JBL and Bose are two of the leading names for audio accessories like earphones and speakers. Over the last several years, both the companies have churned out pretty neat speakers, such as the Bose Portable Smart Speaker and the JBL Charge 4. And now, JBL has a neat little addition to the lineup in the form of the JBL Flip 5. On the other hand, the Bose Soundlink Color 2 is a little older in comparison, but it continues to reign in the popularity ladder, thanks to its portability and audio delivery.
At $99, the JBL Flip 5 is significantly cheaper than the $129 Bose Soundlink Color 2. This brings us to an important question — is the Bose Soundlink Color 2 worth the extra $30? Or, does the Flip 5 sound better than its competitor?
Well, that's what we are going to find in this post as we compare the JBL Flip 5 against the Bose Soundlink Color 2.
The Flip 5 has the signature look of portable JBL speakers. It has a long cylindrical design with rubberized edging. The small and compact design makes it easy to carry it in your hands, or you can simply perch it on your bike's water bottle holder or the back of your backpack.
The button layout is not very much different from its predecessors as well, safe for the slim strip that runs the length of the speaker. In fact, it's this strip that houses the buttons and the fast-charging USB-C port. And as you may have guessed, the passive bass radiators are at either end of the speaker.
Like many JBL speakers, Flip 5 can also be placed both horizontally and vertically. Plus, the IPX7 waterproof rating means you can carry it to beach outings or your hiking adventures without worrying about damaging the speaker.
On the other hand, the older Soundlink Color 2 looks quite different compared to its JBL counterpart. Instead of sporting a cylindrical look, this one comes with a squarish look. The good thing is that the SoundLink Color 2 packs a soft rubber exterior. This feature makes it incredibly easy to hold and grip this speaker. It also adds to the durability of the product since it plays its part in deflecting bumps and scratches.
When it comes to water resistance, it has a rating of IPX4 and is not waterproof but splash-proof. Still, it will be able to take its share of water splashes and the likes. You just have to take care not to dunk it in water.
The button layout is clever and is placed at the top and comes with all the essential buttons for volume control and switching Bluetooth devices.
Since it's an older speaker, you will still find the 3.5 headphone jack. So if you have a phone that still has one, it will be worth the plunge. As opposed to the USB-C charging of the Flip 5, the Bose Soundlink Color 2 still packs the legacy Micro USB charging port. Since most of the devices pack the newer USB standard now, it might be an issue later should you lose the micro USB cable.
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Additional Connectivity Options
The JBL Flip 5 sports a nifty PartyBoost button that lets you connect to other compatible speakers to amplify the volume.
Do note that when I say compatible speakers, I mean the newer speakers like the JBL Pulse 4. PartyBoost is not the same as JBL Connect+ and hence will not work with older speakers such as Flip 4 or the Charge 4, and quite a few reviewers have expressed their displeasure over this on their reviews.
Luckily, the Bose Soundlink Color 2 has a nifty addition in the form of Bluetooth multipoint when it comes to connectivity. This tech lets you connect up to two devices at the same time to the speaker, thereby adding to your convenience.
At the same time, it also comes with Party Mode. Like the PartyBoost feature, it lets you amplify the sound by letting you pair it with other compatible Bose speakers through the Bose Connect+ app. The Party Mode is available in speakers like the SoundLink Revolve Plus.
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When it comes to small portable speakers, you wouldn't want a speaker that dies quickly. Thankfully, the JBL Flip 5 doesn't disappoint. It has a battery life of 12 hours, which is pretty decent for its size.
And thanks to its USB-C charging port, the Flip 5 can also fast charge. A full charge takes only around 2.5 hours and a handy indicator at the side lets you see the amount of juice left in the speaker.
Compared to it, Bose's Soundlink Color 2 has a battery life of around 8 hours on moderate volumes. Again, it depends a lot on the volume levels. So if you crank it higher, the odds are that the battery life will deplete faster.
On the upside, the recharge time is not much, considering the micro-USB input. The Bose speaker takes only about three hours to charge completely.
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Sound Quality and Performance
So, how does the $99 JBL Flip 5 perform against the Bose SoundLink Color?
Well, the JBL Flip 5 packs a mean punch. It has a clear and crisp audio output and is further accompanied by a resonating bass. The bass is rich and deep enough to have you grooving to the beats of the songs.
The best part is that there's no distortion even at high volumes, all thanks to the improved DSP which is responsible for thinning out deep lows in audio tracks. And several users have appreciated this in their reviews.
Specs-wise, the Flip 5 bundles 20-watt speakers and 44-by-80mm drivers.
On the other hand, the Bose SoundLink Color 2 delivers balanced audio with reasonable bass, thanks to the passive radiators at the sides. However, it's not perfect. When the volume is cranked up, especially outdoors, the audio distorts, and the heavy bass makes the audio a tad less clear.
But at the end of the day, the Soundlink Color 2 is a personal speaker, and for that, the audio delivery is pretty good and you can have your share of good music with this one, especially considering the size and price.
Verdict: New vs. Old
So, should you choose the older Bose Soundlink Color 2 over JBL Flip 5? For starters, the Bose Soundlink Color 2 delivers a decent sound for a personal speaker. If you are a person who loves listening to soft instrumentals or classical jazz, the Soundlink Color 2 will do its best to reproduce them accurately.
But it's a little dated, especially when it comes to its looks and battery life. And the micro-USB charging doesn't help its cause, especially since more and more devices are now opting for USB-C charging.
On the other hand, the JBL Flip 5 is every bit the modern speaker that you can buy right now. The price is right and the audio delivery is on point. Besides that, the IPX7 rating and the lightweight design make it easy for you to carry it anywhere, be it a poolside party or on a ride around the block.
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