The king of the ultra-portability?
Are you looking for a speaker what you can take with you everywhere?
Listen to music while doing housework, going on a bike tour or hiking with your friends?
Then you definitely need some lightweight, small, durable one, something from the ultra-portable category.
The only problem is that there are 1500 different speakers just on the Amazon in this category.
So the choice can be very overwhelming, is it impossible to choose one?
Almost, but it is not hopeless.
I spent my last weeks using the JBL Clip 2, tested in many different situations, pushed it to its limits to discover the advantages and disadvantages of it.
The JBL Clip 2 is a strong player in the ultra-portable category however the question is that if it’s the best choice or there are better options on the market?
Let’s find this out in this JBL Clip 2 in-depth review.
- 20 feet
- 70% volume: 13 hours 20 minutes
- Maximum volume: 3 hours 40 minutes
- IPX7 certification
- It can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes
- Lightweight, easy to carry around
- Durable, waterproof design
- Good battery life
- The carabiner clip is very handy
- Weak Bluetooth range
- Lacking bass
- Hard to reach the charging port
- No battery indicator
JBL Clip 2 Review Video
Many color options
At the date of this review (14.09.2017), the Clip 2 can be bought for around 50 dollars and available in 5 colors.
If you are not happy with the five original colors, the JBL created a special edition lineup which provides 6 additional color combinations, so everyone can find the color they like.
The JBL claims that the Clip 2 is an ultra-light, ultra-rugged and ultra-powerful portable speaker.
That’s a lot, so let’s check what is in the box.
The box, accessories
The speaker comes in a box with a translucent plastic front, using a background which imitates that the speaker is splashing into water.
This implies that the Clip 2 is waterproof which is a big plus in terms of portability.
Besides the user manual, the package contains only a USB cable which has a JBL like orange color.
Sturdy, waterproof design
The Clip 2 looks clean, minimalist and it has a sporty design.
You can see immediately that it is engineered for outdoor activities, not to sit in a living room.
It is a small disadvantage that it cannot stand, you have to clip it somewhere or lean it to something if you want the speaker to face to you while you are listening.
Which can be cumbersome for example if you are watching movie in the bed.
The speaker shaped like a small drum which fits really well into your palm.
The back of it covered with a matte finished rubberized plastic, which seems to be very durable and nice to touch.
The front is completely covered with the speaker grille, which has a nice texture and looks good especially in this gray color.
It has five buttons, a power and a Bluetooth button on the right side and two volumes and a phone button on the left side.
What really boosts up the Clip 2’s portability is that it got IPX7 protection which means it is not just splashproof but completely waterproof.
It is rare that a Bluetooth speaker can be submerged into water but the Clip 2 can be put into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes.
So it can be used as a shower speaker and in addition, if you are a fan of canoeing, jet ski, SUP or skiing you can take it with you and you can even answer phone calls with it while your phone remains safely in a waterproof bag.
Does it float? Yes, it does.
What makes the Clip 2 even better that it floats, so you can easily rescue it if you accidentally drop it into the water.
However, it does not float on its back so for example, you cannot listen to music from it while it is floating in a pool.
As the name implies, the most interesting unique design element of the JBL Clip 2 is the new carabiner clip.
Differently from the previous model, the clip is made from durable metal instead of plastic and this time, what is a big improvement, it is replaceable.
So if it breaks or if you prefer a bigger one or one with a different shape you can easily replace it.
To be honest firstly when I saw the clip on the speaker I did not see how useful it is, however after some days of testing I can say this small item makes the speaker the king of the portability.
The most obvious usage is to hook it onto your belt or backpack and listen to music while you are doing housework, hiking or cycling but if you take it to the beach you can also clip it onto the beach umbrella.
So it is very versatile but you cannot use it for everything, there is a funny warning in the product manual that the carabiner cannot be used for climbing.
I do not know who would ever think of that but to make sure they translated this sentence into 20 different languages.
How to setup
If you press the power button the speaker turns on playing a short starting sound and a blue indicator LED lights up.
If the speaker has not been paired to any device yet it starts automatically in pairing mode, so the blue led light is blinking and the device is discoverable, you can easily find it with your phone or computer.
However, if you want to connect a second device then you have to switch the speaker manually to pairing mode.
You can do it by quickly pressing the Bluetooth button.
Till you pair your second device I suggest turning off the Bluetooth on your first device otherwise the speaker will automatically connect to it and quit from pairing mode.
If the connection was successful, the speaker plays a quick confirmation sound.
When your devices are paired then you do not have to care about the connection anymore, they will automatically connect if you turn on the speaker.
Two devices can be connected to the Clip 2 in the same time, which works well, you can easily change between them just by pausing the music on one device and starting it on the other one.
Which is cool that it handles the phone calls really well when I played music from my computer and in the meantime, I got a phone call the speaker automatically changed to connect to my phone so I could answer the call.
If you have any problem with the speaker, you can reset it to the initial state by pressing and holding the volume + and phone buttons for more than two seconds.
You can also check my JBL Clip 2 user manual and how-to video for a detailed how-to guide.
Easy to use, however limited music control possibility
With the volume up and down buttons you can set the volume level in 15 steps, so you can adjust it perfectly to any situation.
By pressing the phone button you can answer phone calls.
The JBL Clip 2 does not have dedicated music control buttons but it has limited control capabilities.
You can pause/play the music by quickly pressing the phone button and jump to the next song by double pressing it.
Built-in audio cable
Besides the Bluetooth connectivity the speaker has an integrated 3.5mm audio cable, what you can plug into the headphone jack, so you can play music from any device which does not support Bluetooth.
The audio cable is threaded along the outside of the speaker, so it does not deteriorate the portability.
On the one hand, this integrated design is nice because you do not have to buy an audio cable and it is always with you, however on the other hand if the cable gets damaged, you are not able to replace it and you lose this connectivity option.
Battery. Is it the best I can get?
So it is lightweight, durable and water-resistant, nice so far, however, another cornerstone of the portability is the battery life.
Let’s see if it can meet or even exceed the expectations.
JBL claims 8 hours of battery life which is a significant update compared to the 5 hours of the predecessor and it is also a decent number compared to the competitors.
The speaker got a 730mAh lithium battery and the actual playtime varies a lot depending on the volume level.
In my test where I played various types of songs at around 70% volume, I was able to get 13 hours and 20 minutes playtime which is really impressive.
Especially considering that this volume level is absolutely fine for indoor usage.
You only need higher if you use it in a larger living room or in an outdoor environment.
However, you have to keep in mind that if you use the speaker on full volume then this time drastically decreases.
In my test, I was able to get 3 hours 40 minutes play time on maximum volume.
When the battery is running out the notification led turns to red and the speaker starts playing notification sound repeatedly.
Unfortunately, after that, you only have 5-15 minutes till the speaker turns off.
No battery indicator
I wish it notified earlier, especially because the Clip 2 does not have any battery level indicator, so you do not know how much power remained.
Some phones can display the speaker battery level in their notification bar, however, it is not available on all devices and operation systems.
The speaker can be charged with a micro USB cable which is included in the package.
The charging port is covered with a waterproof door and one minor complaint is that it lies a bit too deep in the device, therefore it can be cumbersome to connect the cable.
I think it could have been designed better.
According to the JBL, a full charge takes 2.5 hours.
Okay, so to summarize I am happy with the battery life, it is decent but not the best what you can get.
There are speakers on the market with better batteries like the Anker Classic (A7908), Anker Soundcore 2 or the Sony SRS-XB10.
However, on the other hand, they are heavier than the Clip 2 so I think this battery life is totally fine for its weight and size.
In my outdoor test I got around 20 feet bluetooth range which is below the average.
So if you plan to use a bluetooth device which is far from the speaker like for example you want to play the music from your desktop while carrying the speaker around the house then the Clip 2 is not the best choice for you.
Wireless daisy chain
It’s worth mentioning that if you have two Clip 2 you can connect them together to have an amplified sound level.
You can do this by connecting your first speaker to the Bluetooth device then press the Bluetooth button for more than 5 seconds on both speakers.
Unfortunately, it does not support stereo mode.
JBL Clip 2 Sound Test
Behind the grille, a single mono transducer produces the audio.
The volume level of the speaker is fine; it provides what you can expect from this category.
This means the loudness is okay for a smaller room but not enough for a larger space or to play music around a large pool.
Regarding the audio quality the highs and mids sound nice and clean, they are not too harsh.
On maximum volume, you can hear some distortions here or there but it is not common.
Generally speaking, it produces a nice balanced sound and you do not have the feeling that the sound comes from a small box.
However, the bass is quite weak you do not really get more what the smallest speakers provide like the JBL Go.
You can find the full comparison of the two speakers here: JBL Clip 2 vs JBL Go - Which One to Buy?
It is true that a powerful bass cannot be expected from these small speakers however there are some speakers with similar size like the Creative Muvo 2c or the Sony SRS-XB10 which produces bigger bass sound.
So if you mainly listen to bass heavy songs or you are looking for something with big bass then the JBL Clip 2 is not the best choice for you.
The JBL Clip 2 performed well in each aspect in some of them it excelled.
The JBL kept its promises and if you want to buy a speaker which is durable, waterproof and can accompany you the whole day you cannot find more compelling options on the market.
The carabiner clip on it is a unique attachment way and though there are some other solutions on the market I think so far this is the best one.
It is very convenient to use, durable and replaceable.
I can really recommend this speaker, it is a great choice especially for outdoors and by me, it won the ‘King of the Portability’ title.
The King of the portability
Lightweight, easy to carry around
Durable, waterproof design
Good battery life
The carabiner clip is very handy
Weak Bluetooth range
Hard to reach the charging port
No battery indicator
In the UE portfolio, the UE Roll 2 is a good alternative to the JBL Clip 2. It is more expensive, bigger and not so portable, however also waterproof and provides better sound.
It is worth to mention the Sony SRS-XB10 which is a durable solid speaker with better basses. However, it is heavier, only splashproof and it did not get so convenient attachment option like the carabiner on the Clip 2.
Dimensions (H x W x D): 141 x 94 x 42 (mm)
Frequency response: 120Hz – 20kHz (-6dB)
Output power: 1 x 3W
Bluetooth version: 4.2
How does it compare to other speakers?
JBL Clip 2 vs UE Roll 2
The UE Roll 2 is one of the biggest competitors of the JBL Clip 2 since this is the smallest, ultra-portable speaker of the UE.
The two speakers have many similarities, both have rounded shape and are solid, durable devices.
In terms of the size, the JBL Clip 2 is the smaller, more portable model.
The UE Roll 2 is also IPX7 water protected and has a built-in attachment option: an elastic cord.
It does not float on the water like the Clip 2 but it comes with a small inflatable life preserver which helps the speaker to float, so you can listen to music on it while it is floating.
It has a better Bluetooth range 50 feet compared to the 20 feet range of the Clip 2.
However, it does not have a microphone and has a very limited music control capability, you can only adjust the volume level.
In terms of battery life, the Roll 2 slightly falls behind the Clip 2, at 70% volume it provides 11 hours 30 minutes while the Clip 2 provides 13 hours 20 minutes.
Regarding the sound quality, it is around 30% louder and provides a fuller, richer sound.
You can check the detailed comparison of the two speakers here: UE Roll 2 vs JBL Clip 2 - The Big Comparision
JBL Clip 2 vs Sony SRS-XB10
Both speakers are covered by a matte finished, rubberized plastic and are solid, durable devices.
Unlike the Clip 2, the XB10 is not fully waterproof, it is only splash-proof, so it cannot be submerged into water.
It also has a detachable strap what you can use to hang the speaker on your bike or to attach it to your backpack.
However, it is not so versatile and useful as the carabiner of the Clip 2.
As an extra, the Sony XB10 features an NFC chip which makes the pairing process much easier but it has a similarly weak 20 feet Bluetooth range as the Clip 2.
In terms of battery life, the XB10 is the winner with its 15 hours playtime at 70% volume compared to the 13 hours 20 minutes of the Clip 2.
Regarding the sound quality, the XB10 has a much more powerful punchy bass, however, it tends to distort at higher volume levels and its mids feel a bit muddy.
You can check the detailed comparison of the two speakers here: JBL Clip 2 vs Sony SRS-XB10 - Which One To Buy?
JBL Clip 2 vs JBL Go
The JBL Go is the smaller brother of the Clip 2 so it is lighter and more portable, however, it does not have any attachment option, only a loop what you can use to attach a carabiner or a lanyard to the speaker.
One big difference between the two speakers that the JBL Go did not get any water protection so it is not so ideal outdoor speaker as the Clip 2.
In terms of Bluetooth range, the Go is far superior compared to the Clip 2 with its 60 feet range versus the 20 feet of the Clip 2.
The battery of the Go is much weaker, while the Clip 2 provides 13 hours 20 minutes playtime at 70% volume the Go provides only 5 hours 50 minutes.
Regarding the sound quality, they have quite a similar sound, the Clip 2 has slightly more low and better treble so it sounds more spacious compared to the Go.
You can check the detailed comparison of the two speakers here: JBL Clip 2 vs JBL Go comparison