If you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker to live alongside you, the JBL Clip 4 is the speaker to get. Its combination of portability and sound quality is unmatched. The fact that it’s waterproof certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Right out of the package, this speaker is intuitive to use. With a power indicator light, audio cues for pairing/power, and the integrated clip, there is not much you need instructions for. The only seemingly hidden feature is the ability to skip songs by double-clicking the play button. This is perfect for when you’re jamming out in the shower and a vibe-killer of a song comes on. You can’t go back to a previous song though, so skip wisely!
The sound quality of the Clip 4 shocked me. It has impressive bass for the size of the speaker and the overall sound is rich. The volume range is wide and will meet most needs. I can’t picture much of a use for its quietest setting since you can barely hear it with your ear pressed against it, but its highest volumes are great for a small outdoor gathering.
You would probably want a louder speaker for a large party, but the Clip 4 could handle an average-sized group.
The JBL Clip 4 is perfect to take to the beach or the pool. Its IP67 rating means solids, such as dirt and sand, won’t affect it and that it’s waterproof enough for most standard uses. More specifically, it survives being submerged one meter underwater for at least a half-hour. As long as you don’t try to go diving with this speaker, you should be fine. Just make sure to rinse it off with fresh water after using it in a pool, a lake, or the ocean.
This speaker is easy to grab and go. Clip it on your backpack for a day hike or on your belt loop for a tailgate. The clip is sturdy, but still easy to open. I am a little hesitant to encourage anyone to commute with it clipped to the exterior of a bag since public transportation regularly involves leaning on and tossing your bag.
If you’re concerned about losing it, having it stolen, or having it randomly blast music on the subway, it may be best to throw it in your bag.
JBL claims to get 10 hours of use out of this speaker. Unsure of how they tested the battery life, I was curious to see how long the speaker lasts in a standard use scenario. I ran numerous cycles of playing music at mid-volume for a few hours, turning the speaker off for a few hours and turning it back on to play again. It lasted an impressive 25 and a half hours!
Your battery life will depend on your output volume, but overall, the JBL Clip 4 seems to have a sound battery.
I definitely would like to see a way to check the battery level. The only indication is that the status light turns red right when it’s about to die. At that point, it’s a bit late since you could be outside about to start playing music. Everyone would benefit from more advanced notice.
The look of the actual clip on the JBL Clip 4 is much improved from the previous model. While the one on the JBL Clip 3 seemed to jut out of the top, the clip on the newer model is integrated within the body resulting in a much sleeker appearance.
The update did sacrifice some height to introduce more width. A recessed channel houses the clip’s arm when opening the clasp. This allows you to use more of the clip’s height since the arm won’t interfere as easily. The clip looks great and functions well, but I would like a little bit more height within the clip so it could secure to a standard wooden post or shower rod.
Owners that reviewed the Clip 3 mentioned their desire for a stereo mode where you can link multiple speakers together. Unfortunately, JBL didn’t implement this feature in the Clip 4.
Another feature that’s absent is the ability to use the Bluetooth device as a speakerphone. You don’t have the option to make or receive a call through the Clip 4. Any audio stops when the connected phone is on a call.
There is a slight upside to how JBL handles this compared to the previous generation. Your phone doesn’t ring through the speaker anymore, which means your music isn’t interrupted. With the number of spam calls we all receive lately, it is nice that you can ignore a call without stopping the music.
To be honest, one of my favorite things about the JBL Clip 4 is the charging cable. It has some neat orange accents and the USB-A side is reversible! Putting this much attention to detail into a cable shows me that JBL cared about every minor decision that went into this product.
Another small detail that makes quite a difference is the rubberized backing. For when you can’t hang the speaker, the back grips the surface it’s placed on. The rubber also dampens the vibrations which keeps any table it’s sat on from vibrating as much. I have no concern about it dancing itself off my desk which, unfortunately, I can’t say about all speakers I’ve owned.
Altogether, I’m very happy with the JBL Clip 4. It’s worth the $79.99 price tag, but you can regularly find it on sale from $50 to $60. The ease the integrated clip brings to transportation and set up is great, the sound quality is impressive for the size, and the minor details improve the overall experience.
The only faults I encountered were the lack of a stereo option, speakerphone incompatibility, and a clip that would benefit from being a tiny bit taller. To me, these issues do not come close to outweighing the JBL Clip 4’s successes. For a standalone speaker that’s portable and waterproof, there’s no better option out there.
Here’s What We Like
- Audio Performance
- IP67 Waterproof Rating
- Convenient Portability
- Long Battery Life
- Design Details
And What We Don’t
- No stereo mode or speakerphone compatibility
- Slightly short clip height
- No way to check battery status
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