JBL Charge 5 Review Tomorrowland Limited Edition Bluetooth Speaker

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

A win-win collab between Tomorrowland (fashion brand) and JBL who join forces for a special limited edition of JBL's original Charge 5 bluetooth speaker!
 The JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition is a smaller version of the new JBL Boombox 3 Wifi. The enclosure is covered with thick fabric mesh and rubberized at the ends with thick protruding rubber to protect the passive radiators. The bottom of the Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition speaker is flat and features a rubber strip section (8cm long) which is glued onto the fabric mesh to help anchor the speaker and prevent it sliding off and rolling off of a desk. On top of the speaker, there are physical rubber buttons (also glued onto the fabric) for controlling play/pause, track skip to next, volume up and volume down.

The Charge 5 bluetooth speaker features JBL branding logo on the front of the speaker (above the battery status led) and Tomorrowland butterfly logo on the front of the passive radiators. The JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition speaker is weighty (972 grams) and pretty sizeable, measuring 24.5cm long and 8cm in diameter.

Inside the enclosure, there is a bluetooth 5.1 chip (supports SBC only), 7500 mAh rechargeable battery (takes 4 hrs to charge), large woofer driver (handles midrange and bass frequencies) and tweeter, which handles the higher frequencies. The bass driver and tweeter have a total output power of 30 watts RMS. The JBL Charge 5 is 10 watts more powerful than the JBL Charge 4. There is absolute bluetooth volume support so, you can control the volume of the speaker from the connected device - handy when the Charge 5 is connected to a smartphone.
The JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition has unique looks for sure with bold black/gold accents and an inverted bow style enclosure, which makes the bottom sides of the speaker rise above the centre of the speaker. The JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition speaker sound signature is V-shaped so, the midrange (vocals and instruments) fall behind the bass and treble which are more elevated. 

There is equalizer (EQ) support via the JBL Portable app for some additional tweaking and control the amount of bass too. The speaker produces good sound fidelity at lower volumes too (~60%). You can achieve up to 20 hours battery life without any EQ tweaking) and setting volume at 60%. Boosting the bass and volume decreases the battery life. The JBL Portable app works nice and has a clean interface.
Potential deal breakers facing the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition include no microphone for calls, no quick charge, requires 15W power adapter (not included) to achieve 4 hours charging time. No bluetooth multipoint, non-intuitive button controls, no skip to previous control, no band equalizer - only tone controls for small tweaks of bass, midrange and treble which doesn't give you as much control as a proper graphic EQ (e.g. 6-band or 9-band EQ). The JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition has no bluetooth AAC support and has a exposed USB-C port, which means lint and dirt can get trapped inside the USB-C port. It seems an odd design choice not having the USB-C port protected like the USB-A port.

The limited connection modes is the biggest deal breaker facing the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition. There is no wired mode and many bluetooth speakers come with a 3.5mm aux port and micro SD card slot for playing music off of a memory card, making the speaker more versatile. Selling points for the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition include brand conscious appeal, eye catchy packaging, can be used whilst charging, comes with mobile app equalizer (settings get saved automatically to the speaker). 
PartyBoost mode is also built-in to the speaker so, no need to use the app. Large battery capacity, supports absolute bluetooth volume, tactile buttons, rugged construction, USB-C connectivity, flat base, premium build (looks and feels quality), superb sound with plenty of bass, same hardware and performance as the original JBL Charge 5 and similarly priced too. 

The Black and gold colorway makes the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition stand out and IP67 dust and waterproof resistance makes the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition perfect for the outdoors. You can submerge it in water (up to 1 meter deep) for 30 minutes. You can take it to a swimming pool, sandy beach, shower and wild swimming in a river or lake. 
The AC charger functionality allows you to recharge external devices at 10 watts (5V/2A) just like you would with a powerbank. The JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition also supports JBL PartyBoost, which allows you to connect two Charge 5 speakers as a stereo pair or up to 100 speakers at the same time. 

What's neat about PartyBoost is that it is compatible with any JBL speaker that supports PartyBoost and that includes the Flip 5, Pulse 4, Boombox 2 and Xtreme 3. PartyBoost is newer than JBL Connect+ and not compatible, which means you cannot connect Connect+ speakers such as Flip 4, Boombox, Xtreme 2, Charge 4 and Pulse 3.
 If you are wondering whether to buy the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition or original JBL Charge 5, the only real difference is the colorway and limited edition, which means the Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition is only being sold for a limited time, making it a bit more special. In terms of accessories you only get a premium JBL branded 1.7 meter long USB cable. You can buy the JBL Charge 5 Tomorrowland Edition and other colorways from JBL and amazon.

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