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JBL Clip 4 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Jan 16, 2023 at 11:16 am
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 18, 2023 at 04:22 pm
JBL Clip 4 Picture
5.9
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
7.3
Podcasts
3.1
Voice Assistant
6.4
Outdoors

The JBL Clip 4 is the fourth generation of the JBL Clip. As its name suggests, it comes with a built-in carabiner hook so you can "clip" it onto your bag or backpack while on the go. It has a slightly different design than previous speakers in the Clip lineup, with a more square-like shape. Overall, it's lightweight and portable, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance to protect it against the elements while you're listening to your favorite music outdoors.

Our Verdict

5.9 Music

Right out-of-the-box, the JBL Clip 4 reproduces voices and lead instruments with clarity and detail, thanks to its balanced performance in the mid-range. There's even a little extra boom in the high-bass to bring bass-heavy genres to life. As a result, it's suitable for listening to different genres. However, given its small size, it can't bring the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass, and it also doesn't get very loud. You can't customize its sound, either.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Portable design.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • No EQ.
  • Lacks low-bass.
5.6 Videos/Movies

The JBL Clip 4 isn't meant for watching videos and movies, but if you pair it to your phone to watch some videos, it can get the job done. Its low latency with iOS and Android devices means that you don't notice any lip-synching issues, and audio is in sync with the video on your screen. Dialogue is reproduced with clarity, too. However, it doesn't get very loud, and there isn't a lot of rumble in the bass for action-packed scenes.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.3 Podcasts

The JBL Clip 4 is decent for podcasts. With a clear and accurate reproduction of voices in the mix, dialogue is easy to follow, so you don't miss a beat in your favorite shows. Its portable design makes it easy to bring with you from room to room. That said, it doesn't get very loud, so if you plan to listen in a larger or more open space, you'll want to make sure you're close to the speaker so you can follow along with your podcasts.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Portable design.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • No EQ.
3.1 Voice Assistant

The JBL Clip 4 doesn't have voice assistant capabilities.

6.4 Outdoors

The JBL Clip 4 is acceptable for outdoor use. Overall, this small and lightweight Bluetooth speaker is really easy to bring with you, whether you're on a hike or chilling at the park. It's sturdy and durable, too, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance to protect it against the elements. Since it doesn't get very loud, you'll want to keep it close by when listening to your favorite tunes.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • IP67 rating.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • No EQ.
  • 5.9 Music
  • 5.6 Videos/Movies
  • 7.3 Podcasts
  • 3.1 Voice Assistant
  • 6.4 Outdoors
  1. Updated Apr 18, 2023: Added the Clip 4 Eco series to the Variants box.
  2. Updated Jan 16, 2023: Updated the review text for clarity and consistency. No changes in test results.
  3. Updated Dec 20, 2022: Changed Track Next/Previous from No to Forward Only (Physical).
  4. Updated Jan 07, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  5. Updated Mar 12, 2021: Updated our Bluetooth latency results with iOS and Android devices.
  6. Updated Jan 18, 2021: After re-evaluating our subjective scoring, we updated the Ease of Use score for this speaker's controls to 'Great'.
  7. Updated Jan 15, 2021: Review published.
  8. Updated Jan 13, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The JBL Clip 4 comes in several color variants: 'Black', 'Blue', 'Gray', 'Green', 'Orange', 'Pink', 'Red', 'Squad', which has a camo motif, 'Teal', 'White', 'Yellow', and 'Blue-Pink'. We tested the black model, and you can see its label here. We expect all color variants to perform similarly to our model.

Also, you can find the Clip 4 Eco series in 'Blue', 'Green', and 'White'. These versions are made of recycled materials.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Clip 4 is the fourth generation of the JBL Clip. Like other speakers from the Clip lineup, it has a locking mechanism on its top side so you can hook it to objects like bags while you're on the go or outdoors. However, this generation is more square-shaped and has a larger logo on its front. Compared to other portable speakers, it doesn't get very loud and lacks low bass, which is fairly common in small speakers. However, its battery life isn't as long as other speakers suitable for outdoor use, like the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2.

See also our recommendations for the best portable Bluetooth speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers under $100, and the best golf cart speakers.

JBL GO 3

The JBL Clip 4 is a slightly better speaker than the JBL GO 3. While both speakers have a great build quality and are very portable, the Clip 4 can reproduce slightly more bass and has a wider soundstage. It also has lower audio latency on iOS and Android, although some apps compensate for this differently. However, the GO 3 can reach max volume with fewer compression artifacts.

Bose SoundLink Micro

The Bose SoundLink Micro is a better speaker for outdoor use than the JBL Clip 4. The Bose has better controls, and while it doesn't get as loud as the JBL, it can reach its max volume with fewer compression artifacts. It also supports your smartphone's voice assistant, it has a companion app that allows you to connect it to other units, and you can pair it with up to two devices at a time. However, the JBL is better built and has a slightly better-balanced sound profile.

JBL Flip 6

The JBL Flip 6 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4. The Flip 6 can get louder than the Clip 4, has a better-balanced sound profile out of the box, and can produce a more extended low bass. You can tweak its sound to your liking using the graphic EQ in its companion app. You can also pair the speaker to two devices at once, which is handy when you need to quickly switch between audio sources. The Clip 4 is smaller and has a built-in carabiner clip, making it easier to transport on the go. When placed flat on its back with its logo facing upwards, its soundstage is perceived as more open and spacious-sounding.

Sony SRS-XB13

The Sony SRS-XB13 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4. The Sony has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a deeper low-bass than the JBL. It can get louder with fewer compression artifacts at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes, and it has a wider-sounding soundstage than the JBL. However, the JBL is somewhat better built and comes with a built-in carabiner hook which can come in handy when you're on the move.

JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4, though they have different strengths. The Flip 5 can get louder and has a better-balanced sound profile that can reproduce a deeper bass than the Clip 4. It also has a longer battery life, lasting over eight hours from a single charge, though this can vary depending on your usage. However, the Clip 4 is smaller and more portable with a built-in carabiner hook. It also has a wider-sounding soundstage than the Flip 5 and is better built.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4 overall, though you may prefer one over the other depending on your listening habits. The Charge 5 offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce deeper bass than the Clip 4. It can also get louder and can last over 14 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage. That said, the Clip 4 is smaller and more portable thanks to its built-in carabiner hook. It also offers a wider-sounding soundstage.

Anker Soundcore 3

The Anker Soundcore 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4 overall. The Anker has a customizable sound profile, thanks to the graphic EQ and presets available in its companion app. It can get louder than the JBL and has a longer battery life, though this can vary depending on usage. However, the JBL is smaller and more portable than the Anker. The JBL is also better built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust-tight and immersible in a meter of water for 30 minutes.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4. The Ultimate Ears has a better build quality, and due to its 360-degree design, it has a wider, more spacious-feeling soundstage, especially as it's in stereo. It also has a better-balanced sound profile, can get much louder, and has longer-lasting continuous battery life. However, the JBL has lower latency on iOS and Android.

Anker Soundcore 2

The JBL Clip 4 is better for most uses than the Anker Soundcore 2. Both speakers struggle to reproduce low-bass, but the JBL has a more extended low-bass than the Anker. Also, the JBL has a better soundstage. However, the Anker has a longer battery life and supports voice assistants from your smartphone. It can also play stereo content, unlike the JBL, which has to downmix this audio into mono.

Sony SRS-XB12

The Sony SRS-XB12 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4 overall. The Sony has less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volume levels. It supports voice assistants through your smartphone. It can also last over 13 hours from a single charge, though this can depend on your usage, and your experience may differ. That said, the JBL can produce a more extended low-bass. It also comes with a built-in hook you can use to clip it to your bag.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4 overall. The Ultimate Ears can get louder with less compression at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner when you blast the speaker. It has a more balanced sound profile that can produce a slightly deeper bass. It also has a long-lasting battery life of over 22 hours from a single charge, unlike the JBL's 5.5 hours. The JBL is smaller and has a built-in carabiner hook, making it easier to transport. It also has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices.

Sony SRS-XB23

The Sony SRS-XB23 is a better speaker for outdoor use than the JBL Clip 4. The Sony has better controls and a better-balanced sound profile. Since it's a 360-degree speaker, it can reproduce a wider soundstage. It also has a better battery life, and you can use your smartphone's voice assistant with it. It even has an app with a graphic EQ so you can tweak its sound to your liking.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4. The Anker has a more balanced sound profile, and it's more customizable thanks to the graphic EQ in its companion app. Also, it has a longer battery life than the JBL and can get louder. However, the JBL's soundstage is perceived as more open, though its bass can sound a bit muddy. Although both speakers are outstandingly portable, the JBL has a clip that lets you attach it to your bag.

Sonos Roam/Roam SL

The Sonos Roam is a better speaker than the JBL Clip 4. The Sonos has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, and it gets louder. It also has a companion app with bass and treble adjustments and supports voice assistants.

JBL JR POP

The JBL JR POP and the JBL Clip 4 are similar speakers, so depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. The Clip 4 is better built and has a more neutral sound profile. However, the JR POP is smaller and has a kid-friendly design. While it doesn't get as loud as the Clip 4, it has less compression when you play it at max volume.

iFox iF012

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the JBL Clip 4 or the iFox iF012. The JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass than the iFox. It also has a built-in carabiner hook to help transport it and has lower Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices. However, the iFox can get a bit louder with less compression present at max volume, so audio quality doesn't degrade as much at louder volumes. You can also use the iFox to accept and decline phone calls, and it comes with a removable suction cup and carabiner hook, which some users may prefer.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Clip 4 has a squarish design that can easily fit in your hand. It comes in several colors, so you can find a style that best suits your preferences, and it has a carabiner hook built-in so that you can securely hang it from your bag. It also has a large JBL logo on its front side, which some users may find a little in-your-face. For another small and portable speaker that you can hook to your bag, check out the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore, which comes with a built-in carrying strap and a removable carabiner hook.

9.5
Design
Portability
Volume
29 inยณ (468 cmยณ)
Weight
0.4 lbs (0.2 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This battery-powered speaker is small and lightweight, so it's incredibly portable. It's designed to be taken along with you when you're out and about and comes with a built-in carabiner hook which you can use to clip the speaker to your bag.

8.3
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Dust-Proof (IP6x)
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
Unspecified

It has an impressive build quality. Most of the speaker is wrapped in tight netting, aside from its rubber base, and the built-in carabiner hook is thick and sturdy. It also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance that certifies it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Check out the iFox iF012 shower speaker for a small and well-built speaker with a removable carabiner clip and suction cup.

6.6
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Forward Only (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The controls are simple and easy to use. It has dedicated buttons to turn it on/off, play/pause audio, pair it via Bluetooth, and adjust the volume. You can also press the play button twice to skip to the next track, but there isn't a way to go to a previous track. The buttons are easy to press, and there's a chime that plays each time you increase the volume. There's also a chime that plays while you're pairing a device. A white light appears to let you know when the speaker is on, and it flashes to let you know when you're pairing with a device. Since this speaker doesn't have a microphone built-in, you can't use its buttons to answer and end phone calls.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Clip 4 speaker
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Sound
5.8
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.54
Std. Err.
3.35 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
93.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
13.3 kHz

This speaker can reproduce voices and lead instruments with clarity, thanks to its balanced mids, making it suitable for listening to lots of different music genres, podcasts, and audiobooks. There's even a touch of extra boom in the high-bass to accentuate genres like EDM and hip-hop. That said, given its small size, it can't bring the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.4
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
1.12 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

Unlike the Anker Soundcore 2, this speaker has to downmix stereo content to mono, which isn't as immersive. That said, when placed flat on its back with the logo facing up, it has fantastic directivity, resulting in a wide and natural-sounding soundstage.

5.3
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
79.2 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.13 dB

Given the speaker's smaller size, it's not a surprise that it doesn't get very loud. It fills smaller rooms with sound, but it isn't intended for larger or more open spaces. There's a bit of compression as you turn it to max volume, too, so you'll notice some pumping artifacts in the mix as you crank it up.

Active Features
6.3
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
5.5 hrs
Charge Time
2.7 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
USB-C
Battery Powered
Yes

The manufacturer advertises that the speaker's battery life is close to 10 hours, but it's around 5.5 hours. Battery life can vary depending on your usage habits, like how loud the volume is, so your experience may vary slightly. That said, the speaker turns off after roughly 20 minutes with no audio playing, which helps conserve battery life.

0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
0
Active Features
App
App Name
No App
iOS
No
Android
No
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
No
Party Mode
No
Multi-Room
No
Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

Aside from its USB-C charging port, this speaker doesn't have any wired inputs.

8.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Version
5.1
Bluetooth iOS Latency
92 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
39 ms
Bluetooth Range
237.9 ft (72.5 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
No

This speaker has great Bluetooth connectivity. Its range is impressive, so the speaker can pick up a signal even if your device is further away. Also, thanks to its low latency, you don't have any issues with lip-synching when you watch videos and movies. Some apps compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience may vary slightly.

0
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
No Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
No
Apple AirPlay
No
AirPlay Latency
N/A
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A