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JBL Clip 4 Review

This mega-portable, waterproof, and durable speaker is perfectly at home on hikes, bike rides, out on the lake, or in the shower
JBL Clip 4
Credit: JBL
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $70 List | $79.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Super-portable, waterproof, great battery life
Cons:  Sound quality diminishes significantly at higher volumes
Manufacturer:   JBL
By Michelle Powell and Matt Bento  ⋅  Jul 15, 2021
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Sound Quality - 40% 6
  • Portability - 25% 10
  • Volume - 20% 6
  • Battery Life - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The JBL Clip 4 is a rough and tumble go-anywhere option for folks who want a soundtrack to accompany their lives. For its size, this speaker sounds good, and its IP67 rating ensures it will survive an accidental submersion, while its handy built-in clip helps prevent it from falling in the water in the first place. Perfectly at home clipped to a backpack or strapped to a paddleboard, it's ready for all forms of adventurous fun. Its battery lasted over a full day in our tests, too. This speaker's small size limits its audio performance, and we weren't impressed with the sound quality at higher volumes. When we didn't crank it, this speaker sounds satisfactory for its size, and we're happy with the compromise.

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JBL Clip 4
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JBL Clip 4
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $70 List
$79.95 at Amazon
$120 List
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Pros Super-portable, waterproof, great battery lifeGood sound quality, waterproof, long battery lifeLoud, compact, durablePortable, great battery life, inexpensiveWaterproof, inexpensive
Cons Sound quality diminishes significantly at higher volumesNot the strongest sounding bassDistortion at higher volume, not the longest battery lifeSub-par sound qualityWeak 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 showerAn affordable balance for those that want good sound quality and portability but don't want to pay a premium price for the absolute bestThis durable little speaker packs plenty of volume into a waterproof packageA much less expensive, but still enjoyable, portable speaker option for those sticking to a tight budgetAn 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%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Portability (25%)
10.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Volume (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
3.0
Battery Life (15%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
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
IP Rating IP67 IPX7 IP67 IPX7 IPX7
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.

Performance Comparison


This speaker is perfect to take in the news during a morning shower...
This speaker is perfect to take in the news during a morning shower, or crank out the jams and get psyched for your day.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Quality


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.


This speaker has mediocre sound quality but still sounds impressive...
This speaker has mediocre sound quality but still sounds impressive considering its size.
Credit: Jason Peters

Portability


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 literally fits in the palm of your hand, and the clip...
This speaker literally fits in the palm of your hand, and the clip feature gives you plenty of options for hanging it where it will sound the best.
Credit: Jason Peters

Volume


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.


While you can hang it anywhere, this speaker is too tiny to...
While you can hang it anywhere, this speaker is too tiny to entertain the whole tennis court.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


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.


The clip feature is handy for keeping the speaker out of the dirt...
The clip feature is handy for keeping the speaker out of the dirt and close to ear level.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


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.

This speaker easily comes along on hikes, and you can clip it...
This speaker easily comes along on hikes, and you can clip it outside your pack so all of your party can enjoy your tunes.
Credit: Jason Peters

Conclusion


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