JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5: What are the key differences?

This article aims to compare the JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5. If you’re in the market for a quality portable speaker, you can’t go wrong with JBL. The JBL Flip 4 and Flip 5 are both top-grade speakers, and they come with a lot of cool features. But what is the difference between the two?

At first glance, the JBL Flip 4 and the Flip 5 look very much alike. It’s only when you take a closer look “under the hood” that the differences become evident. If you would like to get a better sense of these two products, you’re in the right place.

JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5: Where to Start?

If you’re like me, you like a good home system – nice and clunky. But nice and clunky doesn’t  leave the house easily. So I found myself searching for a good portable speaker for all those times I’m not home. I sat down and did my research, as I always do before purchasing.

My goal here is to pack everything I learned into one article so that you don’t have to invest time in researching. Let’s take a look at the basic features of the JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5.

Knowing a thing or two about speakers, I knew JBL was the right choice. JBL is a long-standing brand name and pioneer in the world of audio equipment. It unfailingly rolls with the times and is always on the forefront, offering users the best there is to find.

I narrowed my choices down to JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5. They’re both Bluetooth wireless speakers that are (get this) waterproof! They offer a great quality sound, long-lasting batteries, fast charging times, and aren’t that expensive.

Below, you’ll find a chart offering a comparison of their features.

JBL Flip 4VSJBL Flip 5
Waterproof
1.13 lbsWeight1.2 lbs
2.67 x 6.88 x 2.75Dimensions (in)7.12 x 2.91 x 2.71
4.2Bluetooth4.2
2 x 8 W (stereo sound)Power Output20 W (mono sound)
70 Hz – 20 kHzFrequency Response65 Hz – 20k Hz
3,000mAhBattery capacity4,800mAh
12 hrsAdvertised Play Time12 hrs (I’ve read reports of 10 hrs)
3.5 hrsCharging time2.5 hrs
Auto-power off
3.5mm Audio Jack
Voice Assistant integration
Microphone
PartyBoost
JBL Connect+
Wi-Fi
One of the better-sounding speakers on the market when it comes to portable speakers.My opinionA better bass, treble, and overall sound than its predecessor.

JBL Flip 4

The JBL Flip 4 was released in 2017 but don’t let its age fool you. It’s still at the top of the list when it comes to wireless speakers. It comes in six colors and is a bit smaller than the JBL Flip 5. Nevertheless, its casing is just as durable as the later model and waterproof. That means no spills or rain can stop you. JBL says you even can submerge it for half an hour (but I wouldn’t).

It outputs 2 x 8 W of power, meaning it’s a stereo speaker system in design. Its sound is crisp and even and reproduces spoken voices excellently. You can pair it with Siri or Google Now, answer calls, and pair it with more than 100 other JBL Connect+ speakers (to really get the party started).

You can also connect your JBL Flip 4 using a regular 3.5mm audio jack, adding a feature not found in the later model.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Stereo sound
  • Price
  • Connectivity

Cons:

  • Longer charge time
  • Lower power output
  • Smaller frequency range

JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 5 was released in 2019. It’s essentially an upgrade of the previous model, more evolution than revolution. The key difference is that it’s a mono speaker, though more powerful than its predecessor.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Quick charge
  • Higher power output
  • Larger frequency range

Cons:

  • Price tag
  • No voice assistant
  • Fewer connectivity options

Related Read: JBL Charge 4 vs Flip 5: Which bluetooth speaker is better?

Features Face to Face

Design and build

JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 Color Palette Comparison
JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 Color Palette Comparison

You can choose one of six colors when buying the JBL Flip 4, while the Flip 5 comes in eleven colors, one of them camouflage.

Winner: JBL Flip 5 

Size and weight

One of the first features when choosing a portable speaker is its size and weight. The JBL Flip 4 (1.13 lbs) is only slightly lighter than the Flip 5 (1.2 lbs). The Flip 4 (2.67 x 6.88 x 2.75 in) is also slightly smaller than the Flip 5 (7.12 x 2.91 x 2.71 in).

Winner: JBL Flip 4

Durability

Both are in the same type of casing, regardless of their slightly different designs. The casings are IPX7 waterproof. You can submerge them up to three feet (for up to 30 minutes), and they’ll still function. The same wire mesh design encases both devices, contributing to their durability. The rubber caps over the exterior passive radiators are the same on both devices.

Winner: Draw

Buttons

JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 Buttons Comparison
JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 Buttons Comparison

You’ll notice their buttons are almost identical, but not quite. Both have the Play and Volume Up and Volume Down buttons on the wire mesh. The JBL Flip 4 has its Bluetooth button as the fourth button on the wire mesh, while the Flip 5 has its PartyBoost button here instead.

The JBL Flip 5 has an extra twist to its play button function. You can use it to answer calls or activate Siri and Google Assistant.

You’ll locate the power button on the plastic bar of both devices. The Flip 4 has the JBL Connect+ button next to it, while the Flip 5 has its Bluetooth button here. The connectors are next to these.

Winner: The JBL Flip 5 has more responsive buttons, making it the winner here.

Connectors (and connectivity)

The JBL Flip 4 features a Micro USB port and a 3.5mm audio jack, with a rubber cover for protection. The Flip 5 has a USB-C port, no audio jack, and no cover to protect it (not a feature I favor).

Winner: JBL Flip 5

Battery indicators

You’ll see a solid LED light indicator that fades as the battery gets weaker between the USB-C port and the buttons on the Flip 5. The Flip 4 has a row of LED lights indicating the battery level. They’re located between the Power and JBL Connect+ buttons.

Winner: JBL Flip 4 (in my opinion)

JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5: Key Features

Battery power and run time

The capacity of the JBL Flip 4’s battery (3,000mAh) is less than that of the Flip 5 (4,800mAh). Due to the Power Output difference, they have the same advertised run time. JBL says they can both run for 12 hours at full volume, though I’ve read that it’s actually 10 hours for the Flip 5.

Winner: JBL Flip 4

Battery charge time

The Flip 4 has a classic Micro USB port, and it will take you 3.5 hours to charge it back up to full capacity. The Flip 5’s USB-C port empowers you with a quicker charge. You’ll be enjoying your music again in 2.5 hours.

Winner: JBL Flip 5

Connectivity

JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 Connectivity
JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 Connectivity

Here’s where things start to vary much more. Both have Bluetooth 4.2 support. The thing I love about the Flip 4 is the 3.5mm audio connector. Not that it’s essential, but I do like the option. Some devices (I still own) don’t have Bluetooth, and this audio jack is a great addition to have.

You can pair both the JBL Flip 4 and Flip 5 with other speakers but not with each other. This is because they do this using different protocols.

The Flip 4 uses Connect+ (remember the button), while the Flip 5 uses PartyBoost. Connect+ allows you to pair the Flip 4 with more than a hundred compatible speakers. The Flip 5 uses a newer protocol called PartyBoost. This allows you to pair two (viola stereo sound) or more speakers.

Take this into account when purchasing if you have any pairable devices to keep the option open (or prepare to be frustrated).

Winner: JBL Flip 4

Sound quality

Certainly not least – sound quality. When I’m buying a speaker, I think only about the sound. And I always opt for better quality. No doubt. You can bet that you won’t regret it sound-wise, whichever of these two you choose. Yet, sound can be a subjective issue, and this case is no exception.

The Flip 4 comes with two 44mm drivers, while the Flip 5 has one. On paper, it sounds like the Flip 4 is a better option. It has a frequency range of 70 Hz to 20 kHz. The audio quality is crisp and even, offering a great sound when playing spoken voices. It’s not a mystery why it consistently ranks at the top of the Bluetooth speaker market.

So, what about the Flip 5? Even though it has one driver, it offers a wider frequency range than the Flip 4 (65 Hz to 20 kHz). You also get an extra 4W of power compared to the Flip 4. This will give you bigger, louder, and clearer sounds, especially the bass (who doesn’t love a good bass).

Though most say the Flip 5 offers better quality sound, I always opt for a stereo speaker over a mono speaker. This is not the case when choosing a speaker encased in a monoblock unit like with portable speakers. Stereo sound loses its effect if coming from a single source. So, since the Flip 5 offers better sound, it’s the definite choice in this regard.

Winner: JBL Flip 5

Portability

Both devices are pretty lightweight and relatively small in size, and both are easy to carry. They have built-in hooks through which you can attach a strap for extra safety.

Winner: Draw

JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5: Standout Features

PartyBoost protocol

Is a cool feature of the JBL Flip 5, but it doesn’t offer much that their previous technology (Connect+) didn’t. All you’re left with is the inability to pair these two generations of devices to each other.

Access to voice assistant

JBL Flip 4 takes the cake here. I’m not sure why this option was not included in the Flip 5. I’m guessing it had something to do with removing the microphone because of water resistance.

Winner: JBL Flip 4

Price

When the JBL Flip 5 came out, the price tag was significantly higher than the Flip 4. Nowadays, they’re very close. I’ve noticed the Flip 5 camouflage model tends to be higher priced than those in other colors. Apart from that, the price difference is not that significant to persuade you either way.

Winner: Draw

Also Read: Ultimate Ears Boom 3 vs JBL Charge 4 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to shut off or turn down the volume of the start-up noise?

Yes. Follow the steps below.

  1. Download the JBL Portable App from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store (depending on your device)
  2. Update Firmware
  3. Turn the feature off in the app

Can I turn off the “connecting sound”?

Yes. Follow the first two steps in the previous question and then disable it using the app.

Conclusion

The JBL Flip 4 vs Flip 5 was a tough choice to make. The Flip 4 offers some great features that were removed in the previous model, like voice assistant access and the 3.5mm jack adding definite value to this purchase.

On the other hand, the Flip 5 offers a much better sound quality with more power. And, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t get true stereo sound in a monoblock speaker, so if it’s sound you’re after (like me), JBL Flip 5 is the right choice, especially since its price has dropped.

Also Read: JBL Xtreme 2 vs Xtreme 3: Which is better for you?

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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