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JBL Flip 4 Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Nov 08, 2021 at 11:09 am
JBL Flip 4 Picture
6.3
Music
6.0
Videos/Movies
7.2
Podcasts
5.2
Voice Assistant
7.0
Outdoors
This speaker was replaced by the JBL Flip 5
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Speakerphone
Yes
Voice Assistant
Yes
Battery Powered
Yes

The JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker is a small portable speaker with a removable carrying strap to help transport it. It comes in many different colors and has a fairly well-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It supports voice assistants through your smartphone and is rated IPX7 for dust and water resistance when the flap protecting its inputs is tightly sealed, certifying it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, like most speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, which may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music. It also doesn't feature any sound customization features like a graphic EQ or presets to tweak its sound to your liking.

Our Verdict

6.3 Music

The JBL Flip 4 isn't bad for music. It has a well-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It has a well-balanced mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are accurately reproduced in the mix, though higher-pitched vocals may sound a bit dull at times. That said, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music, and there isn't a graphic EQ to tweak its sound. It also doesn't get very loud, and there's some compression present at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clean at louder volumes.

Pros
  • Can pair to two devices at once.
  • Incredibly portable.
  • Balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
6.0 Videos/Movies

The JBL Flip 4 is passable for videos and movies. It has low Bluetooth latency with iOS and Android devices, so the audio you hear is in sync with the visuals on your screen. That said, some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary. Its balanced mid-range ensures voices and dialogue sound clear and present in the mix, though they may sound a bit dark at times. However, its soundstage may be perceived as narrow and directional. It also struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the thump and rumble in action-packed scenes.

Pros
  • Low latency with iOS and Android devices.
  • Balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Lacks low-bass.
7.2 Podcasts

The JBL Flip 4 is decent for podcasts. Its balanced mid-range ensures voices sound clear and present in the mix, making it suitable for vocal-centric content like podcasts and audiobooks. That said, higher-pitched voices may sound a bit dark at times. It's incredibly portable thanks to its small and lightweight design, so you can easily carry it along with you in one hand. It can also be paired to up to two devices at once, which is handy when you need to quickly switch between audio sources. That said, there's some compression present at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clean at louder volumes.

Pros
  • Can pair to two devices at once.
  • Incredibly portable.
  • Balanced mid-range.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
5.2 Voice Assistant

The JBL Flip 4 is disappointing for voice assistants. Since it doesn't have any voice assistants built-in, it uses those featured on your smartphone. It does a decent job of understanding your commands from far away and is great at understanding you in noisier environments. Unfortunately, there isn't a mute microphone button to use when you no longer want it to listen to you.

Pros
  • Great ambient noise performance.
Cons
  • Compression artifacts present at max volume.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
7.0 Outdoors

The JBL Flip 4 is decent for outdoor use. It's rated IPX7 for water resistance when the flap protecting its inputs is tightly sealed, so it's certified to be immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It's incredibly portable thanks to its light weight, small size, and removable carrying strap, so you can easily take it outdoors with you. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and there's some compression present at max volume that may affect the clarity of your audio during louder listening sessions. It also struggles to reproduce low-bass, which may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop or EDM.

Pros
  • IPX7 Rating for water resistance.
  • Can pair to two devices at once.
  • Incredibly portable.
Cons
  • No graphic EQ.
  • Doesn't get very loud.
  • Lacks low-bass.
  • 6.3 Music
  • 6.0 Videos/Movies
  • 7.2 Podcasts
  • 5.2 Voice Assistant
  • 7.0 Outdoors
  1. Updated Nov 08, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Nov 04, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The JBL Flip 4 is a cylindrical speaker with a very similar design to the JBL Flip 5. You can place it horizontally and vertically. It also comes with a removable carrying strap and can be purchased in many different colors and styles.

9.3
Design
Portability
Volume
50 inยณ (816 cmยณ)
Weight
1.1 lbs (0.5 kg)
Power Source
Battery & USB
One-Hand Carry
Yes

The JBL Flip 4 is remarkably portable. It's small, lightweight, and comes with a removable carrying strap, making it easy to carry along with you when you're on the move.

7.5
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
Submersible (IPx7)
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
No
Floats In Water
Unspecified

The JBL Flip 4 has a good build quality. It feels solid overall and is wrapped in a tight fabric that doesn't seem like it can rip easily. Its controls are rubber, and there's a rubber strip that extends along the speaker, covering its power and JBL Connect+ buttons. Also, it's rated IPX7 for water resistance only when the rubber flap protecting its inputs is tightly sealed, so it's certified to be immersed in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

7.6
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
Yes (Physical)
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Forward Only (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The JBL Flip 4's controls are good and easy to press. You can use the play button to play/pause your audio and double press it to skip to your next track, though there isn't a way to backtrack. You can even program it to activate the voice assistants on your phone via its JBL Portable companion app. However, doing so will no longer let you use the play button for other functions. There's a JBL Connect+ button that you can use to connect the Flip 4 to multiple other JBL Connect+ speakers. Unfortunately, this means you can't connect the Flip 4 to PartyBoost-compatible speakers like the JBL Flip 5.

There's a chime to inform you of when you've reached its max volume level. The power and Bluetooth buttons also have light indicators to inform you of their status, as well as the speaker's battery level.

Design
In The Box

  • JBL Flip 4 speaker
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Micro-USB to USB-A charging cable

Sound
6.3
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
0.13
Std. Err.
3.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
72.3 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.8 kHz

The JBL Flip 4 has a passable frequency response accuracy. While placed horizontally, it has a fairly balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. Its balanced mid-range ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. That said, higher-pitched voices and instruments may sound a bit dark at times. Unfortunately, like most speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music. There also isn't a graphic EQ you can use to tweak the Flip 4's sound. If you're looking for a similar speaker that can produce a more extended low-bass, check out the JBL Flip 5.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.2
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.67 dB
Stereo
Yes (when horizontal)

The JBL Flip 4's soundstage is decent. It plays stereo content when placed horizontally. That said, if you place the speaker vertically, the tweeters separating the right and left channels don't switch to mono, and you can't hear the channel separation as clearly. Its directivity is just okay, so its soundstage is perceived as somewhat narrow and directional.

6.1
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
86.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
3.30 dB

The JBL Flip 4 has an unremarkable dynamics performance. It doesn't get very loud, and there's quite a bit of compression present at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clean at louder volume levels.

Active Features
7.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
9.3 hrs
Charge Time
3.5 hrs
Power Saving
Yes
Charging Port
Micro-USB

The JBL Flip 4's battery performance is good. While it's advertised to last up to 12 hours from a single charge, it lasted a little over nine hours in our tests. That said, battery life can vary depending on your usage habits, so your real-world experience may differ. While there isn't an advertised power-saving feature, the speaker turned off automatically when left inactive for around an hour in our tests.

4.3
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Siri
Yes (Requires Smartphone)
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No
Far-Field Performance
Decent
Ambient Noise Performance
Great

The JBL Flip 4 has a poor voice assistant performance. It supports Google Assistant and Siri through your smartphone since it doesn't have any assistants built-in. That said, it's decent at understanding your commands from far away and does a great job of understanding you in noisier settings. Unfortunately, there isn't a mute microphone button to use when you no longer want it to hear you.

Note: You can set the play button to trigger your voice assistant in the JBL Portable app. However, you can no longer use the play button to play and pause your audio once it's been set up to trigger voice assistants.

6.6
Active Features
App
App Name
JBL Portable
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
No
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
No

The JBL Portable app is alright. It's compatible with both iOS and Android devices. You can use it to program the play button to activate the voice assistants from your phone. However, setting this up will no longer allow you to use the play button to play and pause your audio. You can also use the JBL Connect+ feature to connect other JBL Connect+ speakers when you want to create a stereo pair or when you want your audio to fill a large space without increasing the volume. That said, you can't pair the Flip 4 to JBL speakers that are PartyBoost-compatible, like the JBL Flip 5 or the JBL Charge 5. Unfortunately, there aren't any sound customization features like presets or a graphic EQ to customize the speaker's sound.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
No

Aside from its charging port, the JBL Flip 4 also comes with an AUX input that you can use to wire your devices to the speaker.

9.1
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Bluetooth iOS Latency
36 ms
Bluetooth Android Latency
50 ms
Bluetooth Range
180.4 ft (55.0 m)
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices

The JBL Flip 4 has fantastic Bluetooth connectivity. You can pair it to up to two devices at once, which is handy when you need to quickly switch between audio sources. It also has low latency with iOS and Android devices, making it suitable for watching videos and movies over this connection. 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 Flip 4 comes in eight color variants: Black, Blue, Camouflage, Gray, Ocean Blue, Red, Teal, and White. We expect them to perform similarly. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can find its label here.

If you come across other variants, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The JBL Flip 4 is a small portable Bluetooth speaker with a removable carrying strap to help transport it. Unlike the JBL Flip 5, this small speaker supports voice assistants through your smartphone and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono. It has a balanced sound profile out-of-the-box overall, though it struggles to produce a thumpy low-bass. It also comes with a JBL Connect+ feature you can use to connect it to multiple other JBL Connect+ speakers, like the JBL Charge 4. However, you can't connect it to PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers like the JBL Flip 5 or the JBL Charge 5. Like most JBL speakers we've tested, it also lacks sound customization features like a graphic EQ to adjust its sound to your liking.

See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best JBL speakers, and the best cheap speakers.

JBL Flip 5

The JBL Flip 4 is a more versatile speaker than the JBL Flip 5 overall, though they're very similar and have different strengths. The Flip 4 can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and supports voice assistants through your smartphone. You can also only connect it to JBL speakers that are compatible with JBL Connect+. That said, the Flip 5 can produce a more extended low-bass than the Flip 4 and can only connect to PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers.

JBL Charge 4

The JBL Flip 4 is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 4 overall. The Flip 4 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, which is more immersive. It supports voice assistants through your smartphone and is smaller, making it more portable. However, the Charge 4 can produce a more extended low-bass than the Flip 4. It also has a longer-lasting battery life, though this can vary depending on your usage, and your experience may differ.

JBL Charge 5

The JBL Charge 5 and JBL Flip 4 are similar speakers with different strengths. The Flip 4 is smaller, making it easier to carry around with you when you're on the go. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono resulting in a more immersive soundstage. It also supports voice assistants through your smartphone. That said, the JBL Charge 5 offers a better-balanced sound profile and has a longer-lasting 14.5-hour battery life. However, battery performance can vary depending on your usage, and your experience may differ. Also, while the Flip 4 is compatible with JBL speakers that support JBL Connect+, the Charge 5 can only be paired to PartyBoost-compatible JBL speakers.

Bose SoundLink Micro

The JBL Flip 4 is a better speaker than the Bose SoundLink Micro overall. The Flip 4 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, and can get louder. That said, the Bose is a bit smaller, making it more portable. It has a bit less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner-sounding audio at louder volumes.

Sony SRS-XB23

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the JBL Flip 4 or the Sony SRS-XB23. The JBL offers a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box and can get a bit louder with less compression present at max volume, so audio sounds cleaner at louder volumes. That said, the Sony offers a wider-sounding soundstage, and you can customize its sound profile to your liking via the graphic EQ featured in its companion app. It's 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 up to 30 minutes.

JBL GO 3

The JBL Flip 4 is a better speaker than the JBL GO 3. The Flip 4 has a better-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box that can produce a more extended low-bass than that of the GO 3. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono and supports voice assistants via your smartphone. That said, the GO 3 is smaller, making it more portable. It's also better-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, so it's fully dust-tight and submersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

Sony SRS-XB13

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the JBL Flip 4, or the Sony SRS-XB13. The JBL can get louder and can produce a more extended low-bass. It can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono, resulting in a more immersive soundstage. You can connect it to other JBL Connect+ speakers to create a stereo pair or amplify your audio across a large area. However, the Sony is smaller, making it more portable. It's better-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. It also has better directivity, so its soundstage is perceived as wider and more open-sounding.

Anker Soundcore Motion+

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a better speaker than the JBL Flip 4 overall. With its BassUp feature enabled, the Anker can produce a more extended low-bass and can get louder than the JBL. You can also customize its sound to your liking using the graphic EQ and presets in its companion app. That said, the JBL has a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box. You can also connect it to multiple other JBL speakers that support JBL Connect+.

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