The JBL flip series has been around for a few years now, first appearing on the scene in 2013. We are now at its 4th incarnation, the Flip 4. JBL have steadily improved the Flip series and with the emergence of the 4, we have a real gem on our hands…
The size hasn’t changed much over the years as the Flip 4 is just 175mm x 70mm x 68mm – small enough to fit in any bag or suitcase without any issues. One thing that there is more of is weight. The Flip 4 now weighs 515 grams compared to just 450 grams on the previous Flip 3. Not a massive increase but enough to help give the unit a bit more of a premium feel. It feels well built and each end of the cylinder shaped speakers has a hardened rubberised casing. This comes in handy as they protect the 2 passive ABR (Auxiliary Bass Radiators), which are housed at either end of the unit.
Inputs are your usual Bluetooth and a 3.5mm aux input that has become common on any portable speaker. No NFC (Near Field Communication) is included, which is a bit of shame but Bluetooth is a more commonly used connection method anyway, so it’s not a massive issue. The unit’s USB slot is just for charging only, rather than playback. It has an impressive 12 hour battery life and once fully charged, you shouldn’t need to charge it that often. It will definitely come in handy if you want to take it on holiday to relax by the pool all day. Whilst we’re on the subject of swimming pools, if you happen to drop it in the water after a few cocktails, you’ll be just fine as it is IPX7 rated, basically meaning you can submerge it in water for a brief amount of time without any hiccups. Ideally it shouldn’t be submerged for more than 30 minutes and no deeper than a metre, but it’s still a nice feature to have, especially in the summer.
Now for the important part: how it sounds. Connecting with Bluetooth is a breeze and it’s done in seconds. As this is essentially an outdoor speaker why not start with a summer hit like It Ain’t Me by Kygo, featuring Selena Gomez? For something of this size and price, it’s all handled superbly. Her vocals are clean and there isn’t any harshness when blaring it up a bit. As the song kicks on and gets more upbeat, it becomes clear that this really is a decent little speaker. The bass is always present without blocking out anything else, which is a pleasant surprise. Occasionally, speakers like this will attempt to bare you out with bass to mask some of its deficiencies, but not the Flip 4. I’m really impressed, and for good measure a bit of Mr Brightside by The Killers gets a little run out. Once again, everything is where I want it to be and there’s a smoothness to it that can’t be ignored. Even the high-octane, action-packed Mr Brightside can’t put a blemish on this product.
Don’t believe me? Come and try it for yourself at your local Richer Sounds.
Author: Bradley, Plymouth store