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Bose SoundLink Flex vs JBL Flip 5 (2022): Portable Bluetooth Speaker Comparison

When it comes to audio equipment, Bose and JBL are two of the industry leaders. From professional grade speakers to PA systems, as well as home audio speakers, these two brands have them all. However, in this post, we’ll be taking a look at their top-selling offerings in the portable Bluetooth speaker category, specifically, the Bose SoundLink Flex and the JBL Flip 5. Both are portable, compact and are waterproof, so they are very well suited for outdoor use. But which one is better overall? Below is our JBL Flip 5 and Bose SoundLink Flex review and comparison.

Bose SoundLink Flex vs JBL Flip 5 Comparison Chart

ModelBose SoundLink Flex JBL Flip 5
 
PriceCheck price at AmazonCheck price at Amazon
Dimensions7.9 x 2.1 x 2.9 inches7.1 x 2.7 x 2.9 inches
Weight1.3lbs1.19lbs
ConnectivityBluetoothBluetooth
IP RatingIP67IPX7
BatteryUp to 12 hours
4 hours charging time
Up to 12 hours
2.5 hours charging time
SpeakerphoneYesNo
Multiple Speaker PairingYesYes
Built-in Voice AssistantYesNo
ColorsBlack, Stone Blue, White Smoke14 color options

Design

Both speakers are lightweight and compact for portability.

The Bose SoundLink Flex (left) is shaped like a bar while the JBL Flip 5 (right) is cylindrical.

The two speakers are compact, lightweight and durable, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They both have a tough exterior so they won’t get damaged even when dropped accidentally. Also, they are both waterproof, but only the Bose SoundLink Flex portable Bluetooth speaker is rated for dust resistance. It is mostly covered by silicone rubber and it also has steel grilles for protection. On the other hand, the JBL Flip 5 has a tightly-wrapped fabric that protects its internals. When it comes to build quality, both speakers shine.

Both speakers are wide, but they are still easy to carry or stuff in a bag. The Bose SoundLink Flex measures 7.9 x 2.1 x 2.9 inches and it weighs 1.3lbs. The JBL Flip 5, on the other hand, measures 7.1 x 2.7 x 2.9 inches and it weighs 1.19lbs. They are quite similar in size, and you won’t have any trouble hand carrying them since they are lightweight. Bonus points for the Bose SoundLink Flex as it has a built-in strap that you can use to attach it to your belt or your bag.

When it comes to personalization, the JBL Flip 5 has an advantage since you can get it in several color options—14, to be exact. You can get it in black, black camo, blue, white and more. Meanwhile, the Bose SoundLink Flex is available in three colors—black, stone blue and white smoke.

Features

The two speakers have a multi-speaker pairing feature, but the Bose SoundLink Flex also has a built-in mic.

A look at the Bose SoundLink Flex (left) and the JBL Flip 5 (right) in a different angle.

Both speakers can be paired with most speakers in their respective brands’ lineup. With Bose SimpleSync, the SoundLink Flex can be paired with another SoundLink Flex or other Bose Bluetooth speakers. You can also connect it with Bose smart soundbars. Meanwhile, the JBL Flip 5 comes with JBL PartyBoost, allowing you to connect it with other speakers that have the same connection protocol. That said, multi-speaker pairing is about the only feature that they share.

The Bose SoundLink Flex, in addition to having the ability to pair with other Bose Bluetooth speakers, also has a speakerphone function and a built-in microphone for voice controls. These features are not available on the JBL Flip 5.

Check out our Beats Pill vs JBL Flip 5 comparison here

Performance

The two speakers sound alike, but the Bose SoundLink has a more accurate frequency response.

Both speakers can be used outdoors near water sources since they are both water resistant.

Portable Bluetooth speakers, at least the latest models, can produce good sound, as long as you temper your expectations and you don’t expect them to be on par with HiFi speakers. The Bose SoundLink Flex and the JBL Flip 5 both pack powerful and rich sound, considering that they are quite small.

Their sound profiles are quite similar. They both have a balanced mid-range for vocal clarity and they have a slightly boomy bass. However, since these are small speakers, they can’t really produce enough low end for bass-centric music. Also, the highs are slightly recessed, so there are missing details when listening to music with a lot going on in the high frequency range. That said, the Bose SoundLink Flex has a slightly more accurate frequency response.

Battery

They have the same battery life, but the JBL Flip 5 takes less time to get fully charged.

Both Bluetooth speakers can be placed vertically or horizontally.

The Bose SoundLink Flex and JBL Flip 5 both have a rated battery life of up to 12 hours. However, it takes a bit more time to fully charge the Bose speaker, 4 hours to be exact. Meanwhile, the JBL Flip 5 takes around 2.5 hours to get fully charged from an empty state.

Both speakers have a USB-C port, so you can use cables that you are already using with some of your USB-C devices.

Verdict

The JBL Flip 5 is cheaper, but the Bose SoundLink Flex offers more features.

Bose SoundLink Flex

Has speakerphone & voice assistant

JBL Flip 5

Has better sound quality

Choosing between the Bose SoundLink Flex and JBL Flip 5 will come down to whether you want the features of the former or the better sound quality of the latter. The Bose SoundLink Flex is a bit more expensive, but it does offer a speakerphone function and voice controls. If you don’t need the said features, you might be happier with the JBL Flip 5, which is a bit cheaper, but offers the same good sound quality.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the JBL Flip 5 have good bass?

Yes, for a portable Bluetooth speaker, it has good bass. However, it does struggle with low bass, which is understandable since it has a compact form factor.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long does it take to charge Bose SoundLink Flex?

It takes around 4 hours to fully charge the Bose SoundLink Flex.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is there a Bose SoundLink Flex case available for purchase?

Yes, there are plenty of third party cases that you can purchase for the Bose SoundLink Flex. This is a good one from co2CREA.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can the JBL Flip 5 be used as a speakerphone?

No, it doesn’t have that feature.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.