JBL Clip 4 Review – Worth buying?

The JBL Clip 4 is a portable Bluetooth speaker designed for outdoor use. This fourth generation has some significant improvements over the popular Clip 3, like the enhanced carabiner system and sound quality.

But there is also a new Eco version, which comes with eco-friendly packaging and recycled materials. In this way, the brand aims to reduce its impact on the environment.

The Clip 4’s new carabiner design will appeal to sports and outdoor enthusiasts. And with its IP67 certification, you can be sure you’ll be able to take it anywhere without worrying about it being damaged if it rains or accidentally gets wet.

JBL has added a USB-C charging port to the Clip 4, but has unfortunately removed the headphone jack, making wired playback impossible. If you want a speaker that is ready for any urban or outdoor adventure, this is a great choice.

Are the new features and design a step up from the previous Clip 3, or should you stick with the old one if you already own one? To help you decide if this speaker is right for you, we look at all the pros and cons of the JBL Clip 4 Eco below.

JBL Clip 4 portable speaker review
8.3
Price on Amazon
JBL Clip 4

JBL Clip 4 review

ADVANTAGES
  • Powerful for its size
  • Bass depth at moderate volumes
  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • Battery life
  • Control to pause and advance track
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • USB-C charging
  • Improved carabiner
TO IMPROVE
  • No PartyBoost or Connect+
  • No auxiliary input or microphone
  • No fast charging
  • No battery status indicator
JBL Clip 4 features
  • Power: 5W
  • 40 mm transducer
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: >85 dB
  • Frequency range: 100Hz – 20.000 Hz
  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Hands-free function
  • Autonomy up to 10 hours
  • Battery charging time: 3 hours
  • 3.7V/1000mAh Battery
  • Metal carabiner included for transport
  • Connections: 1 auxiliary input, micro USB for charging
  • Available in 10 different colors
  • Weight: 239 grams

Design and durability

JBL wants you to be able to take the Clip 4 with you wherever you go, so it features IP67 protection against dust and water, as well as a built-in snap hook. This snap hook is designed to be attached to your rucksack or the handlebars of your bike. It weighs only 0.349 kg and is very compact.

JBL Clip 4 speaker with integrated carabiner.JBL Clip 4 Speaker with Integrated Carabiner

Similarly, the brand has now launched a new Eco line for some of its products. The Eco version of the JBL Clip 4 is made from up to 90% PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic and 100% recycled fabric in the speaker grille. It is also packaged in a sustainable box made of FSC-certified paper that is printed with soy-based inks. These materials significantly reduce the amount of virgin plastic used, while also reducing the carbon footprint.

The speaker is available in a range of colours and can be used either vertically or horizontally, although for vertical use it needs to be attached to something or placed on a stand.

Both the standard and Echo versions have the famous fabric on the front and back of the speaker, making it easy to hold in any situation. Just like the JBL Xtreme 3, which we mentioned in our review. The back of the speaker has rubber bands to prevent it from slipping when placed on a table. It is made up of a series of rubber ribs, so that the speaker does not wobble when it is placed on a smooth surface. At higher volumes, the bass makes the speaker vibrate, so the need for the rubber back is understandable.

Rubber back rubbers for improved grip.Rear rubber bands for improved support.

JBL has changed the logo on all its speakers to a much larger size, making the brand stand out even more. As for the Clip 3, this fourth generation comes with a fully accessible USB-C input, rather than being hidden behind a cover. JBL has also redesigned the carabiner, a request made by users, as the carabiner had a tendency to break along the hinge. JBL has therefore integrated the most vulnerable parts of the clip into the body. The clip is easy to use with one hand, making it ideal for cycling around the city.

JBL Clip 4 Portable Speaker DesignJBL Clip 4 Portable Speaker Design

The operating keys are located on the side and front. The loudspeaker has five buttons, three on the front and two on the left. The front buttons control playback and volume. You can skip to the next track by pressing the play and pause buttons twice. You cannot rewind tracks. The ones on the side are used to pair and turn the speaker on and off.

Front control buttons.JBL Clip 4 Eco front control buttons.

The button layout is excellent, but depending on the colour, it can be difficult to tell them apart, as there is little variation between the colour of the buttons and the fabric covering the speaker.

Another positive aspect is its IP67 water and dust resistance, which means you can take it to the pool, the beach or on a hike. It is also extremely useful for use in the shower. Note that the IP67 certification means it can withstand up to 30 minutes at a maximum depth of one metre, but only in fresh water, not seawater or chlorine.

Connections

The Clip 4 from JBL only has a USB-C port for charging the speaker. The Clip 3’s auxiliary port, which allowed you to listen to it via a cable, has been removed. We were not surprised by this, as we have already seen it on other speakers from the brand. It always seems like a good idea to have a wired connection, but it is true that in this case it may be easier to understand, as this is a speaker designed primarily for outdoor use.

Connections JBL Clip 4 Eco - USB-C InputJBL Clip 4 Eco Connections – USB-C Input

If you use it at home to listen to videos or watch films, you may notice a delay when connecting via Bluetooth. In this case, it uses Bluetooth 5.1 and has a range of between 10 and 15 metres. As well as the benefit of a longer range, Bluetooth 5.1 also has the added advantage of being more energy efficient, which explains the longer playback time of the Clip 4 in comparison to the Clip 3. As always with JBL, the Clip 4 only supports the SBC Bluetooth codec.

Unlike other Bluetooth speakers, the Clip 4 cannot be connected to more than one device at a time. When it’s time to switch sources, you have to press the Bluetooth button on the side and enter the Bluetooth menu of the desired device to make the new link.

Note that there is no hands-free calling or voice assistant control.

Autonomy

JBL has improved the Clip 4’s battery life, claiming it can last up to 10 hours. In our tests, however, this figure is actually higher when you use it at a moderate volume. If you turn the volume up to maximum, the battery life drops to around 5 hours.

Another new feature is the switch from micro-USB to USB-C for charging. It takes three hours to charge the speaker and there is no quick charge function. To avoid wasting battery power, the speaker switches off after about 20 minutes of no sound.

We missed a battery status indicator, and only the status light turns red when it’s about to run out.

Sound

Now it is time to analyse the sound quality of the JBL Clip 4. On a technical level, it has a 40 mm driver and a 5 W output. The sound is mono and the frequency response ranges from 100 Hz to 20 kHz.

Driver 40 mm 5W power and JBL Original Pro SoundJBL Clip 4 with 40 mm 5W power driver and JBL Original Pro Sound


In our opinion, this is a very good-sounding speaker and its accurate frequency response makes it suitable for many genres of music. The bass is deep when the volume is moderate, where JBL speakers don’t normally fall short. It also delivers a high volume output. This powerful speaker has an output of 5W, 1.7W more than the previous generation. Voices are very clear and you can hear some resonance in them, which is impressive for a speaker of this size.

This is a speaker designed for outdoor use and, as we said, it makes up for its compact size with its powerful volume. Of course, in these conditions you have to turn up the volume, which means that the bass is cut back, resulting in a flatter sound and some distortion. As long as you have realistic expectations of bass reproduction in these circumstances, you will be happy with the sound of the JBL Clip 4.

Clip 4 with 40 mm driver and 5 W power.Clip 4 with 40 mm transducer and 5 W power.

For podcasts, it offers good performance with clear and accurate voice reproduction, making it easy to follow dialogue so you don’t miss a moment of your favourite shows. It also has a well-balanced mid-range, which makes it suitable for many different types of music, podcasts and audiobooks.

JBL Clip 4 Review Is it worth it?

Reviews JBL Clip 4 speaker - Is it worth buying?JBL Clip 4 speaker reviews – Is it worth buying?

JBL Clip 4 might look basic, yet it’s powerful, portable, and water and dust proof. If you’re looking for a rugged speaker that can withstand your toughest adventures, it ticks all the boxes. It’s perfect for listening to when you’re cycling, hiking, etc.

You’ll have to stretch your budget a little to get the extra features, such as a microphone, access to smart assistants and a dedicated app. You should also bear in mind that it doesn’t have a speaker pairing function like some of the company’s other models, and it doesn’t have a battery status light either.

In a nutshell, JBL’s Clip 4 is a speaker with a robust, dust- and water-resistant design that can be used camping, in the shower or at the beach. It packs a big punch for its compact size, and excels at making vocals sound clear, while delivering deep bass at moderate volumes.

See JBL Clip 4 price

JBL Clip 4 - Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker Pink

IP67 waterproof and dustproof, 10 hours of playtime
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JBL Clip 4 - Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker Pink Blue

IP67 waterproof and dustproof, 10 hours of playtime
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JBL Clip 4 - Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker Pink Gray

IP67 waterproof and dustproof, 10 hours of playtime
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JBL Clip 4 - Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker Pink Squad

IP67 waterproof and dustproof, 10 hours of playtime
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JBL Clip 4 - Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker Blue

With InfinityLab InstantCharger 20W 1 USB Compact USB-C PD Charger
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Alternatives to the JBL Clip 4

The JBL Clip speakers have always been easy to recommend because they offer decent sound for their small size, and their clip-on design makes them easy to carry around in a backpack.

But there are other alternatives to the Clip 4, such as the Bose SoundLink Micro. In this case, instead of a carabiner, it has a durable elastic strap that can be wrapped around various objects, such as a bag strap or bicycle handlebars. The Bose speaker is still portable, but it is a little bigger and heavier than the Clip 4, but it has a higher output of 7.5 watts. It also has a microphone, so you can take calls and have one-on-one conversations with the virtual assistant of your choice.

Of course, all this comes at a much higher price than the Clip 4.

Within JBL, the Flip 6 is the top-of-the-line model and is larger in size, but offers more features like JBL PartyBoost, dual passive radiators and longer battery life.

The JBL Go 3 could also be a good option. The Clip 4 is more powerful and offers better clarity and bass, but the Go 3 costs about $15 less and some people may prefer its design and a cheaper speaker. It is slightly smaller and lighter than the Clip 4, and while it does not have a built-in carabiner, it does have a lanyard so you can attach a carabiner to it.

We also like the rectangular design of the GO 3, which can also be placed upright (the bottom and sides are made of rubber). The only drawback is that the battery life is estimated at 5 hours, compared to 10 hours for the Clip 4.

Neither the Go 3 nor the Clip 4 connect to a JBL app, so you can’t connect multiple speakers in “PartyBoost” mode as you can with the Flip 6 and Charge 5.

8.3 Total Score
JBL Clip 4 review

The JBL Clip 4 attempts to correct the shortcomings of the Clip 3 with a more robust integrated carabiner, increased durability, and more power. However, while JBL has added some nice features to the Clip 4, it has also removed the headphone jack, which prevents you from listening to it over wires and avoiding latency. If you're looking for a compact speaker that you can carry on the go and is durable, the Clip 4 is a great choice.

Design (5%)
9.5
Connectivity (22.5%)
7.5
Sound (45%)
8.1
Battery
9
Value for price (5%)
9
PROS
  • Powerful for its size
  • Bass depth at moderate volumes
  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • Battery life
  • Control to pause and advance track
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • USB-C charging
  • Improved carabiner
CONS
  • Without PartyBoost and Connect+
  • No auxiliary input or microphone
  • No fast charging
  • No battery status indicator

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