JBL Flip 4 Review: A 2017 update to an already excellent Bluetooth waterproof speaker

If you already have the Flip 3, there is no reason to upgrade to JBL Flip 4, it is pretty much the same great player with a few upgrades.

JBL Flip series is known for good sound in a moderately small Bluetooth speaker. We’ve reviewed JBL’s Flip 3 in the past and came out impressed.

The JBL Flip 4

The JBL Flip 4

This time around Flip 4 is an upgrade to an already capable Bluetooth speaker. Let’s see how it fares.

Build and Design: 8/10

The Flip 4 isn’t as stylish as some of the crazy Bluetooth players out there, however, it does eschew complexity for simplistic lines and cylindrical design.

If there is a phrase to describe the player, it would be “Rock Solid”. The design is made to last - bumps, scratches, water, nothing deters the Flip 4. Do note the waterproof is IPX7 certified that means it can submerge in water for 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

The outer grill is a tough cloth-like protection, protecting the speaker well

The outer grill is a tough cloth-like protection, protecting the speaker well

There is some odd fun about the cylindrical design than the boxy or round Bluetooth players. The design is meant to be taken anywhere, in a pocket, in the side pocket of a bag to play your tunes on the go. It is a well thought of design for portability when taking it outdoors, like a medium-sized water bottle, and it can remain well hidden in a room in a corner or a window ledge.

Flip 4 on the bed, whole different sound

Flip 4 on the bed, whole different sound

The raised buttons is an intelligent part of the design, meaning you can interact with the speaker without looking at it when needed even if it sits somewhere in a bag pocket and you don’t want to take it out.

The Bluetooth indicator at the back is subtle and very helpful

The Bluetooth indicator at the back is subtle and very helpful

The Flip series has a very satisfying sound when turning on, unlike some really annoying Bluetooth players that talk to in an extremely nasal and annoyingly loud voice. Looking at you Altec Lansing Orbit iMW355.

The Bluetooth range and strength of the Flip 4 is very good, where some speakers would unnecessarily struggle without line of sight, Flip 4 did without breaking a sweat.

The Flip 4 is an excellent well-rounder

The Flip 4 is an excellent well-rounder

The Flip 4 packaging is thoughtful and nice, loved the compact way everything fits and is displayed when you first open the box.

Performance: 9/10

Flip 4 sounds very similar to Flip 3 (read our previous full review of JBL Flip 3). In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell them apart except for subtle differences in sound.

Objectively – The stereo speaker can handle any sound thrown at it quite well. This time around JBL has changed the tech used in this by making this speaker go lower than previous the brethren Flip 3 from 85Hz to 70Hz frequency in the bass section. So what’s the big deal you might ask? While pretty much keeping in-line with the sound of Flip 3, the Flip 4 does seem to have a better lower bass response but more importantly, it can handle the bass tighter than the previous version.

Also, the speaker when played at full volume with demanding bass tracks (listen to the bass drop in Charlie Puth - Betty Boop (Original Mix)) surprisingly didn’t jar under pressure. Flip 3 definitely did give way, but the Flip 4 held its own. Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t feel the lack of deeper bass, essentially frequencies under 70Hz (the deep satisfying bass) will be completely lost.

Watch the Mesmerising effect of JBL Flip 4 Bass radiating fervently

Mids are capable and highs were crisp and clear enough, there is no complain there at all, as JBL seems to have balanced bass well with tight mids and crisp enough highs. You’ll get more mileage by adjusting your EQ though.

Subjectively – I loved the sound. The music is distortion free, the bass, the mids and the highs sound good together. Some songs I felt could do with some tweaking in the mids, which your EQ setting can take care of.

There is, however, one thing to note, the placement of the speaker. When kept on the bed you’ll get boomy bass, when on the table, the sound will be tighter and crisper, corners of the room are perfect for when listening to background music due to the bass and the general throw of the speaker being enhanced.

Call Quality: 7/10

The call quality is good, no echo issues nor muffled voice like cheaper Bluetooth speakers. Though you’ll find the typical “distant mic” effect as the speaker will always be at least a foot away from your face when talking plus ambient noise and you have a typical okay overall experience. This speaker isn’t something you will use for calling typically but isn’t a slouch either.

Battery: 8/10

The battery performance is similar to Flip 3’s performance, though nowhere close to the rated 12 hour battery. You can only get such long battery life on less than 50 percent sound volume and dependent of course on the type of content you are playing, say mp3, FLAC, etc. At a respectable volume above 50 percent, we could get about 5 to 6 hours of usage.

Final word and Price in India

The player is a definite recommend. If you want a quality, solid build and a really good Bluetooth player under Rs 10,000, this is it. The Flip 4 costs Rs 8,500 (approximately) in the market and you get many fun colour options. The black colour always goes for lesser.

In fact, for Rs 1,000 less, the older Flip 3 is an excellent choice too. Both the players are practically identical. However, if you already have Flip 3, there is no reason to upgrade to Flip 4, it is pretty much the same great player with a few upgrades. It is, after all, an evolutionary step but not revolutionary.

Go for Flip 4, if you:-

- Want quality stereo sound

- Want good portability

- Want a rugged waterproof player

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