The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of tech gear

JBL Flip 4 Review

A powerful, waterproof speaker that can power your party wherever you go
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Price:   $100 List | $100 at Amazon
Pros:  Good bass, waterproof
Cons:  Sound quality not quite as good as top models
Manufacturer:   JBL
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Aug 8, 2017
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 19
  • Sound Quality - 40% 7
  • Portability - 25% 7
  • Volume - 20% 8
  • Battery Life - 15% 7

Our Verdict

Packing powerful bass and big volume into a reasonably sized, completely waterproof body, the JBL Flip 4 is perfect for those that want big sound that can follow them wherever they go. Its only real competitor in that category is the UE Boom 2, but the Flip 4 boasts more powerful bass, a better overall sound, and a slightly lower price tag. Sure, the Bose SoundLink Color II sounds better and weighs about the same, but it is only water resistance as opposed to waterproof, making the Flip 4 a more rugged and durable option.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
JBL Flip 4
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $100 List
$99.95 at Amazon
$300 List
$299.00 at Amazon
$200 List
$199.00 at Amazon
$150 List
$149.99 at Amazon
$130 List
$129.00 at Amazon
Star Rating
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Pros Good bass, waterproofExcellent sound quality, very loud, long battery lifeExcellent sound quality, water resistant, great battery lifeGood overall sound, great volume, great battery life, waterproofGreat Sound quality, water resistant, good battery life
Cons Sound quality not quite as good as top modelsExpensive, relatively large and heavyExpensive, relatively heavyNot the strongest bass, a bit priceyRubber coating sometimes hangs onto dust
Bottom Line A powerful, waterproof speaker that can power your party wherever you goTop notch sound quality and volume in a somewhat heavy packageThe best portable speaker for audiophilesA good mix of sound qaultiy/volume and durabilityAn almost perfect blend of sound quality, portability, and reasonable price
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories JBL Flip 4 Bose Soundlink... Bose SoundLink... UE Boom 3 Bose SoundLink...
Sound Quality (40%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
Portability (25%)
10
0
7
10
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6
10
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7
10
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8
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7
Volume (20%)
10
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8
10
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10
10
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8
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8
10
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8
Battery Life (15%)
10
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7
10
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9
10
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7
10
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9
10
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5
Specs JBL Flip 4 Bose Soundlink... Bose SoundLink... UE Boom 3 Bose SoundLink...
Dimensions (in x in x in) 2.7" x 2.7" x 6.9" 4.1" x 4.1" x 7.3" 5.97" x 3.24" x 3.24" 2.9" x 2.9" x 7.25" 5.25" x 5" x 2.25"
Inputs 3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port Charging port, Micro-USB, 3.5mm auxillary input 3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro USB port Micro USB port 3.5 mm auxiliary input, Micro-B USB port
Reported Weight 18.2 oz 34 oz 24 oz 24 oz 19.2 oz
Measured Weight 19 oz 34 oz 24 oz 22 oz 19.8 oz
Wireless Range (feet) 32 feet 30 feet 30 feet 150 feet 30
Reported Battery Life (hours) 12 16 12 15 8
Measured Battery Life (hours) 12 24 18 24 13
Warranty 1 year limited 1 year limited 1 year limited 2 year limited 1 year limited
Receive Phone Calls Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The JBL Flip 4 is perfect for those that want something rugged and waterproof that can still produce a good amount of volume. Plus it does so in a reasonably small, lightweight package.


Performance Comparison


The JBL FLip 4 well rounded performance earned it a relatively high overall score once all of our testing was through. Below we discuss its specific performances in all of the different tests we conducted.

Sound Quality


The Flip 4 stayed towards the top of our sound quality leaderboard, earning a score of 7 out of 10. The bass very powerful given the speaker's size, but also sound quite crisp and doesn't produce muddled undertones. The treble is also fairly crisp, and the combination of the two creates a full, pleasant sound. The Bos SoundLink Color II does have slightly punchier bass and a slightly better overall sound, but the difference is not huge. Compared to the ultra portable UE Roll 2 the Flip 4 sound much more robust and fuller bodied. Bottom line, we think all but the most discerning audiophiles will be plenty happy with how this speaker sounds.

The Flip 4's convenient keeper cord.
The Flip 4's convenient keeper cord.

Portability


The Flip 4 earned a 7 out of 10 in our portability testing, putting it ahead of all but the super compact (and thus less powerful) models. Its cylindrical shape is fairly friendly when it comes to packing, and the IPX7 waterproof rating means this speaker can survive full submersion in water, or your secret T Swift karaoke session in the shower (don't worry, we won't tell anyone). At 19 ounces the weight is noticeable, but certainly not cumbersome.

If you want something loud with good bass this is about the most portable model you'll find. Models like the UE Roll 2 and the UE Wonderboom are smaller and lighter, but produce much thinner sound. The Slightly more melodious Bose SoundLink Color II weighs about the same, but is only water resistance as opposed to waterproof.

The cylindrical shape is fairly low profile.
The cylindrical shape is fairly low profile.

Volume


The JBL Flip 4 is incredibly loud, regardless of but especially considering its size. It was just behind the top scorers, earning an 8 out of 10. The only models that were louder were the Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 4 and the JBL Charge 3, both of which are much larger and heavier. The Flip 4 was able to blast music through an apartment full of people in our volume testing, and will be plenty loud enough for any days at the beach or lake.

The Flip 4 is impressively loud when you crank the volume up.
The Flip 4 is impressively loud when you crank the volume up.

Battery Life


Posting a respectable 15 hours in our battery life test, the JBL Flip 4 provides plenty of battery for a full day of listening. However, it can't match the incredible performance of the few top models that broke the 24-hour mark.


Value


With a list price of $100, the JBL Flip 4 provides exceptional sound quality and portability for the price. If you don't mind spending a little more for better sound quality the Bose SoundLink ColorII may be a better value, but you do downgrade from waterproof to water resistant.

Concclusion


The JBL Flip 4 has deep bass, can blare music loud and proud, and is durable enough to go on pretty much any adventure. Unless you're the absolute highest quality sound, the Flip 4 has very little downside.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata