JBL Clip 3 Review
Pros: Super compact, waterproof, good battery life, good sound quality given the size
Cons: A bit more expensive than other super-portable options, can sound tinny and hollow at high volumes
Our Analysis and Test Results
The super compact JBL Clip 3 is perfect for those that like to always keep a speaker in their bag, just in case, or those that like to add a proper soundtrack to their shower singing.
Overall the JBL Clip 3 certainly isn't going to impress audiophiles, but can generally do enough justice to your favorite tune to get you singing along.
Compared to the majority of Bluetooth speakers out there, the JBL Clip 3 sounds relatively thin. It lacks a bit of bass power, and higher frequencies can sound a bit harsh and tinny. Considering its small size, however, the Clip 3's sound is quite impressive. It manages to sound fuller than most of the other super-compact models on the market, and avoids the shrill hiss accompanying high notes that many of those speakers are plagued with.
Bottom line, the Clip 3 is not going to provide a refined nor exceptional listening experience, but it can provide a pretty good one in situations where toting along a more capable speaker wouldn't be convenient.
This is where the Clip 3 reigns supreme. Tipping the scales at just 7.5 ounces, it weighs barely more than most smart phones, so you probably won't even notice it in your bag or backpack. The built-in carabiner allows for easy hanging on the outside of a backpack, on a belt loop, or on the rung of a shower curtain. Speakeing of shower curtains, this speaker is also IPX7 waterproof, meaning it can survive complete immersion in up to a meter of water — so take it on boats, on lazy river floats, and use it as accompaniment to your shower singing with reckless abandon.
Here again, the Clip 3 isn't fantastic, but does quite well given its size. Its maximum volume is actually quite loud. However, the speaker is really straining at that point, with the sound becoming quite blown out. If you lower the volume to where it maintains its sound quality, it is plenty loud enough to entertain a group of friends hanging out on the beach or lounging on a dock. However, it's a bit too quiet for a barbeque with 20+ people.
In our tests the Clip 3 well outdid its claim of a 10-hour battery life, lasting a whopping 18 hours before finally succumbing to exhaustion. This is more than enough time for entertainment during a weekend camping trip or night in the backcountry.
The JBL Clip 3 certainly isn't cheap. However, if you want a super tiny speaker that still lends a good overall experience, you're going to have to spend a bit more. Considering its combination of performance and portability, we think the Clip 3 asks a reasonable price.
The JBL Clip 3 is one of the best compact Bluetooth speakers we've tested. For those that value portability over all else, and don't mind spending slightly extra to add in some decent sound quality, this is a perfect choice.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell