After the Clip 3 was released in summer 2018, JBL is now marketing its successor, the Clip 4. This new version features a completely redesign, including an integrated carabiner and more power – all at an affordable price.
Design & Build
JBL has completely redesigned its Clip speaker, with this fourth edition being completely different from the 3.
It is still just as compact but has swapped its round pebble shape for an oval, much like a padlock due to the new handle. This carabiner-style handle means you can, as the name suggests, clip the speaker to various things whether it be your rucksack, a bike or something else.
The Clip 4 is made of good quality aluminium and silicone materials, and its surfaces are covered with a pleasant mesh fabric.
Aside from its choice of pop and flashy colours (there is a wide range of choices), JBL has put a huge logo covering the front, along with volume control and speaker activation keys. At the back, it incorporates soft silicone strips for better grip and not slipping off flat surfaces – very similar to the bottom of the JBL Charge 5.
At its base, there is a USB-C port, instead of the Micro-USB of the Clip 3, to recharge it after its 10h battery life has been exhausted. At the carabiner, a discreet LED confirms the ignition of the speaker, as well as its charge.
Note also that the Clip 4 is slightly heavier, 240g against 230g, but it is more robust. It’s IP67 dust and waterproof so can survive being dunked in water.
The American company not only updated the look of the Clip speaker but also gave it more audio power. Which is quite surprising considering its compact size and ultraportable form factor.
Following on from the Clip 3, JBL has integrated a 40mm driver rated at 5W. We listened to a lot of videos and the vocals were superbly clear and reproduced accurately.
As for the musical tracks, the bass is ample, deep and warm, so that it is not necessary to push the volume too much. If you do it will alter the overall sound reproduction and spoil your listening pleasure.
Also, let’s not forget that the pairing was done in an instant, regardless of the device using Bluetooth 5.1.
As for the functionalities, we regret that it is not possible to return to the previous track – you can only play/pause or skip forward. An odd choice since the previous track can easily be done with three presses.
Being a budget Bluetooth speaker there is no microphone to use for phone calls or access your phone’s digital assistant.
More importantly, we would have liked JBL to keep the Clip 3’s jack input for non-Bluetooth use, and for the Clip 4 to be compatible with a companion app but those are minor inconveniences.
The 3885 mAh battery, according to JBL, can last 10 hours of listening time, but at higher volume that figure will be lower.
It recharges via the supplied USB Type-C cable and needs 3 hours to go from 0% to 100%. Its LED turns red when the Clip 4 is charging. it would have been more useful to have a real indicator of the battery level.
The JBL Clip 4 is priced at £49.99 on the manufacturer’s website, which is affordable considering the quality of the product. You can also buy it from the likes of Amazon, Currys, Argos and BT Shop.
In the US it’s $79.95 direct from JBL and you can also buy it from Amazon, Dell, Newegg and Best Buy.
Its closest rival is the Tribit Stormbox Micro, which has the same RRP in the UK, but allows for a stereo effect when paired with a second Stormbox Micro.
Take a look at more options in our best cheap Bluetooth speakers chart.
JBL’s “daring” gamble with the Clip 4 has been successful.
The brand has managed to combine performance and design and create a practical and solid speaker that can be carried anywhere by clipping it to your belt, backpack, or bike if you like.
Our main gripes are the removal of the jack and mic output and the inability to return to the previous track with the former being more forgivable.
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