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JBL Clip 4 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Jan 07, 2022 at 03:05 pm
JBL Clip 4 Picture
5.9
Music
5.6
Videos/Movies
7.3
Podcasts
3.1
Voice Assistant
6.4
Outdoors
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Clip 4 is a small, portable speaker with a built-in carrying hook. It's easy to take with you on the go since it's battery-powered and easily fits in your hand. It has a somewhat boomy sound profile that can sound a little muddy. That said, like most speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce thumpy low-bass. Its around 5.5-hour battery life falls short of the advertised up to 10 hours, which means you may need to recharge it more often, though this can vary depending on your usage habits. However, it has great build quality and is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be fully dust-tight and submersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, so you don't have to worry about it getting wet or dirty when taking it outdoors with you.

Our Verdict

5.9 Music

The JBL Clip 4 is sub-par for music. There's some extra boom in the bass range that can muddy vocals and lead instruments. Also, like most small speakers, it lacks a thumpy low-bass, and there aren't any sound customization features like a graphic EQ you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It also doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts present at max volume that can affect the quality of your audio at louder volume levels.

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

The JBL Clip 4 is disappointing for videos and movies. It struggles to produce low bass, and it has a somewhat boomy sound profile overall that can sound a little muddy. While its soundstage is wide and spacious, it has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it. The speaker also struggles to get loud, and there are compression artifacts at max volume. That said, it has low audio latency on iOS and Android, but some apps compensate for this differently.

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

The JBL Clip 4 is decent for podcasts. It's very portable thanks to its small design, and it has great directivity when placed flat on its back, meaning you can hear your audio clearly from most angles. However, it has a slightly boomy sound profile that can make voices and dialogue sound a bit muddy, and it struggles to get loud. It also can't be paired with more than one device at a time, and you can't link it with other speakers in your home.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud.
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. It's outstandingly portable and has a built-in hook so that you can hang it on your bag when you're on the go. It also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. However, it doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts at max volume that can affect audio quality. Also, its battery performance is unremarkable, and you may need to recharge it if you're using it for a full day outside.

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 Jan 07, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Updated Mar 12, 2021: Updated our Bluetooth latency results with iOS and Android devices.
  3. Updated Jan 18, 2021: After re-evaluating our subjective scoring, we updated the Ease of Use score for this speaker's controls to 'Great'.
  4. Updated Jan 15, 2021: Review published.
  5. Updated Jan 13, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Clip 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 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

The JBL Clip 4 is incredibly portable. This battery-powered speaker is small and lightweight. 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

The JBL Clip 4 has an impressive build quality. A tight netting wraps most of the speaker, a thick and sturdy built-in carabiner hook, and a rubber base. 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.

5.9
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
No
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL Clip 4 has simple controls that are 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

The JBL Clip 4's frequency response accuracy is middling. When placed flat on its back with its logo facing upwards, it has a somewhat boomy sound profile. However, the extra boom in the bass range can muddy vocals and lead instruments, and like most small speakers, it lacks low bass, so you can't feel the thump and rumble in bass-heavy music like hip-hop or EDM. Unfortunately, there aren't any sound customization features like a graphic EQ or presets you can use to adjust its sound to your liking.

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

The JBL Clip 4's soundstage is satisfactory. Unlike the Anker Soundcore 2, it 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

The JBL Clip 4's dynamics are disappointing. Like most speakers its size, it doesn't get very loud, so it isn't suitable for parties. There's also some compression present at max volume that can affect the quality of your audio when it's pushed to its louder volume levels.

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

The JBL Clip 4 has an acceptable battery performance. While the manufacturer advertises that its battery life lasts close to 10 hours, we measured 5.5 hours. However, battery life can vary according to usage, so your experience may vary. Luckily, 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
Siri
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, the JBL Clip 4 doesn't have any wired inputs.

8.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
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

The JBL Clip 4 has great Bluetooth connectivity. While you can't pair it with more than one device at a time, it has low latency on iOS. Its latency on Android is even lower, making it suitable for watching videos. That said, some apps compensate for latency differently, so your experience may vary.

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

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.

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. Just 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 it 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 comes with 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.

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.

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.

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 it supports voice assistants from your smartphone. It can also play stereo content, unlike the JBL, which has to downmix this audio into mono.

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 it 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.

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 that you can tweak its sound to your liking.

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.

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 it 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.

Sonos Roam

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 it supports voice assistants.

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 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.

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 comes with 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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