JBL Clip 4 Review
Pros: Super-portable, waterproof, great battery life
Cons: Sound quality diminishes significantly at higher volumes
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JBL Clip 4
$79.95 at Amazon
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|Pros||Super-portable, waterproof, great battery life||Good sound quality, waterproof, long battery life||Loud, compact, durable||Portable, great battery life, inexpensive||Waterproof, inexpensive|
|Cons||Sound quality diminishes significantly at higher volumes||Not the strongest sounding bass||Distortion at higher volume, not the longest battery life||Sub-par sound quality||Weak bass, not very loud|
|Bottom Line||This mega-portable, waterproof, and durable speaker is perfectly at home on hikes, bike rides, out on the lake, or in the shower||An affordable balance for those that want good sound quality and portability but don't want to pay a premium price for the absolute best||This durable little speaker packs plenty of volume into a waterproof package||A much less expensive, but still enjoyable, portable speaker option for those sticking to a tight budget||An inexpensive speaker that is totally waterproof and sounds better than built-in phone speakers|
|Rating Categories||JBL Clip 4||JBL Flip 5||Ultimate Ears Wonde...||Anker Soundcore 3||Tribit XSound Go|
|Sound Quality (40%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Specs||JBL Clip 4||JBL Flip 5||Ultimate Ears Wonde...||Anker Soundcore 3||Tribit XSound Go|
|Dimensions (in x in x in)||1.8" x 3.4" x 5.3"||3.64" x 3.6" x 8.5"||3.68" x 3.68" x 4.02"||6.9" x 2.4" x 2.2"||6.7" x 2.3" x 2.2"|
|Inputs and Charging Ports||USB-C port||Micro USB port||Micro USB port||USB-C port||Charging port, Micro-USB, 3.5mm auxillary input|
|Reported Weight (ounces)||8.48 oz||19.04 oz||15.04 oz||13.12 oz||13.4 oz|
|Measured Weight||8.13 oz||19 oz||14.9 oz||17.8 oz||13.4 oz|
|Wireless Range (feet)||Not Listed||Not Listed||100||66||66|
|Reported Battery Life (hours)||10||12||13||24||24|
|Measured Battery Life (hours)||27||27||13||16.75||18.5|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The JBL Clip 4 sounds awesome for its size and is hands down our favorite super portable speaker. It weighs less than any speaker in our tests, and despite Its diminutive stature, it still produces surprisingly high-quality sounds, all while being relatively affordable. For those who need a constant soundtrack for their active lives, the Clip 4 can go anywhere you do, be it the beach, the boat, the mountain, or just the shower.
Just hearing the Clip 4 isn't going to blow any minds. It offers decently rich sound at medium volumes. The lows are punchy, and the highs sound crisp and well-articulated, but this starts to unravel a bit when we push the speaker at high volumes, with the bass becoming mushy and drowning out the highs (a common issue with smaller speakers). Listening while looking at this tiny speaker ratchets up the wow factor significantly, as it sounds incredible when you realize how small and portable it actually is.
Weighing in at 8.48 ounces, the JBL Clip 4 is actually a little heavier than the previous version, but it remains the lightest option in the lineup. It's also the smallest, with its disk shape measuring 1.8" x 3.4" x 5.3". We wouldn't hesitate to clip this model to the front of paddleboard or the handlebars of a beach cruiser. That's what this speaker is designed for and where it really thrives. It has an IP67 rating, meaning it can withstand splashes and short-term submersion up to a meter for under a half hour. You can't swim with it, but it's perfectly reasonable to take it on a kayak or use it at the beach or in the shower.
The namesake clip features some improvements over the previous version. The hinge that was a point of failure in the past is now closer to the body of the speaker and seems more durable, and the entire clip-point is larger than before.
This speaker has a very impressive max volume and projection capabilities for its size. We measured a respectable 83.4 decibels from 5 feet away while operating at 75% of the max volume, but that quickly degrades to 64.7 decibels at 30 feet. Needless to say, the Clip 4 is more suited to a post-pandemic world where we can all be a little closer together. If your party around the picnic blanket is less than 8, you'll likely be satisfied. For a more spread-out situation, we suggest something bigger to get greater volume.
JBL gives a conservative claim of 10 hours of battery life for the Clip 4. Our testing says otherwise, with our Clip 4 lasting a respectable 27 hours when played at 75% of max volume. This is plenty for a few hours of music in the evening during a weekend of camping, with time to spare for mid-day jams out on the lake. When it finally does run out of juice, you can give it a quick charge with the included USB-C cable.
This isn't a particularly inexpensive speaker, but it doesn't sound like one either. Don't think the gimmicky clip feature is all that the Clip 4 has going for it. This speaker's audio quality and durability make it a good value for someone on the go.
While the JBL Clip 4 isn't likely to pique the interest of any true audiophiles, everyone else is sure to enjoy the portability and convenience of this speaker. It's an excellent and durable option for someone who's notoriously hard on their gear and wants to bring the party vibes everywhere they go this summer.
— Michelle Powell and Matt Bento