JBL Clip 4 review
The obvious thing first: a JBL Clip 4 looks like none of the competitors. From afar, its shape might remind of an oversized padlock. That is actually a built-in snap hook which allows you to easily attach it to wall hooks, ropes and poles. Weighting in at just 239 grams, it is also suitable for smaller backpacks or handbags. Compared to its predecessor JBL Clip 3 (which we did not review on this site, but had been able to listen to), dimensions and shape were subject to change. The robust cas covered with nylon fabric is now oval and no longer round, and has also become somewhat slimmer.
The rubberized carabiner hook is larger than the Clip 3´s equivalent, and some rubber strips on the back provide a secure grip on any surface. Being labelled as IP67 protection class, water or dust are no imminent threat to the Clip 4. You can choose from a vast selection of designs ranging from a military camouflage look to metallic rosé gold. However, we were not able to do any experiment on how scratch-resistant the fancy metallic lacquer actually is when being used outdoor.
Tiny with increased amount of power
Bluetooth 5.1 ensures the Clip 4 to have the latest wireless technology onboard. Analogue AUX IN and built-in microphone, as known from the predecessor, are unfortunately no longer available. But we got more power: 5 watts RMS instead of 3 watts is a bold statement for such a tiny system.
A fullrange driver is responsible for all audible frequencies, but we would not expect it to ignite any bass fire due to its diameter of just 4 cm (1.6″). The battery in the Clip 4 lasts approx. 10 hours if not played an max SPL continously. For charging we find a USB-C connector, so any modern non-Apple smartphone’s charger would do the job.
To make sure all the rubber buttons for volume and playback control are clearly legible, choosing a brighter colour might be helpful.
Get pleasant sound regardless of the genre
Reproduction voices in a quite natural tone proved to be a virtue of JBL´s Clip 4. Given the limits of its size, it produced a gripping, well-balanced and natural sound. You should not expect a rich bass, sonic fundament or most refined audiophile treble resolution. But in return, the Clip 4 was doing well with every genre we tested and could even deliver something like a feeling of dynamics and some silverish treble when pointing at the listeners.
Those familiar with the predecessor JBL Clip 3 will be particularly surprised by how much the bass has benefited from the update. What is at best an inaudible “plop” from the predecessor and many other minis of its class, we at least noticed some impression of kickbass from No. 4. The max SPL was definitely increased as well and is impressive given the enclosure´s volume. You might have to keep in mind that driving it close to max SPL might make in sound a bit slim.
Conclusion and alternatives to the JBL Clip 4
Getting used to the carabiner hooking the Clip 4 everywhere might turn out be a unique selling point for the Clip 4. Also in terms of sonic result it does very well against the competition of light and flat mobile speakers. The Sharp GX-BT60 being of similar size, sounds a bit more balanced, but it is not as well made and has little accentuation in the bass.
Specifications JBL Clip 4
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Retail price: 60 Dollars/EuroDimensions (W x H x D): 8.6 x 13.5 x 4.6 cmWeight: 239 gBattery life up to 10 hoursFeatures: IP67 water and dust proof, built-in carabiner hookMore at: www.jbl.com
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