JBL - JBL Flip 4


JBL Flip 4 portable speaker: a more enduring Flip 3

Aprox. 72€ - see price -

See specifications

JBL is certainly no stranger to the Flip portable speakers. The brand offers us in this spring 2017 the fourth generation with (even) more resistance and also promises better autonomy and improved sound performance.

Positive points



Improved autonomy (12h).

Complete orders.

Indication of the battery level.

JBL Connect.


Its detailed.

Bad points

Tendency to lose precision with too rich pieces.

Sibilances (at high volume only).

Bluetooth latency with a smartphone.

Moderately directional.

Our review


If since the first Flip - only rechargeable from the mains (that gives you an idea of the time that has elapsed since), enjoying only 5 hours of autonomy and not being IP certified -, the family has come a long way, the 4 On the other hand, looks like two drops of water to its older sister, the 3, except that it is very slightly more elongated.

The concept from which the speaker takes its name, namely the possibility of listening to it both horizontally and vertically - the speaker, not you - remains the same. Note however that in the case of vertical use, one of the two passive radiators is obstructed and the sound is of course modified. We find this look of school bag (black, gray, red, navy blue or flashy turquoise) covered with a waterproof fabric (now IPX7, thus providing protection against the effects of immersion up to 1 m for 30 minutes) and reinforced on the sides with the same strong plastic rubber.

The controls and connections are also identical, with the exception of the telephone logo which is transformed into a triangular play symbol. We thus find on the reinforced section the power on / off, followed by the 5 LEDs indicating the battery level and the JBL Connect command, allowing to couple several speakers and thus to increase the power while extending the diffusion; it is possible to choose the stereo option via the smartphone application of the same name.

Beside them, the mini-Jack auxiliary input as well as the micro-USB port for recharging are hidden under a waterproof hatch. The navigation, call management, volume control and Bluetooth activation commands are located directly on the fabric, very discreetly indicated tone on tone by their respective acronyms. Each action (switching on / off, Bluetooth activation, pairing, maximum / minimum level) is accompanied by its own audio jingle.

We mentioned the possibility of managing calls: like the 3, the Flip 4 is indeed equipped with a hands-free kit benefiting from SoundClear noise reduction technology. The speaker reproduces the voice of the user in an intelligible and natural way, but it is however necessary to remain close enough to the latter (less than 50 cm). The autonomy, which had already been improved on the previous model, this time goes up to 12 hours - we measured 11 hours at three quarters of the volume.



On the first versions, the sound signature of the Flip was clear: quite crystalline, it concentrated mainly on a high half of the detailed spectrum, even if it ignored the bass. With the addition of passive radiators in particular, JBL had managed to go from 150 Hz on the Flip 2 (lowest frequency at 0 dB) to 80 Hz on the Flip 3. What about the latest?

The Flip 4 remains faithful to the spirit of the 3, namely to a nicely precise high part of the spectrum doubled with a seat more and more assured. The bass, a little better controlled than on the previous model, achieve the feat of going down to 60 Hz - a frequency almost unheard of on portable speakers. Quite round and sometimes confused - after all, they are passive radiators -, but nevertheless know how to stay in their place and not to encroach too much on the field of mediums. The latter is highly dependent on the spectral richness of the listening sound.

The fairly refined pieces, with reduced acoustic instrumentation, benefit from a very intelligible middle range, rather on the front of the stage. We distinguish the voices without any pain, transcribed with care and presence. However, as the instrumentation becomes richer and the sounds become saturated, the membranes gradually lose control and generate a confusion very harmful for general sound understanding. The same goes for the treble: very well defined, especially plucked strings (guitars, harpsichords, pizzicati ...) enjoying a precision and a particularly enjoyable presence, these frequencies can be aggressive (cymbals, guitar casseroles ...) when listening at high volume.

The breadth of the stereophonic scene is neither frustrating nor overwhelming. The speakers on the Flip 4 are fairly directive. Do not expect to sound a room omnidirectionally; you will be much better off positioning the speaker against a wall or in a corner, which will distribute the sound more evenly than if you placed it in the center of the room.

Finally, the Bluetooth latency is 300 milliseconds; far too high to view a video without being greatly hampered by the image / sound lag. However, on a laptop (Macbook Pro), we noted a much lower latency (of the order of 140 milliseconds), allowing a much more comfortable viewing.



The Flip is undeniably improving from model to model, this latest installment is a little closer to 5 stars: IPX7 certification makes it truly waterproof, the sound performance remains detailed while providing better seating and a more stereophonic scene. extended, and autonomy is increased. Beware, however, of sibilance and loss of precision depending on the type of music heard.