JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker Review
A straightforward button layout makes controlling the Flip 4 simple
We've already touched on the basic controls of the Flip 4, but to reiterate, you've got independent up and down volume buttons, a Bluetooth button for pairing, and a “play” button that can either pause audio when pressed or trigger the phone's voice assistant, and that advances tracks when held down – there's no similar control for going back a track.
On the back edge, the power button lets users turn the Flip 4 on and off, accompanied by a rising or falling-pitch sound effect. And the dedicated JBL Connect+ button is used in tandem with the app of the same name to enable multi-speaker playback modes.
The Flip 4 may not have the best hardware in the world, but it still manages to deliver some satisfying sound.
It's relatively easy to make a large speaker sound good, but when you're trying to keep things compact, that gets tricky; less room makes it harder to implement a bass reflex system, as well as makes stereo separation difficult to achieve.
Smart speaker placement, using the environment to help reflect and channel the sound, can also help a bit, but even out on its own, the Flip 4 still doesn't sound bad. Outdoors, it's got the power it needs to entertain at a backyard BBQ, though it does tend to sound better indoors. One really great spot for the speaker is taking advantage of its water resistance and putting in the shower; just like you sound better when you sing in the shower, those reverberations help get the most out of the Flip 4.
The combination of a big battery and tools for easy charge monitoring are a win for JBL.
JBL gives the Flip 4 a 3,000mAh battery, comparable to the size we find in many smartphones. That kind of power can support the speaker running for up to 12 hours, though operation at high volume levels with take its toll on that maximum.
In order to help you keep an eye on battery life, the Flip 4 has a built-in LED power readout next to the power button. It doesn't stay illuminated all the time, but when you power the speaker on, they'll light up for a few seconds to indicate remaining charge. That's really nice, and not always a feature we see on Bluetooth speakers, letting you keep ahead of recharge events; who wants to get a heads-up they've only got 10% charge left right before a big party?
The JBL Flip 4 is a really nice portable Bluetooth speaker. The design is attractive, the sound is decent, and we especially like its water-resistance. Battery life is solid, and extras like the speakerphone and support for voice-based assistants are really nice.
The other extras, falling under the JBL Connect+ banner are a little less appealing, but only because they require making an investment in several Flip 4 speakers before you can take advantage of them; if you've got a whole swarm of these guys, we imagine they're great features to have, but can't see a lot of shoppers picking up additional units just to try them out.
Priced at around $100, the Flip 4 is a lot more affordable that competition like the Beats Pill+, but is admittedly a bit less full-featured than that model, lacking distinct woofers and tweeters. Still, for the money the performance here is in the right neighborhood, and the robust construction will let you feel confident about using the Flip 4 in all manner of environments.
Perfect speaker for summer? Well, we've still got some other competition to check out, but the JBL Flip 4 is definitely a strong contender.