With so much choice on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for a Bluetooth speaker. Featuring heavily on many “best of” lists are the JBL Flip 4 and Flip 5. 

At a glance, these two models aren’t too dissimilar, aside from the improved sound quality of the JBL 5. You might find yourself wondering if the latest model is really worth the extra cost, and hopefully this article will provide the answer for you. 

We’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about these two speakers, including how they compare in terms of their features, sound quality, and durability. 

JBL Flip 4: At a glance

JBL FLIP 4 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Black

  • IPX7 waterproof
  • 3.5 mm audio cable Input
  • 12 hours of playtime 
  • Output power (W) 2 x 8
  • JBL connect+
  • 1.14 pounds
  • 3.5 hr charge time 
  • Speakerphone
  • Voice Assistant integration

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JBL FLIP 4 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Black
  • Wirelessly connect up to 2 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing impressive stereo sound
  • Built-in 3000mAh rechargeable li-ion battery Supports up to 12 hours of playtime
  • Ipx7 waterproof means no more worrying about rain or spills; you can even submerge flip 4 in water
  • JBL connect+ allows you to Link more than 100 JBL connect+ enabled speakers together to amplify the party
  • Dual external passive radiators demonstrate just how powerful your speaker is

JBL Flip 5: At a glance

JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Bundle with divvi! Protective Hardshell Case - Black

  • IPX7 waterproof 
  • 12 hrs of playtime 
  • Output power (W) 20W RMS
  • 2.5 hrs charge time 
  • JBL PartyBoost 
  • 2.31 pounds

JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Bundle with divvi! Protective Hardshell Case - Black
  • This bundle includes (1) JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker and (1) divvi! Protective Hardshell Case.
  • PartyBoost allows you to pair two JBL PartyBoost–compatible speakers together for stereo sound or link multiple JBL PartyBoost–compatible speakers to pump up your party.
  • Flip 5: Sounds better than ever with tuned JBL signature sound. - Bring the party anywhere with a full 12 hours of playback. - Make a splash with IPX7 waterproof design. - Crank up the fun with PartyBoost.
  • Battery type: Lithium–ion Polymer 17. 28Wh (Equivalent to 3. 6V 4800mAh) - Battery charge time: 2. 5 hours (5V/3A) - Music playtime: up to 12 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)
  • divvi! Hardshell Case: EVA Foam Body protects the FLIP 4 and 5 portable Speakers - Soft velvet lining with nylon strap cradle - Storage compartment keeps accessories neatly organized - Blue Zipper with two pulls fasten case very quickly

Sound quality 

We decided to start with sound quality as this is one of the main reasons why you’re probably considering the Flip 5 over the Flip 4. 

The Flip 5 may only have a single 44mm driver, but it surpasses the Flip 4 in terms of its sophisticated sound and better frequency response thanks to its extra 4W output. 

So what does it sound like? The Flip 5 is loud and crystal clear, with excellent openness and acoustics and pounding bass that doesn’t compromise the speaker’s mid-range twinkle. 

You’ll notice the difference between the two if you listen to not only a lot of music but radio and podcasts, too. The mid-range and highs are forward in the mix which allows vocals to stand out. 

Even though the Flip 4 offers two drivers and has plenty of powerful sound, it just doesn’t have a sound as agile as the Flip 5’s. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Flip 5 is a mono speaker, while the Flip 4, with its two drivers, is a stereo speaker, so if left/right sound separation is important to you, the Flip 4 may be a more sensible choice. 

Overall though, the Flip 5’s improved clarity across the frequency spectrum makes it a clear winner in terms of sound quality. 

Sound quality winner: Flip 5 

Battery life 

While the Flip 5 has a larger battery capacity than the Flip 4 (4800mAh vs 3000mAh), both speakers provide 12 hours of playback, so you’d expect more from the newer model at first.

However, the reason for the unextended battery life is that the Flip 5 outputs more power – 20W compared to the Flip 4’s 16W, so this eats up more battery. 

To compensate for this JBL has equipped the FLIP 5 with a super quick charge time, allowing it to go from flat to full in just 2.5 hours, while the Flip 4 will take an hour longer at around 3.5 hours to fully charge.

There’s not too much difference between these two speakers in terms of their battery life, but the FLIP 5 has the edge ever so slightly. 

Battery life winner: Flip 5 

Durability 

You can rest assured that both of these speakers have a fully durable build that will withstand a day at the beach and the odd drop. The Flip 4 and Flip 5 are both IPX7 rated, meaning they can be submerged in water at a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes. 

However, the Flip 5 offers the advantage of being able to float on water, so it’s a better choice for pool parties and boat trips.

Durability winner: Flip 5 

Portability and design 

Both of these speakers are similar in shape and size, but the Flip 4 is ever so slightly smaller and lighter, at 515g to the Flip 5’s 540g. However, you can still easily place either one in a backpack, so this isn’t a defining characteristic in our opinion. 

When it comes to design, the Flip 5 definitely goes the extra mile, offering 11 bright colors to the Flip 4’s 6. If you’re somebody who loves customization, you’ll be pleased to know that the Flip 5 can be personalized with text, stickers, and images using JBL’s ‘Design Your Own’ feature.

Portability and design winner: draw 

Features 

While the Flip 5 is supposedly a step up from the Flip 4, it actually has fewer features. The Flip 5 doesn’t have an analog aux input for wired listening, voice assistant integration, or the noise-canceling microphone for hands-free calls, whereas the Flip 4 has all of these. 

As we said in the ‘sound quality’ section, the Flip 4 has two drivers for stereo sound, whereas the Flip 5 is a mono speaker, so if you’re somebody who prefers stereo sound (ie. left and right), you might see the Flip 4 as a better option. 

The two speakers also offer different options in terms of audio boosting, as the Flip 4 has a ‘Connect+’ button, whereas the Flip 5 is equipped with PartyBoost.

Connect+ is seen in older JBL models as well as the Charge 4 and Xtreme 2, and it basically means you can link up compatible speakers so that they play the same song simultaneously, or play a song in stereo, while generally boosting the sound. 

PartyBoost is a newer technology that is found on the Flip 5 and Pulse 4, and it basically does the same thing, so you can achieve stereo sound by pairing two Flip 5 speakers.

PartyBoost also allows you to daisy-chain 100+ PartyBoost-compatible speakers to create a sound that will most definitely land you a visit from the authorities. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that you can’t pair the Flip 4 with the Flip 5, as the former uses Connect+, while the latter uses PartyBoost, so the two are not compatible.

Therefore, if you have a JBL speaker already and want to have the option of boosting your sound for BBQs and parties, it may be a good idea to go for the Flip that offers the same pairing technology as your current speaker.

Though if it’s your first JBL speaker, it’s also worth noting that future models are more likely to have PartyBoost rather than Connect+. 

Both the Flip 4 and Flip 5 have rubberized buttons and volume adjustment, and both can be controlled through the JBL Connect app.

In terms of overall features, Flip 4 comes out on top. It’s got more features for a start, and also doubles as a speakerphone so you can take your calls hands-free, while the Flip 5 does not offer this. 

Features winner: Flip 4 

Price

The JBL Flip 5 hit stores in August 2019 and was marketed as an update to the JBL Flip 4 with better sound quality. Upon its launch, it sold around $120, but it can now be found closer to the $100 mark. 

The JBL Flip 4 was released back in 2017 and was sold for around $110, but you’ll frequently find it on offer today and will find the Flip 4 for around $80 or less. 

While there’s not too much difference between the prices of these two, the Flip 4 offers more bang for your buck as it has more features. The extra twenty to forty dollars you’ll spend on the Flip 5 go towards the improved sound quality, but not much else. 

Price winner: Flip 4 

Final Verdict: which comes out on top, Flip 4, or Flip 5? 

Overall, the Flip 5 scrapes first position mainly because of its crystal clear sound and clarity across the frequency spectrum. In terms of the other categories such as battery life and durability, the Flip 5 just has the edge, as it has a faster charge up time and the ability to float on water. Both speakers are IPX7 waterproof rated, however. 

It’s also worth noting that the Flip 4 has stereo sound, while the Flip 5 has mono. So if you like to listen in stereo, go with the Flip 4. The Flip 5 offers a much more powerful sound, however. 

The Flip 4 comes pretty close to its successor, and it’s also worth noting that it offers more features for a lower price, such as aux input, a built-in speakerphone, and voice assistance integration. It also offers the same amount of playtime, and while the Flip 5 boasts PartyBoost, the Flip 4 has Connect+, which is pretty much the same thing.

To us, it’s a pretty easy decision. If it’s supreme sound quality and clarity that you’re after, go with the Flip 5. If you’re looking for the maximum amount of features and versatility, and want a speaker that provides great bang for your buck, go for the more affordable Flip 4. 

Last update on 2021-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API