The JBL Flip 4 promises a nice sound in a compact size, with a durable body, and a full water protection.
Does it sound good, right?
However, the question is that it is just good marketing or the Flip 4 is really the ideal, compact, outdoor speaker.
I tested several attributes of the speaker to find this out, so let’s see my results in this in-depth JBL Flip 4 review.
JBL Flip 4 review video
The Box, Accessories
The speaker comes in a quality, hard paper box with only a micro USB cable included.
So it is pretty light on accessories but it is not a surprise, it is quite common among the Bluetooth speakers.
At the date of this review, it costs around $80 and can be bought in 6 different colors: black, blue, grey, red, teal and white.
The Flip 4 got a similar design as the former model, which means it has a cylindrical body made from durable materials.
You can see right off the bat that it is designed to be an outdoor speaker.
It got a full, mesh fabric coverage with plastic strengthens at the edges, so likely it can survive some accidental drops as well.
The build quality is excellent, it feels well-made and durable.
You cannot find any cheap plastic on this speaker.
I think it looks good, it’s a pretty stylish and youthful device especially if you choose it in a vibrant color.
Its size and weight are ideal, it is not too big and heavy.
Thanks to its cylindrical shape, you can easily grab it and carry around in your hand.
You don’t have to worry about dropping it since it comes with a shoelace style lanyard which gives an extra security wearing it on your wrist.
It also fits well into any drink holder slots of cars or bags and using its lanyard you can hang it on hooks or the handlebar of your bike.
So in terms of portability, the Flip 4 is superb, it is not a bookshelf speaker, it was really designed to accompany you wherever you go.
Undoubtedly, the coolest part of this speaker is the two exposed, external passive radiators at the sides.
They look great while moving to the beats of the songs, you can literally see the music not just hear it.
Fortunately, they seem to be quite durable and covered by hard plastic protectors, so you don’t have to worry that they get damaged.
To have a stable base, the speaker got a wide, plastic line at the back, which stops it from rolling over on flat surfaces.
It houses the Power and the JBL Connect+ buttons along with the battery indicator LEDs.
The speaker got four additional control buttons: Bluetooth, Volume Up/Down, Play, which are pretty stylish since they are large, embossed signs over the speaker grille.
I think the buttons are great, they are large and clicky enough.
The Flip 4 does not have dedicated music control buttons and only provides a limited music control capability.
By pressing the Play button, you can pause/play the music and you can jump to the next song by double pressing it.
However, it is not possible to go back to the previously played song or to forward/backward in a song.
As an extra, it got a built-in microphone, so it can be used as a speakerphone to answer phone calls and in addition, you can also control Siri or Google Now with it.
The one major improvement of the Flip 4 over the former model that it got an IPX7 water protection.
This means that it is completely waterproof, it can be submerged into 1-meter-deep water for 30 minutes.
So with its compact size and water protection, the Flip 4 is a great beach speaker, you only have to be careful to do not drop it all the way in since it does not float on the water.
To ensure the water protection, the charging and the audio jack input ports are covered by a large waterproof flap.
The design of the flap is great, it is easy to open and close and it seals correctly.
How to Setup
The setup of the speaker is easy, although it does not have an NFC chip, the pairing process and the connection is seamless.
It supports the JBL Connect mobile app, however, the functionality of the app is very limited.
While for example, the mobile app of the Bose does the whole pairing process automatically instead of you, here the app only gives some guidance about how you should do it.
The only notable setting of the app is that you can select the behavior of the Play button, whether it should play/pause the music or activate the voice assistant of your phone.
Connectivity, Bluetooth range
If you have two JBL Flip 4 speakers, you can connect them together for an amplified sound.
Even the stereo mode is supported, so you can set one speaker to play the left and another one to play the right channel.
As a nice extra, the Flip 4 has a so-called ‘Party mode’ which means with the new JBL Connect+ feature, it can be connected to more than 100 other JBL Connect+ compatible speakers.
The Bluetooth range of the Flip 4 is exceptionally long.
In my test, I measured 200 feet Bluetooth range, which is really impressive, likely you won’t have any connectivity problems with it.
If you plan to use the speaker far from the Bluetooth source, then the Flip 4 is a really good choice.
It is also equipped with an audio jack input port, so it can be connected via cable.
The Flip 4 has a 3000 mAh lithium-ion battery and according to the manufacturer, it takes 3.5 hours to fully charge it.
In my test when I played various types of songs on the speaker at 70% volume, I measured 6 hours 40 minutes play time while repeating the same test at maximum volume I got 3 hours 10 minutes.
This battery life is okay but not outstanding, for example, the Anker SoundCore 2 has 8 hours of play time at full volume with a similar size.
However, I think the performance of the Flip 4 is still decent since the speakers of the competitors like the XB21 of the Sony or the Wonderboom of the UE have a shorter battery life.
The Flip 4 has a battery indicator LED, which shows the battery level in four steps.
This provides a quite precise battery level information, which is very welcome since by many speakers you do not get any information about the current battery level.
JBL Flip 4 Sound Test
Under the hood, the Flip 4 has two 8W transducers and dual passive radiators.
The sound quality is pretty decent, it has a nice, well-balanced sound with no distortions.
The highs are crisp, the mids are present and it also has a quite good bass production which can hit even some deep, low notes.
It nicely delivers, what you can expect from this size category.
Cranking it up, it can get pretty loud, however, it produces the best sound at around 70% volume.
Above this, the highs are getting over-boosted and become very harsh, not pleasant to listen to.
So it is recommended for a mid-sized room or for a smaller garden.
Bose SoundLink Mini II vs JBL Flip 4 sound test video
Overall, I am very impressed with the Flip 4, it is a great compact speaker.
The build quality is good, it feels solid and durable in hand.
Thanks to its water protection and strengthen enclosure it is an excellent outdoor and beach speaker.
Its sound quality is outstanding one of the bests in this size category.
The Flip 4 is highly recommended, this is my best pick under 100 dollars.
Best Pick Under $100
Solid, durable design
Nice, well-balanced sound
Excellent Bluetooth range
More music control buttons would be nice
Currently, one of the main competitors of the Flip 4 is the Sony SRS-XB21.
It has a similar size, weight, and design.
It is also solid, durable and completely waterproof.
One of its benefit over the Flip 4 that it floats on the water, so for water sports it can be a better choice.
As a plus, it has a built-in NFC chip and two LED lights on the front.
However, the Flip 4 has a better battery life and comparing their sound, the Flip 4 has a more powerful sound, the XB21 lacks in the mid-range.
JBL Flip 4 vs Sony SRS-XB21 sound test video
One good budget option can be the Anker SoundCore 2, which is also a solid, compact outdoor speaker and costs around the half as the Flip 4.
It is only splash proof but has a much longer battery life.
The sound of the SoundCore 2 is also clear and well-balanced, however, the Flip 4 has a bigger sound with more powerful lows.
JBL Flip 4 vs Anker SoundCore 2 sound test video
Transducer: 2 x 40mm
Output power: 2 x 8W
Frequency response: 70Hz – 20kHz
Dimensions (H x W x D): 68 x 175 x 70 (mm)