In the case of rugged, transportable, no-nonsense Bluetooth speakers, some product traces have persistently impressed us beneath evaluate. JBL’s Cost is pretty much as good an instance as any, and so the actual fact it’s now coming into its fifth technology is massive information. Anybody searching for substantial on-the-go sound from one thing roughly the burden and measurement of a bottle of wine ought to take word.
The brand new JBL Cost 5 is, the US audio specialist claims, much more sturdy and higher sounding than the 4 Prices earlier than it. Its predecessor carried an IPX7 ranking, that means it might deal with being submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m, however the IP67-rated Cost 5 builds on that sturdiness by additionally being absolutely dustproof.
The long-lasting aesthetic, out there in eight completely different finishes together with our evaluate pattern’s navy blue, has been tweaked to introduce a bolder JBL brand and an additional dollop of rubberised reinforcements, too. So, is the Cost simply as recommendable as ever in its newest guise?
Construct and options
Sitting our Cost 5 pattern subsequent to its older sibling, the Charge 4, we play a fast sport of spot the distinction. The emblem is now greater however seems classier and fewer like a badge than the branding on its predecessor, with easy metallic accents across the letters fairly than a block body.
The rubberised underbody now contains pleasing diagonal traces for traction once you set it down, as first seen on the Go 3, fairly than a block of opaque rubber.
Gone is the three.5mm port for wired listening, and the brand new USB-C charging port is uncovered this time. Beneath a smaller rubber cap, you continue to get the helpful USB-A port for utilizing the Cost 5 to cost your units.
JBL Cost 5 tech specs
Battery life 20 hours
Bluetooth model 5.1
Dimensions (hwd) 22 x 9.6 x 9.4cm
The ends of the Cost 5’s trademark barrel-like bodywork boast a barely extra sturdy rubberised reinforcement, whereas the speaker itself is a complete 1mm taller, 2mm deeper, 3mm wider and 5g heavier than its older brother – though there’s little in that to the bare eye.
Beneath the hood, nevertheless, are loads of enhancements. The 52 x 90mm bass driver is a few millimetres wider than earlier than, and there’s a brand new 20mm tweeter. These items each have devoted energy amplification – 30W for the woofer and 10W for the highs. There may be additionally Bluetooth 5.1 fairly than 4.2, however the identical 7500mAh battery presents the identical 20 hours of playback from a single cost.
The Cost 5 now incorporates a JBL PartyBoost button on the management panel on prime of the speaker, too, the place the Join+ button sits on the Cost 4. JBL’s up to date daisy-chaining tech means you possibly can beef up your transportable sound by linking the Cost 5 with as much as 100 different PartyBoost enabled JBL Bluetooth choices, though that’s at the moment restricted to the Boombox 2, Flip 5 and Pulse 4. What you possibly can’t do is hyperlink the Cost 5 to the older Cost 4, or any older Join+ enabled JBL audio system for that matter.
There may be help for the Cost 5 on the JBL Moveable app, previously known as JBL Join. It’s good for firmware updates and to deploy PartyBoost out of your telephone, the place different app-supported JBL audio system (together with the Flip 5) will seem able to hyperlink. With one other Cost 5, you possibly can create a stereo pair by toggling throughout from “Social gathering” (mono sound) to Stereo when hitting the PartyBoost button, however the app is in any other case fundamental and doesn’t supply something by means of EQ optimisation.
Leaving the app, we press the PartyBoost button on the Cost 5, then on our Flip 5, and sound dutifully comes from each, clearly and with no notable lag. It’s a neat characteristic, though some present JBL house owners could also be irked by PartyBoost’s incapacity to play properly with the older Join+ tech.
We cue up Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ on Tidal and the Cost 5’s additional ounce of prowess over the Cost 4 reveals itself. It’s a reasonably minor improve, however the hip-hop riff intro is marginally extra impactful – the main edges of notes by the low finish are crisper, leading to a extra agile efficiency. Vocals are additionally extra energised and really feel well-placed in what’s an expansive combine for a conveyable speaker of this measurement.
Erykah Badu’s voice in Tyrone is emotive and as a lot celebrated by the treble frequencies as by her juicy decrease registers. The strolling bass guitar that underpins the monitor feels three-dimensional and is only one of a number of devices held in examine, alongside whoops from the gang and occasional drum fills inside a cohesive combine.
Bowed strings in British Sea Energy’s melancholy soundscape, Tiger King, are detailed and correct across the monitor’s sporadic cymbals and drum crashes, proving the Cost 5 is able to delicacy and nuance in addition to oomph and bass clout.
Any brightness within the Cost 5’s new tweeter melts away as soon as the speaker is run in, leaving solely cleaner, clearer treble frequencies. Prince’s vocal in Generally It Snows In April veers between his trademark head and chest voices and each are equally as impactful by the Cost 5, alongside the pared-back keys and guitar. Feminine backing vocals within the later choruses are as current and as ethereal as Prince supposed.
The Cost 5 is at the moment pretty much as good a sound as you may get in a portable Bluetooth speaker design for beneath £200 ($200, AU$300). It boasts marginal enhancements, each sonically and aesthetically, over its predecessor, the five-star Charge 4. At some point JBL might produce a Cost that may be outdone by a brand new and plucky rival, however relaxation assured, that has not occurred but with the fairly splendid Cost 5.
Learn our information to the best Bluetooth speakers
Learn our JBL Flip 5 review