JBL Clip 4 Review: Small but Powerful, It Lets Your Music Take Off

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The Lowdown

The JBL Clip 4 is a sweet little speaker. The oval shape looks interesting and is comfortable to hold. The integrated carabiner clip makes it easy to clip the speaker to a bag or backpack and take it with you. The IP67 means the speaker can safely be used in a variety of situations regardless of the climate. The ten hours of playback mean the speaker is good for a full day of hiking or hanging at the beach.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Under $70
  • Integrated carabiner clip is more durable than ever
  • IP67 rating makes it one tough speaker
  • Gets ten hours of playback per charge
  • Sounds excellent

Cons

  • Some may miss the wireless charging or the integrated microphone, but that’s not what the speaker is all about

Raina and I have been trying to get out and hike in the woods near our home each weekend. It’s an important part of how we are getting through this pandemic winter. The new JBL Clip 4 is a great way for us to take our music with us. It is small, it is under $70, and it sounds impressive.

The speaker is small, light, and designed to go with you on your next journey. It is a small oval measuring 3.4″ wide by 5.3″ tall by 1.8” thick, weighing just over half a pound. Covered in waterproof acoustical fabric, it is available in several different colors.

The oval shape is a nice departure from the round shape most super-portable speakers tend to take. It feels nice in hand, and to be honest, it just looks more interesting than a nondescript circular speaker.

JBL Clip 4

The integrated carabiner clip adds to the visual interest but is also a key part of what makes this speaker awesome. We’ll come back to it in a bit.

JBL Clip 4

Inside the box, you’ll find the JBL Clip 4, a USB-C cable, a quick start guide, a warranty card, and a safety sheet.

The speaker is wrapped in acoustical fabric. It makes this speaker water and dustproof while not impacting the quality of the audio it can put out.

JBL Clip 4

On the front, you will find the JBL logo in a raised, soft rubber that subtly sends the message that this speaker isn’t afraid of a little moisture.

JBL Clip 4

Just above the logo are three controls made from the same soft, raised rubber. In the center, there is a play/pause button. To its left is the button to decrease the volume. To the right is the button to increase it.

JBL Clip 4

On the speaker’s back, there are a series of twelve angled lines made from the same raise rubber as the buttons on the front. These don’t offer any specific “function” but are there so that the speaker won’t slide around if placed on a flat surface. It is a small but significant design feature that reflects JBL’s attention to detail and makes it clear that they have continually refined this design since the release of the first JBL Clip.

JBL Clip 4

There are no controls on one side of the speaker, but the words CLIP4 can be seen.

JBL Clip 4

On the other side, here are two more of the raised rubber buttons. The upper button controls the power, while the one just below it places the speaker into pairing mode.

JBL Clip 4

At the bottom of the speaker is a USB-C input. I’m thrilled JBL has adopted USB-C for their mobile devices but am perplexed that the new cable is USB-C to USB-A. I’m looking forward to a time when USB-C to USB-C is finally the standard.

The left side of the carabiner clip is a fixed piece of round, powder-coated metal. It runs down the left side of the speaker and across the bottom. This design gives the speaker a bit more heft and rigidity than it would otherwise have.

JBL Clip 4

The right side is made from the same metal but is coated in soft rubber. It collapses into the speaker smoking it simple to clip the speaker in place and, when you are back on the move, remove it.

JBL Clip 4

Clip and Play: Cool, portable, and waterproof. The vibrant fresh looking JBL Clip 4 delivers surprisingly rich JBL Original Pro Sound in a compact package. The unique oval shape fits easy in your hand. Fully wrapped in colorful fabrics with expressive details inspired by current street fashion, it’s easy to match your style. The fully integrated carabiner hooks instantly to bags, belts, or buckles, to bring your favorite tunes anywhere. Waterproof, dust proof, and up to 10 hours of playtime, it’s rugged enough to tag along wherever you explore.

The IP67 rating means this speaker is water, dust, and dustproof. That means it can go pretty much anywhere. No, the speaker won’t play while immersed in water, but it will keep the party going once the water is shaken off if it gets immersed. Add in the ten hours of playback per charge, and you have a speaker that is as versatile as it is affordable.

Features:

  • Rich JBL Original Pro Sound: JBL Pro Sound delivers surprisingly rich audio and punchy bass from Clip 4’s compact size.
  • Bold style and ultra-portable design: JBL Clip 4’s ultra-portable design goes great with the latest styles, and its colorful fabrics and expressive details make it look as great as it sounds.
  • Upgraded integrated carabiner: With a redesigned carabiner that’s integrated into the speaker itself for extra protection, take your JBL Clip 4 anywhere and everywhere. Just clip on a belt, strap, or buckle and go explore the world.
  • IP67 waterproof and dustproof: To the pool. To the park. JBL Clip 4 is IP67 waterproof and dustproof, so you can bring your speaker anywhere.
  • Wireless Bluetooth streaming: Wirelessly stream music from your phone, tablet, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device.
  • 10 hours of battery life: Don’t sweat the small stuff like charging your battery. JBL Clip 4 gives you up to 10 hours of playtime on a single charge.
  • Vibrant color options: JBL Clip 4 features exclusive colorways inspired by the latest street fashion trends, introducing completely new shades and combinations.

JBL Clip 4

Here’s our video look at the speaker:

And here’s a quick demonstration of the sound. Keep in mind the audio was captured by the microphones on my iPad, but it still gives a representation of the speaker’s excellent sound.

General Specifications

  • Transducer: 40 mm/ 1.5”
  • Output power: 5 W RMS
  • Frequency response: 100Hz-20kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >85dB
  • Bluetooth version: 5.1
  • Bluetooth profile: A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D) 3.4 x 5.3 x 1.8”
  • Weight: 0.527 lbs
  • Battery: Lithium-ion polymer 3.885Wh
  • Battery charge time: 3 hours
  • Music playtime: up to 10 hours (varies by volume level and audio content)

 

JBL Clip 4

The JBL Clip 4 is a sweet little speaker. The oval shape looks interesting and is comfortable to hold. The integrated carabiner clip makes it easy to clip the speaker to a bag or backpack and take it with you. The IP67 means the speaker can safely be used in a variety of situations regardless of the climate. The ten hours of playback mean the speaker is good for a full day of hiking or hanging at the beach.

No, you won’t get wireless charging, nor will you be able to use the speaker as a speakerphone (there’s no integrated microphone), nor is there integrated access to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. But for a speaker like this, such features would be added bells and whistles but not very practical. The JBL Clip 4 speaker is a straightforward, easy-to-use, great-sounding portable speaker, and it’s under $70. My review sample is now permanently part of our hiking gear!

The JBL Clip 4 sells for $69.95; it is available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers, including Amazon.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the JBL Clip 4

What I Like: Under $70; Integrated carabiner clip is more durable than ever; IP67 rating makes it one tough speaker; Gets ten hours of playback per charge; Sounds excellent

What Needs Improvement: Some may miss the wireless charging or the integrated microphone, but that’s not what the speaker is all about

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.