The first three generations of JBL Clip were recognizable by their pebble shape, but the change is now. For this new Clip 4, JBL adopted a more oval and plump design. The enclosure is a little heavier than the Clip 3 (240g versus 230g), but it seems more resistant and with a more robust integrated carabiner. The sound is also better, more spacious, clearer and richer in bass. The performance gain is not huge, but it is very real. The JBL Clip 4 costs € 60.
Available in several colors, the enclosure can operate in a vertical or horizontal position. Its rear face has rubber ribs, which prevents it from slipping when placed on a smooth surface and the bass vibrates the speaker.
Like previous versions, the Clip 4 delivers volume and sound of surprising power and quality for its size. The bass is good and the cabinet does well with undemanding or acoustic songs rich in midrange. Clip 4 will also do a good job of improving the sound of your smartphone or tablet when watching a movie streaming.
But you still have to moderate your expectations. Already, don’t expect to be rocked by the bass. And if you push the sound all the way, it becomes shrill and distortion appears. The ideal operating range is around 50-75% of the volume (there are physical buttons to control the volume and playback). In our listening tests, performance varied from song to song. While Boom of the X Ambassadors turned out to be more impactful than we thought, Know No Better
Major Lazer was further back.
In front of her, Clip 4 finds the SoundLink Micro from Bose (110 €), the Stormbox Micro from Tribit at around 50 € and Go 3 from JBL at 40 €. All of these portable speakers deliver similar sound with small differences. The Bose delivers more bass and we’ve always loved its design. But it is also more expensive and dates from a few years. The Stormbox Micro can match the sound of Clip 4 and two can be combined to create a stereo pair. Still, the build quality of the JBL is superior.
The JBL Go 3 is perhaps the best compromise. Granted, the Clip 4 is more powerful and offers better clarity and deeper bass, but the Go 3 costs $ 20 less and some may prefer its smaller, lighter design. It does not have an integrated carabiner, but a strap to which one can attach one. Its only drawback is an autonomy is 5 hours while the Clip 4 reaches 10 hours.
While the Go 3 has its limits when it comes to audio rendering, it pushes harder than you might think for its tiny size. Its design is not only more attractive than that of the Go 2, but it also seems more robust and able to withstand drops better. A mini speaker that is difficult not to appreciate and which could also be on sale in a few months, which would make it an excellent deal.
The Clip 4 is slightly larger than the Go 3.
Neither the Go 3 nor the Clip 4 have a hands-free function and are compatible with the JBL app. In this case, it is impossible to combine several speakers in “PartyBoost” mode, as can be done with other models of the American brand, such as the Flip 5 and Charge 4. It’s not prohibitive at this price point, but it should be mentioned all the same. Note that the Clip 4 uses Bluetooth 5.1 and that it is not completely waterproof like the Clip 3, but it is dust and water resistant (IPX 67).
One buys ?
JBL Clip have always been recommendable products. They have a decent sound, a small size that allows you to take them everywhere with you and a backpacker look. The same goes for the Clip 4, which has been improved in design and offers slightly better audio quality compared to the previous version. It is therefore a good speaker, but it is, at the time of this test, more expensive than the Go 3, which appealed to us more.
Article from CNET.com adapted by CNETFrance
Image: David Carnoy / CNET