JBL Flip Bluetooth Speaker Review

Review Category: 

Review: 

I recently just purchased the JBL Flip Bluetooth speaker, and am very surprised by it's size, and it's sound. The JBL Flip is a portable Bluetooth speaker with outstanding sound for it's size. I will first try and describe the speaker, and how it looks. First off, the speaker is more cylindrical than anything else, with the back pinched, to make room for the base that lets you set the speaker horizontally. This thing is probably as big as an energy drink can. Probably a little wider, but not much taller, if you stand the speaker the same way as you would a 16 ounce Monster or Rockstar can. The ends of the speaker are both flat. On the back of the speaker, there are 2 jacks, if the back is facing you, the AC-Plug is on the left, and the Aux input is on the right. They are pretty close to each other on the farthest left of the back of the speaker. Facing the speaker with the front to you again, the jbl logo is in the middle of the tube. The left end of the speaker, there are 3 buttons. When i mean left, the buttons are not facing you, they are actually on the left flat part of the speaker. The right side of the speaker doesn't have anything, accept for a rubber round ring, that will let you flip the speaker vertically. That's why this speaker is called the Flip, because you can flip the speaker in either orientation. After rotating the speaker 90degrese, the 3 buttons are facing me. These 3 buttons are as follows. Power/pair on/off, volume up/down, and, speakerphone. The buttons are very easy to find, and they are easy to figure out. The power/pair button is an indented button, and it is on the top right side. you use this button to turn on the unit, and pair the Bluetooth device with the speaker. The speakerphone is a regular feeling button, that is located on the bottom left. You can use siri by holding this button down. You can also talk on the phone, make a Skype call, or make facetime calls from this speaker as well. The volume button is a longer oval shaped button located between the power button. This controls the volume of the speaker. The speaker has its own volume, so, beware of that. What's In the Box. When opening the box, the speaker was well packaged in 2 things, well, 3 including the box. The box was very easy to open, no sharp tools needed at all. After removing a thicker plastic casing around the speaker, the speaker was also packaged in a thinner ceramic-like plastic. Removing the thicker plastic case was very easy. Under the speaker, there is this compartment, which has the AC wall adapter, a carrying case, and a booklet. You will have to supply your own 3.5MM to 3.5Mm cable if you want to use this speaker with a nonBluetooth device. Pairing the speaker When you first turn on the speaker, it makes a sound, telling you that it has been turned on. When it's powered on, there are 2 beeps, a low one, quickly followed by a higher one. When the speaker powers down, the same beeps will be heard, but opposite, so you will hear a high beep, and then a low beep. After turning on the speaker, it will automatically be in pairing mode. It only took me one try to pair my iPhone to the speaker. There were no pairing codes or anything to mess with, while pairing. When your device is paired to the speaker, it makes a 3beep sound. 2quick low beeps, quickly followed by a high beep. If the speaker is off, and you turn it back on, it will automatically pair to the last Bluetooth device it was paired with, so you will not have to always pair your phone. Pairing was very easy to do, I had no problems at all when it came to searching for the speaker. Sound The sound that this speaker puts out is amazing, and very outstanding for it's size. Remember, it is a portable speaker, so you shouldn't expect full room booming bass. What you will get though, is great and clear sound that will fill a pretty large room. This speaker does not distort at all. Even at it's max volume, the speaker goes strong, delivering crisp sounds, and pretty good bass. I tested the speaker with various types of music, and for me, it passes in all categories. Even when the volume of the speaker and my iPhone were both maxed out, no distortion at all. This unit has 2 speakers in it, so it's considered a stereo speaker. Although the stereo separation isn't that great, the overall quality of the sound it puts out is awesome. Little More Information About the Flip The flip has an estimated 5 hour battery life for usage, depending on how loud you listen to your music. it does not use a standard USB charger, so if you don't want another wall plug being used, then the speaker isn't for you. My thoughts and opinions The reason why I purchased this speaker was for the sound quality. I mean, I have heard a lot about the Jambox, and it's features, but that unit is out of my budget. I haven't heard a Jambox in real life, other than those demos at the stores, but the overall sound of the speaker is tinni and lacks great clarity. Because the jambox is so small, the sound gets muffled when turned up too loud. I also didn't want my speaker moving around too much when I listen to bass-heavy music. I also heard about the BeatBox BT speaker, but was already hooked on the Flip because of it's speakerphone feature. If you want to read a great review on this speaker, go here and check this one out. I guess that's another reason why I got this speaker. Because of the awesome reviews. http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/jbl-flip-portable-wireless-loudspeaker/ Thanks for reading, and I will try to answer questions about the speaker.

Devices Accessory Was Used With: 

iPhone
iPhone
iPhone
iPod Touch

Rating: 

5 Stars

Disclaimer

The review on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this review.

11 Comments

#1 JBL Flip Scores Huge with Portable Bluetooth Speakers

I also purchased the JBL Flip recently, and completely agree with your assessment. I do not believe there is a nicer sounding portable bluetooth speaker in the $200 and less market. The pairing occurred very easily. This is a good thing as the included instruction and PDF version seemed very difficult to navigate and scan. We can blame multiple language support for this. Here are a few things I will add to the conversation. First involves the ability to hear audio from a device connected via bluetooth and the wired route concurrently. I found this out by ways of a fluke. While having my iPad connected via the 3.5mm audio jac and playing Pandora, my iPhone paired with the device. Neither audio distorted. As a positive, the action button controlled my iPhone with the bluetooth pairing and not the iPad with the wired cable. As for the speaker phone, JBL designed a wonderful unit. Though the Flip does not possess integrated noise canceling or echo dampening filters, callers will have no problem hearing you. The best range for the microphone is within 6 feet, though even at 8 to 12 feet, your voice may still be heard at diminishing quality. I believe to have encountered a bug within the Flip, but need assistance to determine whether it is an isolated case or not. When I made some mobile to mobile calls on my AT&T iPhone 5 with Voice Over activated while paired via bluetooth, my end of the call would enter into a feedback loop where audio went from the microhpone on the speaker to the phone and back to the speaker. The other side of the call heard nothing, but diD show an active connection. This did not occur under the following settings: - Making mobile to mobile calls with Voice Over deactivated through Siri - Connected via a wired connection and not bluetooth - Calling landline phones Overall though, anyone looking for a portable bluetooth speaker should seriously consider this unit. To me, an in store demo between the JBL Flip, Jawbone Jambox, and various other low to mid range speakers had the Flip winning on multiple levels.

#2 Love the jbl sound

Hi Thanks for the great review. I've owned the older JBL on tour speakers for a few years now and they sound pretty spectacular for something so small. They run off of 4 triple a batteries or an AC adapter but last around 20 hours on battery. I'd like to get a bluetooth speaker that has a rechargeable battery but would like something lasting at least 8-10 hours or more. The smaller jawbone speaker might be what I'm looking for but as I said, the JBL sound is awesome. I would primarily be using such a speaker with the line in jack however, so do you know if the volume controls on the speaker control the volume of bluetooth only devices? The beatbox speaker unfortunately disables volume control when using line in so I wonder if most others do as well?

#3 JBL Flip with Audio Cable Operations

The action button that activates Siri, answers or hangs up calls did not work with a device connected through the 3.5mm audio cord. Keep in mind that for buttons, this device does not offer media options. The volume buttons controls the levels of the unit itself, and the on and off button do just that. If you are looking for a device that offers a fuller set of remote media controls while connected via an cord, keep looking. Even the Brookstone Big Blue Live and a few others I have tested failed in the ability to use on-speaker control buttons during audio cable connections.

#4 all i'm looking for

Is the ability to use the speakers volume controls with both bluetooth and line in devices.

#5 You are correct.

Tim Thorn wrote, "I believe to have encountered a bug within the Flip, but need assistance to determine whether it is an isolated case or not. When I made some mobile to mobile calls on my AT&T iPhone 5 with Voice Over activated while paired via bluetooth, my end of the call would enter into a feedback loop where audio went from the microhpone on the speaker to the phone and back to the speaker. The other side of the call heard nothing, but diD show an active connection." I can say, that it happens to me as well. I think it is a bug with V-O itself.

#6 Volume Controls

Yes, the volume controls will work for increasing the speaker's levels with whatever connection method you use. Keep in mind though, the volume buttons controls the speaker's volume itself and not the volume on the device. If you wish to produce max output, you will have to set both the iOS and Flip volume to 100%.

#7 Some other speakers to consider

I am still looking at some other speakers, including the following. Logitech UE boombox. Features supposedly up to 10 hours of battery life and the ability to connect to 2 devices at the same time which is pretty interesting. Jawbone jambox Which also has a review on this site. Sounds like it has decent battery life plus it gives spoken feedback when the battery is low and for some other functions such as power on. That's quite a nice feature. A different thing that this speaker has is the ability to create an account on the jawbone website and download a small program that will let you connect the speaker, change it's feedback voices and other things. Not sure how accessible that will be, I was able to create an account though and left off at a page that wanted me to connect a jawbone device to the computer. I wouldn't want to purchase the speaker and have some odd audio feature that can't be turned off or something crazy like that. For me, a speaker is ment to be just a speaker and nothing else. There's no need to add customizations if the sound is decent. Does anyone own the JBL on tour speakers that I mentioned in an earlier post? Still some of the best sound I've heard in a portable, although there is no battery low indicator, the speaker just powers off. Here is a great comparison of speakers from wired.com. http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/12/bluetooth-speakers?pid=3085&viewall=true

#8 Jawbone Website Accessibility

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I have both a Jambox and a Big Jambox, and I love them. The Big Jambox puts out quite a lot of sound, and the audio quality is great. The Jawbone MyTalk website isn't very accessible, though it can be used if you have the patience to deal with it.

#9 I've purchased a JBL Flip

I've purchased a JBL Flip about 2 months back and I'm really happy with it. The sound quality is great for its price though if you were to compare it with juggernauts like Bose or some of the higher end bluetooth speakers, the audio does seem substantially weaker, especially if you use it for loud music. I bought it off a recommendation at http://bestbluetoothspeakersreviews.net/ where they had sort of a chart that compares the specs, prices and whatnot of these speakers and according to that site, the JBL Flip is one of the smallest portable speakers that still has a decent audio quality. Plus, I needed it to be as portable as possible since I go camping and travelling pretty often, so I can simply toss it into my backpack and not worry about its weight. I own a Jawbone Jambox too but its sharp edges and squarish design do make it seem a lot bulkier than it actually is so I would say that the JBL Flip is way better than the Jambox in terms of the portability. Sound-wise, I can't really tell the difference between the two, but then again, I'm no audio enthusiast.

#10 Re: Flip review

Got the second generation of this speaker, the Flip 2. The speaker is compact and very portable, and it sounds very good: even a little stereo separation while playing music/movies. Got it off Amazon a few days ago. Gonna keep this speaker. Not bad at all for the price, and what you get in return. :)

#11 I have the Flip's slightly larger sibling, the Charge.

I had to replace my Jam Box after the USB port catastrophically failed. There was no way it could be fixed. I will not get in to the reasons for the failior here. The charge had several aspects that I liked. They were, the construction, sound quality, extra USB port to plug your device in to; from which the Charge gets its' name, and last but not least the price, it was on sale. I am pleased with it. I will note that the IPad2 only works when it is hooked up with a audio cable.