JBL FLIP 5 vs SONY SRS-XB13
JBL Flip 5
This speaker is from the ever-popular JBL Flip series speakers and this is the number 5 that is the JBL Flip 5. This speaker is retailing for around a hundred and twenty dollars which is neither on the higher price side nor on the lower price side. There are few upgrades that have been made in its predecessors but also there are few features that have been dropped out.
The Sony SRS-XB32 is retailing for a budget-friendly price range that is for around a hundred dollars. The price on this is really affordable if you want to get a good portable Bluetooth speaker. The thing which is really attractive on this speaker is that the LEDs on this are really good and I think they do look better but what I’m really hoping is that Sony improved on its audio compared to the last model.
JBL Flip 5
As far as the design and form factor of Flip 5, it is slightly bigger than Flip 4 but it still has the radiators on the side. It has some grooves around those radiators and these are kind of rubber to protect those against. Obviously, you’re going to be using this by the pool or you’re going to be using it on the beach or you’re going to be using it outside, so it’s waterproof to about a feet something like that. So, you are going to be able to throw water over it and get away with it.
It is pretty tough, it’s got the grill going around it like the others which protect the tweeters and stuff inside which is good. It’s pretty rugged, it’s a throw-around job and you’re not going to smash it, you’re not going to break it, it’s still going to work. As far as the buttons, we have a play and pause button, we have an up and down button for obviously increasing and decreasing the volume. Then we have the party boost button there and also, on this device, there is an on and a Bluetooth buttons.
As far as the physical features, first I love the placement of the LEDs, it’s a subtle change but one that looks a bit more modern. If you don’t like the lights for some reason, you can always turn them off. Physically the speaker feels great, it doesn’t feel hollow, doesn’t feel plasticky and cheap, the outside is coated with some sort of thin silicone or what feels to be this rubberized finish. The front is that fabric abrasion-resistant cover protecting the drivers behind it.
Getting a closer look, this is where I was hoping Sony would have in indeed the bunch or clicky and straightforward but some of the essential functions like battery level indicator or pairing to another speaker is hidden behind the flap right there. On a positive note, there is a live button that alters the audio to give you a 3d audio experience. If we rotate it to the rear under that water-resistant flap, you have some of the buttons like you can turn off the LEDs with a button on there, you can also check for battery life and it’s awesome that it’s a verbal command or a verbal gesture, then you have WPC button which stands for wireless party chain where you can sync some of the XB series speakers and have them all play in sync.
Then to the right under the flap is simply the Add button to add one other speaker and you can have both playing in stereo sound. Also, there’s a huge USB port used to charge your devices just like a power bank, and a micro USB to charge this up. The newest port that is the USB-C is the way to future-proof. yourself but you don’t get that here, also there are no quick charging capabilities then the last thing you have there is the 3.5-millimeter port for physical connections.
JBL Flip 5
This speaker has got 12 hours of playtime, it’s an all-weather companion meaning it is waterproof, and it’s also got a JBL party boost. In the box, we get a USB Type-C cable, so that’s for charging, your user manuals, and the speaker itself that comes in a foam type of box. The pairing can also be done via the JBL App which is available either on Google Play Store or the App Store. Unfortunately, the Flip 5 can’t be paired with the previous JBL Flip series, because in Flip 5, JBL has used an updated stereo pairing/”party boost” system. It’s just like the Sony XB23 which can’t be paired with the XB22 and older Sony speakers.
You have got the party boost button in this speaker, which means that you can link a few of these speakers together, so if you’ve got quite a large outdoor space or around the house, you can bang them all together. To pair this with your mobile turn on the power button, it will make some noise to let you know that it is powered on. Then turn on the Bluetooth on this and search for the Flip 5 in your mobile device and you are done. Once you power these on, it lets you know the battery level on this.
The Flip 5 battery is claimed to be able to support music playback for up to 12 hours non-stop, which is the same as the one on Flip 4. Based on the real-world tests, blasting this speaker at 50% volume with continuous music playback, the speaker was able to last for 12 hours 22 minutes. Which is good. So if you play music with a volume above 50%, be aware that the playtime can be less than my test result. If you need it to go louder just get two of them but this goes plenty loud enough and also is throwing out a fair bit of bass in the garden. In the studio, it was a little bit bass lacking but it does the job great, it’s waterproof, you can throw it around and it will be still fine.
Within the Sony Fiestable app, you can change the colors to your liking, you don’t get real in-depth color selection but they’re sure enough though if you want to color coordinate, let’s say with your room and such. As far as the protection, Sony claims this to be dustproof and also shock resistant perfect to bring this along sandy beaches, perfect for your kids to handle they might drop this thing or so but it’s also waterproof with an IP7 rating meaning this can be submerged underwater. With my testing, this thing does float though which is a huge plus and it performs perfectly fine and nothing has been compromised.
One word of caution though, the LED light strip right here is plastic, so if you were to drop this on the edge or so, it does have the potential of potentially breaking, cracking, letting water in, etc. That’s what happened with my other Sony XB speaker that I previously tested a while ago but it’s still functioning perfectly. The driver is still pushing out audio but the LEDs do crack the housing was perfectly fine. The battery life is claimed to be up to 24 hours as per Sony but be careful this is with quote standard mode and lighting off. Sony does disclose though, this speaker can get up to 14 hours with extra bass on and the LEDs blinking away. I did the latter test and it achieved 13 hours and 37 minutes to be exact.
As far as the features offered through their app, the Sony XB32 has a party booster assuming you need to boost your party even further turn this on through their app, and then you can tap on the front, sides, and the bottom of this speaker to create rhythmic beats along your favorite track. Another feature in Sony’s Fiestable app, there’s motion control with your phone some movements can change how you control your music or tapping on illumination there, you can make the lights flash, dim, and such. It works but you have to have that specific app open, if you’re in any other app it won’t work.
JBL Flip 5
As far as the sound quality on this, it’s very mildly, it’s very kind of bright sounding because that’s really picking up where our ears mainly pick the sound up, so around the kind of mids which is a lot. So, pop music and things like that work really well, so if you’re looking for something that’s going to be thundering bass out, I don’t think this is it, you should probably want to go for one of their larger models that are going to have some bigger woofers on it. But just for getting a general sound, outside in a natural environment, it’s got a little bit more bass, it sounds like it’s a little bit clearer, and it sounds like it’s sort of pumping. I think it’s got a really good level sound to it especially, for the money.
As far as the sound quality on this, it does not a huge margin but it doesn’t sound as muffled and recessed, that’s really about it. For a midsize portable Bluetooth speaker, the Sony Xb32 does come through with extra bass, it is not on the level of saying the Harman Kardon Onyx studio for that’s usually plugged into the wall consumes a little bit more power to get that extra thump but it is on par with other midsize Bluetooth speakers. There’s a bit of thump and punch, and it does help quite a bit when you’re enjoying genres of pop, EDM, and hip-hop. Almost it is the busiest portable Bluetooth speaker but not quite. As a pro tip, if you were to put this closer to a wall or a corner of a room the rear roofer in the back helps reflect some bass and improves the experience.