The JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi is one other excellent-sounding wi-fi speaker from JBL, boasting an much more refined efficiency, particularly over a Wi-Fi connection. It’s significantly costlier than its predecessor and shut rivals, and although the addition of Wi-Fi makes this speaker extra handy for indoor use, some could lament the omission of the PartyBoost characteristic.
- Balanced, clear sound over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Powerful, rugged design
- Can be utilized to cost different units
- Stable battery life
- Costlier than earlier than
- No PartyBoost characteristic
- No quick charging
Wi-Fi and BluetoothNow helps AirPlay, Spotify Join, Chromecast and Alexa MRM streaming
IP67 scoreDustproof and waterproof
Battery life20 hours of playtime on a single cost
The JBL Cost 5 was a fantastic Bluetooth speaker, moveable sufficient for use open air in addition to indoors, and that includes one of many higher audio performances at its value.
All eyes would have been on JBL asserting a Cost 6 however as an alternative the Cost 5 Wi-Fi appeared, including further wi-fi capabilities.
JBL has taken a leaf out of Sonos guide by marrying Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tech in a single kind. Is it definitely worth the bounce up in value? Right here’s my verdict.
- Large, rugged design
- No carry strap
- Waterproof and dustproof
Not a lot has modified with the design because the JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi is extra an iterative replace than a whole revision. It nonetheless appears to be like like an American soccer you could possibly play a sport of catch with.
It’s barely heavier at 1kg, and identical to earlier than it’s properly constructed: heavy, sturdy, and surprisingly dense. It doesn’t really feel like it might crack or break simply – I’ve dropped this speaker from a couple of foot or so onto a tough picket floor and softer grass, and on every floor the speaker bounces and flips into one course. It’s a really sturdy speaker.
There’s a change in its development to notice. Like Final Ears and Marshall, JBL is incorporating extra post-consumer recycled plastic, utilizing recycled material for the speaker grille. I haven’t felt a lot of a distinction between the Cost 5 and Cost 5 Wi-Fi when it comes to how they really feel. The packaging additionally makes use of FSC licensed paper printed with soy ink.
The one notable visible change is the association of buttons on the highest floor. The PartyBoost button is changed by the Moments button (formed like a coronary heart), the playback button has switched sides and the quantity buttons are coupled collectively. Within the center you continue to get the facility and Bluetooth button, however it’s joined by an LED that denotes a Wi-Fi connection.
Coated in the identical coarse material texture of earlier than, the Cost 5 Wi-Fi stays grippy to carry. There’s no deal with, strap or grasp loop so carrying it in a hand or putting it in a bag are the one technique of transport. Grime is simple sufficient to rub off, and if it’s sticking then the speaker is waterproof so it may be given a rinse.
Not solely is it waterproof, its IP67 score means it’s dustproof too. That score does imply that it could possibly be submerged right into a physique of water 1m deep for half-hour. Having dunked it right into a bowl of water, I used to be a bit stunned by how absorbent it was however after a number of vigorous shakes, many of the water was gone. The principle USB-A port is hid by a tab which stops water from getting by way of.
On the time of evaluate the Cost 5 Wi-Fi solely is available in black. In case you’re on the lookout for different colors, maybe wait a bit longer. JBL normally tends to develop the color choices over time.
- Chromecast, Spotify Join, Alexa Multi-Room, AirPlay
- No PartyBoost characteristic
- Helps JBL One app
The large characteristic is the addition of Wi-Fi, and this expands the variety of sources the JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi can speak with. There’s Spotify Join: built-in Chromecast, AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room audio, in addition to Google Dwelling and Amazon Alexa voice assistants by way of one other speaker or machine. That doesn’t really feel utterly vital, however it’s there if you would like the Cost 5 Wi-Fi as a part of your good residence setup.
There’s no PartyBoost characteristic the place you possibly can daisy chain a ridiculous variety of JBL audio system collectively, or play in stereo. That’s barely mitigated by the multi-room assist, however for some I’d wager its omission might be disappointing.
One other profit is that options equivalent to Spotify Join will dissipate much less of your cellular machine’s battery, because it’ll be streaming straight from the Spotify servers than from the cellphone. There’s additionally compatibility with the JBL One app – the Cost 5 Wi-Fi gained’t work with the JBL Moveable app, and in case you attempt to join, it’ll ferry you off to the One app anyway. Wi-Fi additionally permits for 24-bit/96kHz playback.
Earlier than I get to the app, a notice on swapping between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This speaker works equally to the Sonos Roam and Transfer. The JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi will primarily keep linked on a regular basis as soon as it has been arrange. Marvel away from your private home Wi-Fi (I walked up the street and powered the speaker up once more), and the Wi-Fi indicator will flash till it regains connection.
Bluetooth is enabled by urgent the Bluetooth button, which places the speaker in its pairing mode, however it doesn’t flip the Wi-Fi off. You would be streaming Bluetooth audio from Spotify, however with a faucet of the button within the Spotify app, begin streaming over Wi-Fi after which the Bluetooth connection is disabled/turned off. This may be modified within the app to prioritise a Bluetooth connection when the speaker powers up.
Again to the JBL One app. Inside is a three-band equaliser for altering bass, mid, and treble: in-app playback settings, in-app music service suppliers (together with the likes of Amazon Music, Tidal, Qobuz, iHeart Radio, and extra), and the Moments characteristic.
Moments is a button devoted to your favorite observe, playlist, or radio station. Signal into the account of your most well-liked music subscription service throughout the One app, set the auto-off time (or ignore it), quantity stage, after which faucet ‘Save’. From there on that playlist or station will be accessed by urgent the ‘Second’ button. In observe it really works, press it and it’ll tee up no matter you’ve chosen.
The app itself is simple to navigate, proving swift and responsive in use. It additionally has an data icon for the ‘Second’ characteristic that helpfully explains in case you’re at a loss as to what it does.
Battery life is rated as much as 20 hours, which is identical as its predecessor, and it will probably act as a powerbank to cost different units by way of the USB-A port. In comparison with different audio system, the Middleton is as much as 20+ hours, and Orange Amps’ Orange Field (£299) is 15 hours. There’s no fast-charging listed with full battery cost famous at 6 hours. Charging by way of USB-C does really feel glacially sluggish in case you’re used to fast-charging.
There’s Bluetooth 5.3 onboard and the wi-fi efficiency is as dependable as the unique mannequin. A blast of Hey Jude at high quantity and it was solely at a distance of over 20+ metres the place the sign grew to become a bit uneven.
Sound High quality
- Refined Bluetooth efficiency over Cost 5
- Clearer, sharper, extra detailed on Wi-Fi
The JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi takes the identical method as its predecessor however brings with it extra refinement. JBL hasn’t modified the driving force configuration per se; it’s a equally sized woofer transducer mixed with a 10mm tweeter, however JBL has extracted a greater efficiency from it.
With Nelly Furtado’s Maneater, the Cost 5 Wi-Fi launches into the observe with a punchy, managed bass efficiency. Furtado’s voice is centred within the center, however the distinction between the 2 audio system is the newer mannequin tasks her voice above the remainder of the observe. It helps to provide vocals an area of their very own, preserving them from the power of the driving beats.
The cymbal crashes sound crisper and extra detailed however the general tone of the Cost 5 Wi-Fi’s presentation doesn’t appear too totally different. It’s nonetheless the identical driving, energetic efficiency. The bass continues to be sturdy (I can really feel it emanate by way of the desk the speaker is on), and in an outside setting bass gained’t be as sturdy however there’s nonetheless sufficient to get a really feel for the music’s percussive beat.
A swap to a slower sluggish, Sting and Eric Clapton’s Most likely Me, and the Cost 5 Wi-Fi digs out extra element from the repeated finger snaps. The vocal presentation is huge and daring in stature, like with Maneater, Sting’s vocals sound clearer, higher projected, and with a bit extra dynamism to his inflections. What stands out with this observe is the loudness of the speaker. At related quantity ranges the Cost 5 Wi-Fi is a step up in loudness than its predecessor.
With Hey Jude on the speaker’s loudest quantity, I didn’t discover any distortion, although the bass efficiency isn’t as huge. I doubt many might be too fussed when used outdoors, and at its default quantity it’s loud sufficient to make use of indoors.
Nonetheless on Bluetooth and a swap to Christina Aguilera’s With out You, and the refinements to the tweeter change into clearer. The place the playback of the piano is dulled on the Cost 5, it takes on a brighter, sharper, and extra outlined description with the Wi-Fi mannequin. The speaker resolves element finer, the vinyl crackle that opens the music is clearer, and Aguilera’s voice additionally feels extra targeted and outlined.
Swap to Wi-Fi and it’s a considerable step up. Aguilera’s vocal efficiency turns into even clearer, ladled with extra element and sharpness, crisper however no much less expressive. There’s additionally one other noticeable step up in loudness, a lot so I turned the quantity down throughout a pay attention of Sizzling Chip’s Over and Over.
Sticking with that observe and it’s noticeable how uninteresting the treble can sound, together with bass that feels much less exuberant, and voices that really feel submerged with the remainder of the observe. The JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi retains what made the unique good, however improves on areas that wanted work.
Just like the Cost 5, the Wi-Fi mannequin nonetheless takes a directional method to sound. It doesn’t sound too dangerous from behind however doesn’t have a characteristic just like the Marshall Middleton’s multi-directional soundscape. You’ll need to be dealing with the speaker for the most effective efficiency.
Do you have to purchase it?
For its rugged construct high quality and improved sound
The construct high quality is simply as powerful and sturdy as earlier than for outside use, and the addition of Wi-Fi improves its audio high quality.
If you would like a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker for much less
JBL clearly has eyes on the Sonos Roam with the Cost 5 Wi-Fi, and whereas it boasts a much bigger bass efficiency than Sonos’ speaker, it’s £50 costlier.
The JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi improves on its predecessor. It retains the identical rugged construct however with higher Bluetooth audio, and over a Wi-Fi connection it sounds leaps and bounds higher than the unique.
The addition of Wi-Fi capabilities equivalent to Spotify Join, Chromecast, AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room Music in addition to built-in music streaming playback throughout the JBL One app additionally makes the Cost 5 Wi-Fi extra handy for indoor use. Some could even gravitate in the direction of utilizing it indoors greater than they do out of the house.
That makes it a significantly extra versatile speaker, however the bounce up in value is simply as appreciable. Nonetheless, the Cost 5 Wi-Fi earns a hearty endorsement from me, however with the Sonos Roam providing related capabilities for much less, some could need to let the value drop earlier than scooping up JBL’s wonderful wi-fi speaker. Take a look at our Finest Bluetooth Speaker information for extra choices.
How we check
We check each wi-fi speaker we evaluate totally over an prolonged time frame. We use trade customary checks to match options correctly. We’ll all the time let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluate a product.
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Examined with actual world use
There’s no assist for PartyBoost characteristic on the Cost 5 Wi-Fi
Audio (Energy output)
JBL Cost 5 Wi-Fi
223 x 94 x 97 MM
As much as 24-bit/96kHz
53mm x 93mm woofer, 20mm tweeter
Wi-Fi (Spotify Join, Chromecast, Alexa Multi-Room Audio, AirPlay), Bluetooth 5.3