduced JBL Connect, another key feature that allows users to connect multiple JBL speakers wirelessly for a synchronized audio experience. It also boasted battery life to 20 hours of playtime, a spec that has carried over from the Charge 3 to the Charge 4 and now the Charge 5. But are these features enough to make the high price point worth it? Perhaps not. Let’s review the reasons to avoid a new JBL Charge today.

The JBL Charge Portable Speaker

  1. JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof
    • 20 hours of playtime
    • Noise- and echo-canceling speakerphone
    • Connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker via Bluetooth
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  2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof
    • 20 hours of playtime
    • IPX7 Waterproof
    • Balanced sound
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    01/16/2024 10:33 am GMT
  3. JBL Charge 4 Waterproof
    • Bluetooth streaming
    • U to 20 hours of playtime
    • IPX7 waterproof
    • Durable
    • Dual passive radiators
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    01/16/2024 10:33 am GMT
  4. JBL Charge 5
    • Features a long excursion driver, separate tweeter, and dual JBL bass radiators
    • Up to 20 hours of playtime
    • IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating
    • PartyBoost feature
    • Built-in power bank
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    01/16/2024 10:47 am GMT

Why Avoid a New JBL Charge?

If your heart is set on a new JBL Charge, then these considerations might not be deal breakers for you. However, they still deserve to be addressed. In the end, your decision will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and specific requirements for a portable speaker. For this reason, considering these factors will help you make the most informed choice possible. You might be able to look past these qualms, but you should nevertheless be aware of them before buying.

Bulky Size

Despite how it’s marketed, the JBL Charge is not exactly tiny. JBL leans into the portability of the Charge, but the truth is that the speaker is a lot larger and heavier compared to rival speakers on the market. The Charge 5 weighs in at over two pounds, and it’s nearly nine inches long to boot. It’s hardly the most portable, compact Bluetooth speaker available. Whether carried in hand or in a bag, you might notice the Charge weighing you down.

High Cost

Price is another reason to avoid a new JBL Charge. This line of products is not exactly the most affordable on the market. The Charge 5 costs nearly $180, which is significantly more than some rival portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. Sure, you could argue JBL charges so much to deliver top audio quality and dependable battery life. But, not everyone can justify paying that kind of money for a simple speaker, no matter the audio or battery specs.

Too Much Bass

All too often, we see supposedly high-quality speaker brands confusing good audio with a bass-heavy sound. JBL is not immune to these charges. While some people appreciate the powerful bass of the JBL Charge 5, it can be quite overpowering. If you prefer a more balanced audio experience (or if you listen to music genres where the bass is not as prominent), then you may not like the bass-heavy sound of the Charge.

Limited Audio Customization

True audio aficionados know the value of good audio customizations. As it turns out, the default just doesn’t always do the trick. If you’re someone who likes to adjust the levels of your sound, then the JBL Charge might not be for you. The Charge 5 lacks even the most basic audio customization features or even simple presets.

New Model Coming Soon

Considering how frequently JBL updates its Charge product line, there’s reason to believe a new JBL Charge model should be coming soon. Consider this: New versions of the Charge emerge every two or three years, and the Charge 5 came out in 2021. While there’s no official word from JBL just yet, all signs point to a new Charge 6 in 2023 or 2024. If you’re still considering a JBL Charge after all these downsides mentioned above, then at least think about waiting to purchase until the new model drops.

Red JBL Charge with red background.
The JBL Charge product line is due for a new model sometime in the next year.

In Review: Reasons to Avoid a New JBL Charge

As you can see, it’s so important to weigh the pros and cons of the JBL Charge before making your purchase. While the product line boasts impressive sound quality, rugged design, and long battery life, it’s far from a perfect product. These downsides could convince you to explore alternative options. Size, weight, cost, bass levels… all are key factors deserving of your attention.

Let’s review the five reasons to avoid a new JBL Charge below.

  • The Charge 5 is bigger and bulkier than rival portable Bluetooth speakers
  • At $179.95, the JBL Charge 5 is a lot more expensive than the competition
  • The bass-heavy sound of the JBL Charge won’t appeal to all
  • There are limited audio customizations available with the JBL Charge
  • Based on past release schedules, there could be a new JBL Charge model worth waiting for

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the JBL Charge's battery last?

The JBL Charge offers a battery life of up to 20 hours. However, this battery life will vary depending on a few factors, such as volume levels, device charging, and even weather conditions. Recharging is relatively lengthy, taking four hours to return to 100% from 0%.

Is the JBL Charge waterproof?

Yes, the JBL Charge carries a water and dust-proof rating of IP67. This makes it ideal for some of the most common weather conditions and terrains. Whether you’re by the pool, at the beach, or caught in the rain, your JBL Charge shouldn’t get damaged.

Can you link multiple JBL Charge speakers?

Yes, you can connect multiple JBL Charge speakers together with the JBL Connect feature. This allows you to link multiple compatible speakers wirelessly to create a bigger sound experience or multi-room setup.

What can you charge with a JBL Charge?

The JBL Charge comes with a built-in power bank feature with a USB port. Anything with a USB charger — from your smartphone to your tablet to your wireless earbuds and beyond — should be able to get power from the Charge.

Does the JBL Charge have a built-in smart assistant?

No, the JBL Charge does not have built-in voice assistant integration. However, it does offer seamless Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect your smartphone or other smart assistant devices to the speaker and communicate with the assistant that way.

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