We play a quick game of spot the difference with our Charge 5 sample and its older sibling, the Charge 4. The logo is now larger, but it appears more classy and less like a badge than its predecessor, with simple metallic accents around the letters rather than a block frame. Instead of a block of opaque rubber, the rubberised underbody now has pleasing diagonal lines for traction when set down, as seen on the Go 3. The 3.5mm port for wired listening has been removed, and the new USB-C charging port has been revealed. Under a smaller rubber cap, you’ll find the useful USB-A port for charging your devices with the Charge 5. The ends of the Charge 5’s trademark barrel-like bodywork have a slightly more robust rubberised reinforcement, while the speaker itself is 1mm taller, 2mm deeper, 3mm wider, and 5g heavier than its older brother – though this is barely noticeable to the naked eye. However, there are numerous improvements under the hood. The 52 x 90mm bass driver is slightly wider than before, and a new 20mm tweeter is included. Both of these speakers have dedicated power amplification, with 30W for the woofer and 10W for the highs. Bluetooth 5.1 rather than 4.2 is also available, but the same 7500mAh battery provides the same 20 hours of playback on a single charge. The Charge 5 now has a JBL PartyBoost button on the control panel on top of the speaker, replacing the Charge 4’s Connect+ button. JBL’s updated daisy-chaining technology allows you to boost your portable sound by connecting the Charge 5 to up to 100 other PartyBoost-enabled JBL Bluetooth devices, though this is currently limited to the Boombox 2, Flip 5, and Pulse 4. What you can’t do is connect the Charge 5 to the older Charge 4, or any other older Connect+-enabled JBL speakers. The JBL Portable app, formerly known as JBL Connect, supports the Charge 5. It’s useful for firmware updates and deploying PartyBoost from your phone, where other app-enabled JBL speakers (including the Flip 5) will appear ready to connect. With another Charge 5, you can create a stereo pair by switching from “Party” (mono sound) to Stereo when pressing the PartyBoost button, but the app is otherwise basic and lacks EQ optimisation. After exiting the app, we press the PartyBoost button on the Charge 5, then on the Flip 5, and sound comes through clearly and without noticeable lag from both. It’s a cool feature, but some existing JBL owners may be irritated by PartyBoost’s inability to work with the older Connect+ technology.

JBL CHARGE 5 in just  139 95 at Amazon - 76JBL CHARGE 5 in just  139 95 at Amazon - 61JBL CHARGE 5 in just  139 95 at Amazon - 67JBL CHARGE 5 in just  139 95 at Amazon - 1