JBL has successfully managed to tap into the portable speaker market with a diverse range of products catering to different budgets. It has to deal with stiff competition from Sony and Ultimate Ears, but due to its wide presence in pretty much every brick and mortar electronics store in India, the company has managed to hold its ground. The JBL Flip and Charge series of Bluetooth speakers are quite popular, and now the company is adding a new model in the in the form of the Flip 4.
This new Bluetooth speaker offers complete waterproofing, so it can be submerged in water, unlike its predecessor, which could only handle splashes. There’s also a new shortcut which lets you access Siri or Google Assitant with a single button press. JBL has priced the Flip 4 at Rs 9,999, and it competes with Sony’s SRS-XB30 and the Ultimate Ears Boom 2. Let’s see how it good it really is.
JBL Flip 4 design and features
The Flip 4 carries forward the same cylindrical design as its predecessors and is available in multiple colors. It’s easy to grip with one hand and isn’t too heavy either, weighing in at 515g. Nearly the entire body is covered in a mesh fabric except for the edges and a silicone strip that runs across the length of the speaker. The Flip 4 is designed to be used in a horizontal position as there are passive radiators on either end.
There are buttons for controlling music playback and Bluetooth pairing. They have a nice clicky feel to them but they aren’t illuminated. Despite the cylindrical design, the Flip 4 doesn’t roll around, as the silicone strip bulges out a bit, providing a nice base for the speaker to rest on.At the back, the Flip 4 has a backlit power button, five LED dots to show you the battery level, and a backlit Connect+ button, which lets you link more than 100 Flip 4 units together. Next to them is a rubber flap to protect the Micro-USB port and a 3.5mm auxiliary connector. The Flip 4 also has a loop with a pre-installed lanyard so you can hang the speaker on something if you don’t have a proper surface for it to stand on.
The JBL Flip 4 is very similar to the outgoing model when it comes to specifications. The Bluetooth version has been upped to 4.2 but it still has two 40mm full-range drivers that deliver a total power output of 16W. It supports a frequency response of 70Hz to 20,000Hz, and Bluetooth profiles including A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.6, HFP V1.6 and HSP V1.2. You get a 3000mAh battery, which is good for a rated 12 hours of continuous playback, and a microphone so you can answer calls. There aren’t any extra frills like NFC or aptX HD support here. In the box, you get some documentation and a matching Micro-USB cable. The big update here is the addition of IPX7 certification, which makes the Flip 4 submersible up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.
JBL Flip 4 performance and battery life
The Flip 4 can handle two active Bluetooth connections at the same time, which uses, especially when you’re having a party and want to share DJing duties with someone else. The speaker feels pretty rugged and seems as though it could take a tumble or two without shattering, even though it doesn’t meet any formal standards for ruggedness. The diffused LED lights on the speaker aren’t annoyingly bright in the dark, but we wish the controls lit up too. As good as the build quality may be, the Flip 4 does have one design flaw in our books, and that’s the exposed passive radiators on either side. From an aesthetic standpoint, it looks really cool to see them vibrating furiously when playing music, but this also makes them vulnerable to damage from small objects like pens and keys in your bag. A removable cover of some sort would have been nice.
- Compact and rugged
- IPX7 waterproofing
- Warm sound with good bass
- Good battery life
- Exposed radiators
- Mid-range suffers a bit
- Battery type Lithium-ion polymer (3.7V, 3000mAh)
- Battery charge time 3.5 hours @ 5V1A
- Music playing time up to 12 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)