I like to listen to music. Correction. I like to listen to loud music. I guess it’s leftover from my punk days. I was in the need of something I could bring with me to events with my friends that wouldn’t be an ordeal to set up or carry around, but could provide a decent enough sound. We move around a lot (like a bunch of weirdos if you ask me). After browsing around for awhile I came across the JBL Flip 4. Its advertising boasted a long battery life, weather and waterproofing, as well as “a surprisingly powerful sound”. All this for only $99.95, I figured I’d check out these claims.
I was blown away.
The size is 68 x 175 x 70 mm (or 2.7″ x 6.9″ x 2.7″ rounded, for us imperialists.) This guy is little. It sits perfectly just about wherever you want it. It’s easily carried around if you want to be a living jukebox. It also fits perfectly in, say, the cup holder of a bicycle. The size is exactly what I wanted.
The battery is a 3000 mAh lithium-ion, to me that doesn’t mean too much. Not sure about you. But, it does tout a supposed 12 hour battery life on the marketing. I will say this on the subject: I couldn’t get it to last a full 12 hours. 8 to 10 is my average. Being said, that’s nearly full blast with a lot of intense sounds coming out of it. I’m sure someone listening to calmer music at lower volumes may have a different experience. It takes about three hours to fully charge. Either way, the battery life is more than sufficient for my needs. Plus it can still be used while plugged into the wall. Consider investing in an actual sound system or something with a larger battery if you’re throwing all-night ragers. For us day walkers, 10 hours is more than enough.
The connection is solid and easy enough. Hit the button on the back of the speaker and connect your phone to it. Bing bang boom. That simple. It stays connected from some fairly surprising distances. I left it out back of a friend’s house and went inside for a few, I forgot I had my phone in my pocket. According to witnesses the sound never turned off. I couldn’t give you an exact distance, but it was a lot farther than expected with no loss in quality. It’s anecdotal, though. Maybe there was some freak electro-magnetic atmospheric phenomena going on that allowed it to stay connected so well, I’m no meteorologist. But, I have had no issues with me being too far away from it yet.
Another claim the marketing makes is the waterproofing. In fact they like to show off people jumping into swimming pools while using it. I didn’t want to test that. Sorry. I like the speaker and didn’t want to buy another one for a cheap stunt. Plus it would have kind of bummed everyone out if I was electrocuted. I hope it would bum them out at least. However, I did accidentally leave it out in the rain. It still works, no issues at all. So there’s that.
A pretty neat feature is the built in microphone with it. You can talk to your smartphone with it. I don’t really talk to my electronics much, but if I did I’m sure I’d appreciate it. It’d be nice to see how my iPhone is feeling or whatever people do when they talk to Siri. I should talk to her more. Maybe I’ll take her out for some coffee. No, really it is cool. You can grab the speaker and ask your phone to play a song, and it does. It’s not the most necessary thing out there but it does work well.
The looks of it are nice. It’s a little cylinder speaker basically. The buttons on the back are easy to see but not super easy to accidentally push, which is nice. There’s the volume control, a power, a Bluetooth button, and a button to activate the microphone. All of them blend nicely into the aesthetic of the device. It’s kind of futuristic looking actually. Like some kind of space thermos they’d have on the set of Star Trek: TNG.
Now, for the whole reason I got this thing. What does it sound like? Well, it sounds good. Really good. The entire audio spectrum comes through nice and clear with a nice bass boom on songs that need it. Volume-wise, if you’re indoors it’s fairly loud. Enough to have to speak up while it’s playing in the same room at least. Outdoors you can hear it even in noisy environments. It travels a surprising distance actually, it’s become known as the Jammy box by us due to the ability to hear me coming before being seen while I have it going. They hear the music and know it’s time to jam. Being said, it’s not eardrum-exploding loud or anything. Bigger speakers will have more volume, but that’s not the point of this device.
So what’s this all add up to? Well, it’s an incredibly portable tough little speaker. If that’s what you’re looking for that’s what you’ll get with the JBL Flip 4. I say it’s great at doing exactly what it sets out to do. It’s an easy set up to bring the party with you or get it started immediately.
If you’re needing something to host a loud outdoors party, you may want to look elsewhere. Not to say it doesn’t work well outdoors, but the sound can definitely be overpowered by a bunch of loud humans yelling at each other as we all like to do sometimes.
Would I recommend the JBL Flip 4? For small gatherings and portability? Absolutely. It’s on the same level as similar speakers with a more convenient hand-held shape and the added bonus weather-proofing. The quality of the sound is excellent, if you’re worried it won’t pick up bass like a lot of small speakers, you’ve got nothing to worry about. I love this little jammy box and plan to bring it around with me nearly all the time.