I was pleasantly surprised by the JBL Flip that I had reviewed last month. It joins the ranks of small Bluetooth speakers like the JawBone JamBox and Jabra SoleMate (both of which are terrific), but it comes in at under $100. I didn’t expect much from it and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sound and the volume the diminutive system offers. I’ve been using it pretty much every day since the review, and I can recommend it without reservation.
JBL brought word this morning of two new products and we’re looking forward to checking them out next week at CES.
Like the JBL Flip, the JBL Charge is a cylindrical speaker that can be placed horizontally or vertically. It features a built-in bass port and digital sound processing to “create room-filling lows combined with accentuated highs”. Inside the JBL Charge you’ll find a stereo speaker with two 1-5/8-inch (40-millimeter) full-range drivers and a 2 x 5-watt amplifier. That’s not bad considering the fact that the wireless speaker is just 2″ in diameter and just 6″ long. The speaker can run for up to 12 hours thanks to its 6000mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery and, like the Braven speaker we put head-to-head with some of the other speakers in this growing category, it can power and charge other portable devices.
The speaker has a rugged exterior and grille, rubber end rings and a rubber cap for the USB port to help it meet the needs of an active lifestyle. And like the Flip, the Charge ships with a Neoprene carrying pouch. It will have an MSRP of $149 and will be available in several colors, including black, blue and green.
If you want bigger, room-shaking sound you’ll want to check out the JBL OnBeat Rumble. Designed for use with the iPhone 5, iPad mini, iPod touch 5th gen and 4th generation iPad, this speaker will pump out 50 watts of power with “booming bass, thanks to an oversized, down-firing subwoofer”.
In addition, when used in conjunction with an iPhone or iPad, and an available DJ mixer app, the JBL OnBeat Rumble dock can be used to scratch, stream and mix playlists during a party. The JBL OnBeat Rumble will have an MSRP of $399 when it is released this spring.
We’ll have a closer look at both when we visit the HARMAN booth next week at CES.